Raised voices across a room in lieu of embracing arms. Clenched fists of frustration rather than intertwined fingers of understanding. Arguing with the one you love amidst a seemingly insurmountable barrier is an uncomfortable situation that can render even the most articulate couple speechless. Yes, arguing itself is an inevitable part of a relationship, but when does it cross the threshold of what is considered healthy? What if the patterns of conflict become relentless and perpetual? Should couples therapy be an option?
For starters, addressing the problem head-on is essential. It's important to recognize that communication can often be an issue between couples. Facing conflicts can be incredibly challenging as it might dredge up painful memories from the past or ignite unresolved issues that can be emotionally volatile. Regardless of how perfect a couple appears, it is necessary to learn how to effectively handle arguments. Unresolved conflicts often lead to an accumulation of different forms of frustration, grief, disappointment, and ultimately resentment.
It is important to realize that communication is made up of the words spoken and the feelings expressed. While communication requires more than words on a page, in this case writing a letter, allowing each partner to express their views outside the heat of the moment could result in the exchange of constructive dialogue. It will also require a willingness and dedication to patience and listening in order to move forwards together. Taking constant and consistent timeouts during heated conversations can not only give the partners a much needed break to cool off but it also provides them with an opportunity to reevaluate and reframe their thoughts on the matter at hand.
In addition to attempting to work things out amongst each other, couples therapy might be a beneficial option. Couples therapy not only provides a safe space for couples with otherwise seemingly unresolvable issues to hash out their grievances, but it also encourages them to move closer towards being emotionally integrated. Because it is a structured form of mental health assistance with a neutral party present at all times, couples therapy facilitates an open, honest atmosphere for both parties to voice their opinions and worries. This can help couples resolve conflicts that may be too deeprooted or painful to confront on their own. By showing both partners that they are heard and understood, couples therapy can help them bridge the emotional distance between them.
At the end of the day it all comes down to trust; the same trust that was first established when the couple decided to spend the rest of their lives together. When entering an unforeseen journey together, both partners should share responsibility in managing the disputes, while simultaneously working towards a mutual resolution. Working with a couples therapist can provide them with the necessary tools to survive the dark days, regain their footing, and have each other’s backs.
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