Arguments, heated conversations, and conflict are all a normal part of any relationship. No matter if you’ve been with your partner for 5 months or 10 years, disagreements are bound to come up at some point. Regardless of the context of an argument, how it’s addressed and managed is what truly counts.
In some instances, these differences in opinion can play a large role in the satisfaction and long-term happiness of your relationship. Among the numerous challenges couples face, we have found 5 common issues in most premarital relationships that can be effectively resolved using well-researched counselling strategies.
Miscommunication is one of the more common roots of any argument. Over time, people develop their own standards of communication and how they express themselves. In the age of texting, snap chatting, and direct messaging, our communication is much more expansive than ever before. The problem is, more options doesn’t necessarily mean more clarity. Poor communication causes you or your partner to make assumptions about the situation.
The first step towards resolving these types of arguments is to take the time to get to know your partner and how they communicate. Here are some helpful tips you can try:
- Talk to your partner face to face (avoid texting conversations)
- Let your emotions settle before discussing communication (take a break)
- Listen to understand your partner’s perspective
- Avoid pointing fingers (laying blame)
- Take ownership of your own shortcomings
- Make your goal to learn about your partner and how they communicate, not to win an argument
For a more targeted approach, counselling can provide you with the tools necessary to help you address more personal challenges within your relationship.
2. Avoiding Problems
Conflicts are commonly avoided by deflecting or redirecting a conversation, stonewalling your partner by shutting down the conversation or refusing to discuss the problem entirely. Regardless of the way conflict is avoided, when people go unheard or misunderstood it causes resentment in the relationship.
So why do we do this?
The reasons people tend to avoid addressing conflict can vary. Whether you or your partner avoid conflict to minimize a situation, prevent anyone from getting their feelings hurt, or fear losing your partner entirely, it won’t ever help the bigger issue. In the short term, putting off conflict can be the bandaid that temporarily fixes a situation. However, this can create even more heartache, frustration, and resentment down the road.
Counselling can help you express your emotions in a way that your partner will be more responsive to, resulting in far less miscommunication in the future. We recommend being as transparent as possible when things frustrate, annoy, or upset you so it doesn’t build up into something bigger. It is imperative to address these challenges before resentment builds. Couples counselling helps to process moments of hurt and make repairs for the future.
3. Continuously Bringing Up Past Problems
Do you feel like the same problems are continuously being brought up in conversation? It’s as if we think that bringing up a past argument over and over again will give us more answers than it did before. Instead, we feel more tired, frustrated, and disconnected from our partner. Like Einstein quoted “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
When you and your partner are continuously faced with the same discussion, it’s important for both people to open themselves up to be heard and understood. Referring back to the tools to help you enhance your communication skills, this will come in handy when addressing any challenge in your relationship. Try to get into your partner’s shoes and acknowledge where they are coming from. Seeing things from a different perspective can help you to learn and empathize more with the circumstances.
Couples counselling is advantageous in helping couples work through these types of challenges. Through communication exercises, you and your partner will be able to learn productive strategies to resolve past conflicts and prepare you to overcome issues that may arise in your future.
4. Experiencing an Absence of Intimacy
Intimacy is a fundamental component of many partnerships. It means being able to share your thoughts, feelings, and experiences with your significant other in a way you don’t share with anyone else. Intimacy can come in many different forms such as physical (cuddling, hand holding, back massages, etc.), emotional (respectful communication, words of affirmation, etc.), or experiential (date nights, quality time, etc.).
Many couples experience a lack of intimacy at some point in their relationship. This may be a result of when life gets busy (i.e. kids, work, hobbies, or extended family). When intimacy is no longer a priority, it can distance two people, leaving them feeling disconnected and eventually drift apart.
Building and maintaining intimacy with your partner takes time, patience, and effort. The good thing is, the harder you both work to develop intimacy, the more rewarding it becomes. Experts believe that changes in passion for your partner are associated with changes in intimacy. Some suggestions to help you enhance both the passion and intimacy in your relationship are as follows.
- Talk openly with your partner about your feelings and what you need from the relationship
- Create more moments of intimacy by doing activities together as a couple (plan a weekly date night, spend an evening at a hotel, cook dinner together)
- Find out their love language and express your appreciation to them in the way they desire (words of affirmation, physical touch, quality time, acts of service, or receiving gifts)
5. Taking Each Other for Granted
As time goes on, it’s not uncommon for two people to feel like their relationship is becoming stagnant. However, no matter how long you and your partner have been together, there is no reason to take one another for granted.
The first step towards finding a resolution is by expressing your needs to your partner in a way they can respect and understand. Be direct and give examples of things you would like to do with one another. For example, spending uninterrupted time together (phone-free time), asking more thought-provoking questions, expressing more gratitude and appreciation for one another, and so on.
Above all else, we suggest that every person should recognize their worth and stay true to the boundaries they set out for themselves. With counselling, we can help you and your partner identify and work through challenges. So long as you’re both open to putting in the effort, we hope to see that these relationship tools can help to reignite the spark between you and your significant other.
Creating a healthy and stable long-term relationship takes time, patience, and understanding. When your relationship is put to the test, there’s a valuable opportunity to grow. Rather than pointing fingers, expressing judgment, or allowing resentment to build, it’s important to learn more about your partner, acknowledge their feelings, and work towards a healthy resolution. If you and your partner are struggling to work through any issues, consider reaching out to a trusted counsellor for more information. Offering both couples and individual counselling, we work to help strengthen the connection, improve communication, intensify intimacy, and help you and your partner work together as a team. Book a session today!
Written by Tori Mudie, BA, MA, RP, CCC