Couples come to counseling for many different reasons. Typically, the presenting issue is common, such as poor communication, lack of intimacy, financial disagreements, and the list could go on. The root to many of these issues include ghosts from our past relationships, leaving the difficult issues for after we get married, and getting so busy that we put other things ahead of our marriages.
1. Unaddressed issues from previous relationships.
Issues from past relationships, whether they appear significant or not, are the number one root cause of problems couples face. You may be saying, "But that relationship was in the past, I’ve moved on, how is it currently living in my marriage now?" Or even, "I swore I would never be my parents, so WHY do I find myself acting like them when communicating with my significant other?" The answer is that it doesn’t matter what type of the relationship it is with, like a parent, ex-significant other, friend, or even a stranger. If the issues we have in other relationships are not dealt with (poor communication styles, attachment injuries, traumatic events, whatever the problem is), it will ALWAYS factor into our relationship and affect our ability to attach and relate to our partner.
Stop to consider: when having a disagreement with your partner, have you ever felt like you were “paying the price” for someone else’s problems? Do you find yourself reacting to your spouse in a manner that they don't deserve, or you just don’t understand why you respond to conflict in the way that you do? If you answered yes to any of these, there are likely issues from previous relationships that have not been addressed and are playing a role in your current one.
2. Not addressing the hard things first.
I often hear premarital counseling referred to as “checking the box.” Why is that? Well, often premarital counseling is something that people “feel” like should be done to get the green light for marriage, and most often it turns into a surface level counseling. Usually there is a book to read or a questionnaire taken that assesses suitability for one another. As long as things match up well enough then they’re deemed “go to go.” I rarely come across people who say they dug deep into their relationship, their communication styles, and their past hurts prior to marriage. It wasn’t until they encountered an issue head-on that they were finally forced to talk about it; however, all of these hard topics affect a relationship more than knowing how many kids are wanted, or how highly financial fitness falls on the priority scale.
Simply put, relationships and marriage are often entered into without discussing some of the really hard things first.
3. Not prioritizing the relationship.
Okay, this one falls into the “pretty common reason for counseling” category, so it’s important enough it needs to be mentioned. We live in a fast paced society where our time is filled with kids’ needs, after school activities, work events, family functions, and the list can go on and on. Unfortunately, too often quality time spent with each other takes a back seat to everything else. The choice to prioritize other things over your significant other is not usually a conscious one, but gradually happens over time.
Take a moment to think about your partner, has your love grown for them in your time together or has it dwindled? Now think about the amount of quality time you have spent with them in the past 6 months. Were there quality date nights? Deep conversation, not just about work and the kids; but authentic getting to know the deeper you conversations? Real intimacy? If you answered no to any of these then it may be time to examine where your partner lands on your priority list and what prevents them that place of priority.
If you feel you and your spouse may benefit from couples counseling, book an appointment with Kim Farag today at www.kcresolve.com.
Kim Farag, LPC, NCC, NA
Phone - 913-210-0656
E-Mail - firstname.lastname@example.org