Band aids don’t heal; they bring the two sides close enough to grow back together…
Written by Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed.
Stop trying to hold your marriage together with band aids. You’ve probably noticed by now that all the wounds keep reopening, the scars never seem to fade, and relationship band aids (just like the real ones the kids love to play with) are always falling off, making it possible for others to see the pain and conflict you are trying to hide.
I’m here to tell you there is some hope. Investing in working with a couples counselor could allow those wounds to heal, and the scars to fade. When we care for a wound, at a certain point clean water, fresh air and sunlight become essential to sound healing – and relationships are the same way. You can benefit from opening up about your relationship in a safe, private office. With professional support, you and your partner can get to a point where you are listening more than yelling, and you can be in the same room together instead of retreating to separate rooms with separate screens. Even as you feel the distance growing between you – know there is a way back to one another and a vibrant, fulfilling relationship. Or, if indeed this is the time to separate, you will have help doing so with as little pain as possible.
Yes, it’s scary. In the confidential space of the counseling room, you will have help facing the things that terrify you most about being in an intimate relationship. If it helps, there are some very practical reasons why it’s worth reaching out for relationship education and/or couples counseling:- you’ll find more connection with your partner, and learn how to be friends again- couples counseling helps the children and teens in your life, who will witness you modeling the reality of a caring partnership. Ultimately you may also want family counseling to address dynamics at home related to parenting, discipline, and living with the demands of modern life- you’ll have a chance to remember what brought you together in the first place, and to build on the unique strengths you have as a couple- your extended family also will benefit- even if you pay out of pocket, it’s still less costly than the $5K price tag of an average divorce,, not including the ongoing costs related to custody disputes. (and can lower the cost of divorce overall)- you could live longer, be healthier, and enjoy life more! Not to overpromise here, but a higher quality of life over the long haul has been correlated with satisfying, high quality partnerships. Even if couples counseling makes the next few years more pleasant, it’s worth it.
Some couples have situations such as addiction/recovery, infidelity, and living with a chronic pain condition or other illness which may seem overwhelming. Counseling can help you all navigate these situations more effectively. And we already know that couples counseling supports recovery from addictions of all kinds – in fact, the quality of your intimate relationships is highly correlated with continued sobriety at eight years past your sober (or quit) date. Likewise, couples counseling can help you both cope better with chronic conditions and illness.
So please reach out and get started. Picking up that 500-pound phone to make the first call and set something up with me could be the most difficult part of the process.
If you aren’t ready for the deep dive of couples counseling, but you would still like to learn more about healthy relationships, let us know. We are planning relationship education seminars and groups (including infidelity support groups and forgiveness groups) in the near future, and would love to be able to share dates, times, and all that necessary information with you.
Article was written and sponsored by Resident in Counseling Madeline Vann, NCC, M.Ed. at White Cloud Therapeutic Services