Couples & Relationships
When we think about relationships, we envisage the happy ever after, a place of unity, support and unconditional love. We don’t visualise fighting or arguing all or most of the time and that arguments and distance will replace intimacy and support. We don’t foresee a situation where our needs remain unmet or our feelings dismissed. That is not part of our fairy-tale picture. There is no mention of Cinderella and Prince Charming for instance dealing with financial difficulties, infidelity, parenting challenges, lack of intimacy, stress, anxiety or having a heated argument over who cooks dinner or washes the dishes. We expect to remain in love, tackling the issues or problems together as they arise.
However, sometimes other things get in the way and we lose sight of that one person who always had our back, seeing instead all the negatives. The wall of resentment takes a while to build, one brick at a time, until suddenly we cannot see, hear or reach the other person and we feel alone in our relationship. We forget that when two people come together, they enter the relationship as two individuals but with all the influences and experiences from their family of origin or from past relationships. Their expectations of what it means to be in a relationship or in a family unit may be very different. One may believe that a good argument clears the air, the other may have come from a family where there were never arguments but a lot of silence instead. What they have lost sight of is that they are now in a new family or relationship and the rules can be rewritten.
Conflicts are part of a couple’s relationship and family life. Listening to each other and working to resolve conflicts are important in strengthening any relationship. So often, a lack of communication or negative pattern of communication is at the root of couple and relationship issues and is causing conflict. In couples and relationship therapy, couples learn a new way to listen, to be heard, and thus, strengthen the relationship and family unit.