I Said I Do, Now What?
June 17, 2019 • Contributed by Chasity Chandler, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC, CST, CDFW, Topic Expert Contributor
When people typically think marriage, they see this as happily ever after. Most don’t realize or focus on the work, compromise or difficulties that come along with the “I Do’s.” You are two people, with two different backgrounds and sometimes varying outlooks on life. There will be things that still need to be worked on and learning one another will continue as you grow in this marriage.
I’m often asked what my #1 piece of advice is for married couples or those who are in a relationship. My answer is always, “Date night is cheaper than marriage counseling.” I say this to emphasize that you MUST continue to date one another and continuously work to build and grow a happier, healthier, stronger relationship. It will take work no matter if you’ve been married six months, a year, fifteen years or fifty-five years. When you do not continue to date one another or you let things like your job or career, the birth of kids and more become your priority, your marriage becomes “something you are in,” not something you live and do. This is often what leads people to come to marriage counseling or divorce.
Below are some of the most common reasons people come to marriage counseling and how marriage counseling can improve these situations.
Lack of Quality Time
The hustle and bustle of life will continue to happen as the days, weeks, months and years go by. We have to make our relationship a priority and treat it as such. Spending uninterrupted time with one another, without the kids and without speaking about work can lend to deeper conversations and opportunities to connect. Being engaged in conversation and the ambiance of one another could be just what the doctor orders and be a boost in intimacy and more.
Make date night a priority. This can include brunch, lunch and/or midday quickies. Get creative and spontaneous with your time and make the most of it.
Inability to Communicate and/or Resolve Conflict
In today’s day and age, we are used to instance gratification for everything. Technology has gotten us completely spoiled. Communicating with your partner is not always going to be easy and you may not get it right the first time. The main thing to remember when communicating with your partner is that both of you want to feel heard and understood. In order for this occur, it’s not a good idea to try to have serious conversations when we are upset. Allow yourself a time out if needed prior to the conversation. Also, understanding that one person must be the listener while the other is the speaker and visa versa is extremely important. This is the only way communication is able to take place. It’s also important to focus on what role you’re playing in the problems or a concern in the relationship instead of only focusing on what your partner is or isn’t doing. This within itself has been known to decrease conflict in my experience. Seeing a therapist can help you learn the skills and tools available to have healthy conversations.
Lack of Desire or Change in Sexual Interests
A lot of times, sex is not something that is discussed prior to marriage and the expectations have NEVER been spoken about. Now you’ve said “I do.” and your partner is always saying “I don’t” when it comes to desiring to have sexual intercourse with you or they’re always too tired or not in the mood. Maybe your sex drives are not in sync, just simply not the same or your genitals just don’t work the way they used to. Learning how to connect with one another outside of the bedroom leads to more fun in the bedroom. What sex is for you may be something different for your partner. This is something that a certified sex therapist or sex coach is trained and able to help you navigate safely with options that could work to potentially revive your sex life and make things better for all involved.
Lack of Intimacy
Intimacy is a critical part of any relationship and typically keeps things moving along or causes them to be stagnant. This is the way you’re connected with your partner and, although it looks different for everyone, intimacy should be discussed and explored. For some, intimacy is hugging, kissing, rubbing on one another, cuddling, making out or simply being in each others presence and enjoying each others company. This could also be you speaking your partner’s love language. Often times, when couples have been married for an extended period of time, they continue to love one another, but grow feelings of dislike when it comes to spending time with their partner due to feeling unloved, undesired, unappreciated and taken for granted. Learning to reconnect with your partner as it relates to intimacy makes things like communication, conflict resolution, sex and finances easier to tackle. If you feel the “like” factor in your relationship is gone or dying, see a marriage counselor today.
These are some of the key areas couples come to marriage or couples therapy for in addition to financial difficulty/issues, infidelity, inadequate balance of power, money dynamics and blended family concerns. The last important thing to state is that there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to get help before your relationship is too far gone. Just like you get a tune up on your car after a certain period of time and miles, your relationship requires the same. So don’t wait until your relationship is on the last leg. Reach out to a licensed psychotherapist and experienced marriage counselor today!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chasity Chandler, LMHC, MCAP, ICADC, CST, CDWF
Owner/ Licensed Clinician/Certified Sex Therapist/Speaker/Author/Authenticity Coach, Center for Sexual Health & Wellness, LLC
772-208-7834 | Fax 772-607-5295 | firstname.lastname@example.org