Relationship is allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and creating a safe place for another to be so too.

Marriage Counseling Gilbert AZ by Serene Self, PLLC

We humans are social beings, and we need safe secure attachments. We seek these attachments the moment we are born into this world and keep forming them until we go to our graves.

We are also creatures of habit, so we often get into negative patterns that either ambush these relationships or just distance our loved ones from us.

Marriage Counseling Gilbert AZ
Marriage Counseling Gilbert AZ

We are capable of unconditional learning as we grow up, so we form our behaviors based on what we see, and think is effective. Even though we love our partners, our learned behaviors get in the way and cause damage as the other person may not be prepared or know how to handle them.

Therefore, sometimes we need to look into our own behaviors that’s driving the other person away.

At the same time, we might also not know how to communicate our love to our partner. It might seem like we are speaking two different languages. Both trying to communicate the love but unable to do so because both people can’t understand each other. Thus, creating communication problems in relationships.

Additionally, couples also complain about lack of sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy is not merely about sex, it is about, understanding each other’s needs. It’s about taking the risk of being open to each other, asking, and working together towards a common goal. The goal being not merely the physical aspects of sex, but the intimacy and understanding that corresponds with it.

To make the mix even more interesting we bring in different personalities into a relationship. What feels right to one person might not to another. It would make it easier if we had the same personality but terribly boring. Therefore, marriage or being a couple is an art of blending the two personalities to form a shade of harmony that makes both personalities be able to walk side by side holding each other’s hand.

Gilbert Marriage Counseling
Gilbert Marriage Counseling

Harmony doesn’t mean, no conflicts. I believe conflicts are healthy expressions of personality. In fact, being able to resolve the conflicts safely and repair damages to be back to each other is the true color of harmony.

Being in a healthy relationship or a marriage is not merely a magic of learning communication skills, conflict resolution, and sex; it is deeper than that.  Relationships are not transactions, but more so about recognizing the needs of each other and understanding what makes the other person feel unsafe. It is to understand and know each other’s vulnerability and allow space for growth. It’s about knowing that you can come back to each other and that you’ll be still be held lovingly.

Couples and Marriage Counseling in Gilbert

Couples and marriage counseling Gilbert AZ sessions, allows you to look in to the attitudes and behaviors that trap you into a negative cycle of loneliness and despair.

I use Emotionally Focused Therapy to help couples’ bond with each other positively, to create a safe place to understand the needs of one another, and to comprehend the complicated entanglements that often occur. We focus on communication skills and conflict resolution by digging deeper into the core emotions and thoughts that create disharmony. The skills you will learn from me are not mere transactional skills, they are more of life skills to build a beautiful life together with your partner.

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) was originated by Dr. Sue Johnson in the 1980s. Her methodology is based on Attachment Theory by Bowlby. She studied adult relationships and patterns to understand the attachment bonds which formulate ways to help couples relieve marital distress. Through strategies and interventions based on the last 30 years of research, EFT has shown that approximately 90% couples show significant improvements.

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Marriage Counselors Near Me Gilbert AZ

Questions For Your Spouse

While getting married is a dream come true for many people, many couples forget that marriage is a commitment. Both husband and wife have different views on many issues. Such issues include finance, children, relationship, sex, and others.

Most couples fail to talk about these issues before getting married. Once they get married, they are focused on work, children, and other responsibilities that they forget what is important for their relationship. Based on studies, 42 to 45% of first marriages end in divorce, while 60% of second marriages end in divorce too.

As a husband and wife, you need to know, there are ways to handle issues in your marriage. One of the ways that have proven to work successfully is couples counseling. While marriage counseling services in Gilbert, Arizona, work, you need to be prepared.

To do so, put together a list of questions that will get the conversation going. Don’t have an idea of where to start?

A List of Couples Counseling Questions That Might Be Helful

1. What Are the Potential Conflicts in Our Relationship?
In marriage, couples have different views of issues. To learn how to compromise and solve problems together, a licensed professional counselor in Gilbert, Arizona, will focus on potential conflicts such as finances, and sex. By learning the potential conflicts in your marriage, you can improve communication.

