Are You Worried That You And Your Partner Aren’t Speaking The Same Emotional Language?
Do you and your partner struggle with issues of ongoing conflict and miscommunication? Have you found yourself unsatisfied in the areas of intimacy or monogamy within your relationship? Are past traumas or breaches of trust creating a sense of resentment between you and your significant other?
You may have trouble communicating your needs. Despite talking about your issues time and time again, there may be problematic patterns or cycles of conflict that remain. Or perhaps there are things you’re curious to explore—such as introducing multiple partners into the marriage or trying new things in your sex life—but you don’t know how to approach the topic with your spouse or partner.
It could also be that a lack of trust has become an ongoing issue in your relationship. Maybe you or your partner have cheated or engaged in some form of extramarital behavior that was not agreed upon. And though you may have decided to stay in the relationship after an instance of betrayal, you could be at a loss for how to repair and heal your connection with one another.
Furthermore, if you or your partner experienced some kind of trauma—either during or before the relationship—you may find it difficult to connect or become intimate. There might be a lingering sense that your significant other just doesn’t “get it” or that you’re having trouble creating meaningful boundaries with one another. As a result, your relationship may be colored by tension and resentment.
In the process of becoming so close to another person, it’s easy to lose sight of your individual needs and how to balance them in the context of a relationship. But in therapy, you can come together as a couple (or as multiple partners) to work through ongoing issues and develop the skills for effective communication.
We’re All Brought Up With Our Own Unique Language And Set Of Expectations
Just as every individual has their own story, each partnership is unique in its own special way. We all seek different qualities in our partners and have different experiences that we bring to the table. And though there is so much nuance when it comes to the world of dating and romance, many of the persistent issues that couples face—issues of intimacy and communication, for example—are extremely common among all kinds of partnerships. Every relationship requires a delicate balance of power, and that will look very different depending on the needs of the individuals in it.
Moreover, each of us enters relationships with our own background, culture, and set of expectations. If we grew up with stringent cultural standards and strict religious or moral codes, for example, we may have a hard time relating to or understanding a partner who was brought up differently. And because we come from a competitive society—and not a collaborative one—we can end up viewing our relationships in terms of struggle and differences of opinion rather than agreement.
The truth is we all maintain a unique language that is the result of our life experiences. No one is trained to have the same emotional language or upbringing as we do, and it takes a lot of effort to understand ourselves—let alone someone else.
In couples therapy at Pandora’s Awakening, however, you can learn to translate your partner’s experience of the relationship so that you can begin to engage in dialogue rather than conflict.
Couples Therapy Can Help You To Communicate Your Needs And Find Common Ground
In a world viewed through the skewed lens of comparison culture and social media, it can be difficult to recognize that all relationships take work and come up against their own unique barriers. But in therapy, you can see that what you and your partner experience as a couple is both normal and valid. And once you can begin to accept this truth, you will be more capable of developing the skills and perspective necessary to improve the relationship.
To begin the process of therapy, you and your partner are welcome to schedule a brief consultation to ensure that our team of couples counselors can meet your needs. From there, you will convene with your Pandora’s Awakening therapist for a few introductory sessions. These sessions will function as your intake and give your clinician a solid idea of your needs and goals for couples therapy.
Over the course of counseling, you will learn more about the specific power struggle that is taking place within your relationship. Drawing from elements of the Psychobiological Approach to Couple Therapy (PACT), you will learn about what is happening in the brain during moments of conflict as well as which attachment patterns (patterns formed during childhood depending on the quality of your relationships with caregivers) lie at the root of your struggle. Using a similar approach of Imago Relationship Therapy (IRT), you and your partner can begin to develop insight into the past traumas you each have experienced, and which are now creating triggers for conflict.
In addition, your therapist will likely give you take-home exercises that are based on Dr. Ellyn Bader’s couples counseling framework. Bader’s approach—also deeply rooted in development and neuroscience—looks at common and specific relationship obstacles in a way that identifies and dissects maladaptive behaviors in the relationship while reinforcing positive ones.
There are any number of patterns, including generational traumas and cycles of conflict, that can keep partners from moving forward together. But with the collaborative approach to couples therapy we utilize at Pandora’s Awakening, you can learn effective communication and conflict-resolution skills, resolve ongoing issues of conflict, and build a deeper connection to each other.
Maybe you’re ready to see a couples counselor, but you still have some questions…
I don’t think I can get my partner to agree to see a couples or marriage therapist.
If you’re having trouble getting your partner to commit to couples therapy, it’s important to try and understand what is holding them back. If there are elements of unresolved trauma or attachment injuries from their past, it’s likely that they have put up defenses to protect themselves that may have worked in childhood but are now creating harm. By gently encouraging them to attend therapy, your partner will not only have an opportunity to help resolve the issues you face as a couple but also the chance to better understand their individual challenges and goals.
If you’re still having trouble getting your partner to agree to counseling, we encourage you to take advantage of a free, 15-minute consultation with one of our clinicians so that you can strategize about how best to encourage your partner to attend couples therapy.
How long does couples therapy take?
Every couple is different, and each partner will come to counseling with their own emotional language and expectations. As such, there is no one specific timeline for therapy, though we do find that couples can begin to make progress in just a few sessions.
The time you spend in couples counseling will be largely dependent on the effort you make outside of the therapeutic space. If you can commit to applying the communication and conflict-resolution techniques in your everyday life, you may be surprised at how quickly you see improvements.
We’re an “unconventional” couple—can you help?
Absolutely! Our marriage therapists are highly trained, culturally competent professionals who have worked with a wide range of couples and partnerships. We have ample experience working with cross-cultural relationships and intercultural marriages. And we welcome LGBTQ+ couples of all genders as well as couples in polyamorous relationships to counseling. No matter what your relationship looks like, we are here to provide empathetic and nonjudgmental support to you and your partner(s).
You Can Learn To Speak Your Partner’s Language
If your relationship struggles from ongoing communication issues or conflict, couples therapy at Pandora’s Awakening can help you achieve common ground and resolution. To schedule a free, 15-minute consultation, please fill out this form and we will contact you.