Relationships provide so much purpose and meaning in our life. We are built to connect with others and support each other during life’s best and hardest times. However, when we choose any partner we are also choosing a problem set and our partner is choosing to live with our behaviors too. Sometimes these problems are nuisances in our relationship that could benefit from skill building at a workshop. Other times these problems grow and would benefit from couples counseling. People in relationships typically experience two types of problems perpetual and solvable problems. Dr. John Gottman, a leading researcher on the topics of relationships and marriage, found that about 69% of conflict in long-term relationships are about issues that are unsolvable. About 16% of these problems result in couple’s being gridlocked- having the same argument over and over without some feelings of resolve, understanding, or influence from the other partner. This can result in the couple experiencing what Gottman calls “The Four Horsemen”: resentment, contempt, criticism, and stonewalling. These are indicators of divorce or living in an unfilled partnership.
The solution? Getting support early through couples counseling! Gottman found that the average couple waits an average of 6 years prior to couples counseling support, and that half of all marriages that end do so within the first seven years. Although couples counseling can help partners experiencing relationship crisis or distress, the process is typically shorter when seeing a couples counselor for preventative maintenance! We use the analogy of the check engine light on a car. If we keep up with the preventative maintenance on the car the hope is that the check engine light is rarely on, if ever. However, the longer we drive around ignoring the light, the more work potentially could need to be done under the hood. Couples counseling can work to strengthen any relationship whether you are long-term dating, engaged to be married, newlyweds, or have been married for years. We can also support couples that are navigating through a crisis or relationship distress. We also offer couples workshops and retreats throughout the year. Information about these events can be found on our blog page, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
Couples counseling is typically not covered by insurance companies due to it not being considered a mental health diagnosis or considered medically necessary. However, we know that this impacts direct mental health! We strive to keep our couples counseling services at a rate that reflects our professional skill while balancing out-of-pocket costs. Reach out to Sara Bowe if you want more information on relationship services or to schedule an intake.
Gottman, J.M., and Levenson, R.W. ” A Two-Factor Model for Predicting When a Couple Will Divorce: Exploratory Analyses Using 14-Year Longitudinal Data.” Family Processes
Journal, 41.1 (2002): 83-96. Print.
Gottman, .M. What Predicts Divorce? The Relationship Between Mantal Processes and Marital Outcomes. Hillsdale. NI: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 1994. Print.