2. What Are the Biggest Problems in Our Relationships?
Every couple is worried about finances, trust, infidelity, and lack of communication. If you do not tell each other what the biggest problems in your relationship are, it will be difficult to heal and find that spark in your relationship.

3. When Did Our Relationship Take the Wrong Turn?
It is essential to find out the origin of your biggest problems. It could be a financial decision you made or a person you let into your life. To avoid constant arguments in your marriage, compromise on these issues. If you have to spend less to save, do so to salvage your marriage.

4. What Do I Do That Pushes Your Buttons?
There are certain things that couples do, which trigger conflict in their relationship. For example, the husband fails to communicate when he will be coming home or comes home drunk. The wife adds too much salt in the food or nags the husband constantly. Learning what pushes your buttons will reduce the number of arguments.

5. What Are the Most Critical Issues to You (Husband or Wife)?
The most critical issues to a husband could be sex, money, and children, while for the wife, it could be children, family communication, and religion. Finding out what is essential for each partner can help you learn how to air your views and solve problems in your marriage.

6. What Things About Our Marriage Make You Happy?
Taking your focus away from the problems in your marriage and onto the happy moments can remind you why you fell in love with each other. Also, it can prevent you from making a hasty decision such as divorce instead of seeking the help of a marriage counselor in Gilbert, Arizona.

7. How Do You Truly Feel About Me?
Any relationship can be saved. You need to be open about your feelings for each other. Do you still love one another, or do you loathe each other? Learning how your significant other feels about you will help you know where your relationship stands.

8. What Was the Last Thing I Did That You Enjoyed?
You probably bought gifts for each other on your birthdays, or the husband took the whole family on vacation to Europe, Africa, or Asia. Reminding each other of the things you enjoyed in your relationship is vital as it helps to reestablish the lost connection.

9. Do You Trust Me?
This is a very critical component of any successful marriage. If a husband or wife does not trust his or her partner, it will be challenging to have a successful marriage. To restore trust, go over the problems in your marriage with your marriage counselor. Alternatively, you can seek online therapy.

10. How Can I Regain Your Trust?
Couples can regain trust in each other through forgiveness. To be forgiven, the couple must air their problems and explain why they should not repeat the mistakes. Also, avoid keeping secrets, communicate frequently, keep each other in the loop, and don’t do things you are not comfortable doing together.

11. Are You Satisfied Sexually?
Like trust, sex is another critical component for any marriage. To improve your intimacy and strengthen your marriage, talk to your marriage counselor. Do not be embarrassed to talk about your sex life. Talking about sex in an open setting will help to improve intimacy.

12. Have You Had an Affair?
Based on studies, 25% of married men and 15% of married women have had extramarital affairs. Before informing your partner, if you cheated, consider the reasons why you cheated and what you have learned from the experience(s). Doing so will help you move forward in your relationship.

13. Have You Considered Having an Affair?
There are several reasons why married couples, even in Gilbert, Arizona, may choose to have an affair. First, the experience is intoxicating. Second, lack of intimacy or sexual satisfaction. Last, the need for external validation. If you have considered having an affair, explain why.

14. Do You Feel Appreciated?
Recognizing the contributions made by each other in the relationship, however small, can strengthen your marriage. To make your partner feel appreciated, praise him or her, write a thoughtful note, cook a special dinner, or behave gratefully.

15. Are There past Conflicts We Are yet to Resolve?
If there are unresolved conflicts in your relationship, it will be hard to reconcile and avoid future arguments. In the presence of your marriage counselor in Gilbert, Arizona, share what past conflicts are yet to be resolved. Resolving past conflicts will help you heal.

16. Should We Stay Together or Get a Divorce?
A relationship can reach a point where the couple can decide if they should continue to suffer in silence or divorce. Before choosing divorce, it’s wise to give couples counseling a chance. Working with a professional marriage counselor can save your marriage. Remember, divorce is expensive and messy.

