Updated: Aug 25
"And they lived happily ever after..." Doesn't that sound wonderful? We grew up hearing these childhood fairytales where the happy couple rides away in their carriage into the sunset and all is good. And seeing this play out in television and movies repeatedly can cause us to set high expectations for what our own relationship should look like. However, that's not what real-life relationships look like. And that's why there are so many people searching for things like "marriage help in Stillwater" online.
But it's not just Stillwater couples that are struggling. It's couples everywhere.
Why? Because relationships are challenging. They are made up of people that often come from different backgrounds, with different life experiences, and different personalities. You've probably heard the saying "opposites attract", but all of those differences that drew you and your partner together in the first place are some of the same things that can be challenging to deal with once you get further into your relationship.
Relationship challenges are normal
When you first fall in love, it usually feels magical. Your partner seems like the perfect person. You can't imagine your relationship being any better. You think of them day and night and can't get enough of seeing them. And when you're not together, you spend your time calling or texting them. They fill your mind.
You get excited when you see them and can't wait to introduce them to your family and friends. It just feels right.
But after the weeks turn to months and months turn to years, something starts to happen. The magic starts to disappear. Those things you thought were cute little annoyances, in the beginning, are now irritating behaviors you can't stand.
It may feel like you argue nonstop or you might feel like you're living with a complete stranger. You're more like roommates than a couple. And when you hit this stage, you may start to wonder if you made a mistake.
It's normal for relationships to progress through stages of love in this way. The fluttery feelings you first experienced in your relationship won't last forever. And then you and your partner are left to figure out how to go forward.
*A note for abusive relationships
If you're in an abusive relationship, the most important thing is for you to keep yourself safe. The information below may not apply to your circumstances. Once you're in a safe situation, you can explore your options for the next steps to take in continuing on with or ending your relationship.
Common relationship and marriage issues
While every couple is different, there are some common relationship challenges that tend to arise. These include things like:
Differences in parenting styles
Feeling unappreciated or disrespected
Difficult life transitions
Life is full of different challenging situations that come along and it can be difficult for couples to navigate these situations on their own.
If you and your partner are struggling, you're not alone and it's not just you. The good news is that relationships are not something that you're either good at or not. Anyone can learn how to improve the skills needed for a healthy relationship. Licensed therapists make for a helpful, unbiased, third party to help you navigate the challenges you're facing.
How a therapist can help your marriage
One way that a therapist can help a marriage is by helping couples get started on the right foot. Premarital counseling in Stillwater helps couples learn strategies and techniques they can use in marriage to avoid and overcome the common challenges that couples face. This doesn't mean that you'll never face challenges in your relationship, but it helps you learn healthy ways to handle conflict with your spouse.
There are many ways that therapy can provide marriage help and counseling for couples outside of premarital counseling. In fact, this is how most people think of couples counseling.
Here are a few examples of how a therapist can help married or dating couples:
Help couples learn how to improve their communication within the relationship
Assist individuals or couples in developing plans to break destructive cycles or behaviors
Help couples identify the root cause of their arguments and differences
Identify and treat any underlying mental health disorders
Assist in coping with trauma or difficult life situations
Provide tools and techniques that the couple can use to improve their relationship
It's also important to remember that our couples therapists can also provide divorce counseling in Stillwater. While many people associate couples counseling with trying to keep a relationship together, therapists are also able to help couples work through the challenges of ending a marriage.
A therapist should never lead you in making a decision about how to proceed with your relationship. It's not the therapist's role to decide the outcome of your relationship for you, but they will provide you with tools, resources, and support as you navigate the situation.
What to look for in a couples therapist
If you and your partner have decided to work with a couples therapist, there are a few things that you should keep in mind.
Find a therapist that both of you are comfortable with. It's important that both you and your partner are able to be open and honest during therapy sessions. That means you need to find a therapist that you're both comfortable with. Discuss beforehand if there are certain qualities you're looking for in a therapist.
Check their credentials. Different therapists specialize in different areas. If you're looking for couples therapy, it's helpful to find a therapist experienced in relationships. For example, at The NEST Clinic, we have several Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists on staff.
Ask for a referral. There are many professionals that will be familiar with the couples therapists in your area. This could include your local churches, your physician, and even your divorce attorney. You can also ask family or friends for recommendations.
Trust your instincts. Not every therapist is right for every individual or couple. It's important for you to find a therapist that's right for you. If something doesn't feel right to you during your therapy sessions don't be afraid to find another therapist to work with. The most important thing is that you're able to find the help you need. It's OK to switch to a new therapist if you need to.
What if my partner won't try therapy?
If your partner is unwilling to attend couples therapy, you still have options. You can work on an individual basis with a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Your therapist can help you learn coping strategies and skills that you can use in your relationship. They can also provide you with validation and support as you navigate your relationship struggles.
If you're looking for marriage help in Stillwater, our team of therapists is ready to help. You can meet our team of therapists on our Team Page here or contact our office to be matched with a therapist today.