17. Where Do You See Our Marriage in 5,10 or 20 Years?
If you choose not to divorce, it’s vital to forecast about the future. This will help to fix your marital problems and get your relationship on the right foot again. During the couples counseling sessions, your counselor will teach you how to set goals as a couple.

18. Can We Communicate Together?
Communication in a relationship is about using physical, written, and verbal skills to inform your partner about your needs. It’s not all about small talk. It is about providing support and letting your partner know you understand their point of view.

19. What Are You Willing to Do to Make Improvements?
In any marriage, it’s about “we” not “I.” To be happy and have a loving and fulfilling relationship, you must be ready to work at the relationship. That means making a lot of compromises, communicating your feelings, and making every effort to appreciate each other.

20. Do You Know How Much I Love You?
Whether you are in couples counseling or receiving counseling via online therapy, it’s essential to let your partner know how much you love him or her. If your spouse feels unloved or unappreciated, you cannot truly move forward. Let your parents know that they are truly special each day.

How Couples Can Succeed in Marriage Counseling

Based on studies, 50% of distressed couples will have a satisfying marriage for 4+ years after counseling. Over 10 to 20% of couples will stay together even though they are unhappy. As a couple, there are steps to take to ensure your marriage works.

The first step is to answer the questions above, honestly. Do not hide any details even when it comes to issues such as sex, affairs, and past conflicts. Second, do not use counseling as a way to punish your spouse. Remember, the objective of counseling is to resolve conflicts, improve communication, and learn how to set goals as a couple.

Third, be ready to open up once you arrive in the counselor’s office. Revealing specific details will surely hurt you or your spouse, but it will help you heal and face the future of your relationship. Fourth, commit to making a real effort to work on your relationship.

Couple’s therapy is a long process. The problems and conflicts you reveal about your relationship will not vanish in a day, a week, or a month. You need to put real effort. Last, prepare to work on yourself. Making improvements in your life, such as getting rid of particular behavior or traits, will help you move forward in your relationship.

Helpful Questions

The questions above are just a guide. There are more questions specific to your relationship. To ensure your relationship works, focus on working on your marriage rather than worrying about divorce.

If seeking counseling, a professional will guide you through the processing of the traumatic events by focusing on the emotional experiencing within your body.

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Marriage Counseling FAQs

What is the Success Rate of Marriage Counseling?

The American Psychological Association has documented about 75% effectiveness for couples therapy, a major increase from the 50% average since the 1980s. Emotionally-Focused Therapy, which is currently practiced by marriage counseling professionals, has made it possible for more intense cases to be part of this effectiveness metric. Spanning a broad range of ethnic and cultural demographics, this includes parents of children with chronic illnesses, military service members, veterans diagnosed with PTSD and couples who aren’t able to conceive a child.

What Happens at Marriage Counseling?

There aren’t any prerequisites for attending couples counseling. However, it will be exploratory in terms of opening up and communicating about your feelings, differences and specific issues you might be experiencing. This isn’t always easy, but a qualified therapist will guide you through difficult emotions and disagreements.

They’ll suggest strategies that will guide you through healthy outcomes, and even provide you with methods to work on with each other outside of counseling sessions. In many cases, counseling is short term, although you might be recommended a treatment plan that spans many months, especially if one or both partners need help coping in other areas.

When to Seek Marriage Counseling?

Professional help is best sought early on in experiencing challenges in your relationship, as statistics suggest a much higher success rate. It can be uncomfortable to talk openly with each other in any environment. It’s important to select a marriage counseling specialist with the skills and personality that both partners feel secure and comfortable with. If you aren’t satisfied with a given professional, it’s highly recommended to keep searching to find the ideal match for your relationship challenges and preferences.

How Long Does Marriage Counseling Take?

In most cases, your sessions can be completed within two months, meeting on a weekly basis. This is dependent on each couple’s willingness to participate and follow through with the strategies and methods presented, and the process of reconciliation. When both partners are committed and attend each session, the average timespan for an effective counseling plan will last 8-10 weeks. However, this process can last for several months, depending on the seriousness of relationship challenges as well.