Joyful Solutions to Relationship Difficulties

Note: This article is for couples who have experienced love and compatibility but are having current challenges. This article is not for people who are in a relationship with someone who is abusive or unable to be present due to addiction. Abuse and addiction situations require other kinds of counseling.

Couples with the compatibility and love needed for longevity will find themselves in uncomfortable quagmires at different times. This is due to the complexity of being human. When you look at the combination of factors included in a human (background, emotional temperament, unique characteristics, drives and yearnings, goals, genetic factors, view point, soul calling, karmic lessons) there is a lot going on. Put two people together and you have a rich design that is sometimes a puzzle. For this reason, couples may feel challenged within a very good relationship at times. No relationship is a custom-made combination of 100% fitting characteristics. The beauty of a relationship is that our harmonious sharings give us great warmth while our areas of difference can give rise to deeper compassion and love. A relationship that is challenged  is an opportunity for clarifying intentions, learning new ways of harmonizing, and growing in compassion.

In today’s world, people are apt to give up on a good relationship because narcissism is at play. Opportunities for deeper growth, bonding and love can be missed when someone can only see the value of his or her own needs.

Therapy is a good way to find deeper union in the face of challenge. Therapy can teach you to listen more deeply to the expressions and yearnings of self and other. In this openness, emerging solutions to chronic problems may come about in surprising ways. Where once two people felt unsupported, depth of care may be found.

Relationship is a path of learning, compromise and gratitude. Couples who make gratitude more important than dissatisfaction are better at sustaining love and care when differences cause temporary disturbance. Couples who share a clear, positive intention for their relationship’s evolution are likely to return to happiness and harmony. Those who invest in making one another the “sick, bad, or wrong” one may not be any happier in the next relationship.

Gratitude and intention can be hard to remember when our equilibrium is being threatened. Good counseling is a way to receive support from a non-judgmental party who can help both members of the couple to expand into new viewpoints. When one sees differently, it becomes easier to support the health of both involved.

Remember there are always two sides to each situation. When we step outside of an attachment to making one view point better than another, we see that both our partner and ourself carry valid needs and experiences. From this deeper listening we can find the way back to peace.

Often our lack of peace is the result of old hurts (our own, our collective society’s, or our ancestors’ which we may inherit genetically). When a skilled therapist assists us with transforming these hurts over time, we approach our relationship differently. Where once we felt trapped and stuck, now we might flow creatively.

To begin healing immediately take some time to reflect upon what you are thankful to your partner about. Let him or her know. Clarify to yourself, what you are seeking with your partner in most simple terms. For example, I desire and intend to return to a state of ease and mutual acceptance with my partner.

Look honestly to see if you might be carrying old hurts around with you. Might these hurts be affecting your ability to respond to a current situation with workability? Are you able to practice what you are looking for in the relationship yourself, or is undigested pain in the way? If yes, are you willing to get help for your side of the problem? Couples who each attend individual counseling as well as couples’ counseling tend to do better with altering conflict.

Ask yourself if you would be willing to release a view point or habitual emotional habit that is impeding your own goal for the relationship. Share all of the suggestions listed with your partner after you try them out yourself. Share the affects you experience from trying out these methods also. Invite your partner along for the rewarding journey. Find out if she or he is also ready and willing to do his or her work so that both of you may benefit.

While it is true that some people simply are not compatible, many give up before their greatest potential is reached. I invite you to look deeply into yourself with the help of an experienced counselor before leaving a relationship. Whether you stay or go, you are being given an opportunity to learn something precious which can stay with you forever. Once you find what you are looking for, you may also find that your mate is ideal for you after all! I have seen this happen many times, both while sitting in the counselor’s chair, and in the opportunities of my own life.

© Copyright 2011 by Laurie Moore. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 17 comments
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  • Rena Graham

    September 4th, 2011 at 9:22 PM

    I think every relationship go through this difficult times of misunderstanding and stuffs, coz we are dealing with two different people with different background and beliefs.

  • Maurice

    September 4th, 2011 at 10:14 PM

    Starting a relationship is nt the hard part but sustaining it is.With the levels of divorce today and also the number of committed relationships ending all around it makes sense to learn why we should NOT step out of our relationship that seemed like a fairy tale at first but has deteriorated of late.

    Every problem can be fixed and when even major life-changing things can be turned back upto an extent then why should we end a relationship due to a series of stupid fights??

    Lastly I’d like to mention that these kind f articles can really put the sense back into some people and save a few relationships in the process.Great job by the author.

  • Eb

    September 5th, 2011 at 7:41 AM

    Great article! Very informative website! Thank you for sharing it! Dave

  • Sandra W

    September 5th, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    One of the most important things that I have had to learn over the years is that marriage is not always going to be smooth sailing. There are bound to be good times and bad times but that does not mean that you are meant to give up on making it work. You have to fight for the things in your life that are important and for most of us that is going to include our marriage. There are going to be some bumps in the road, yes, but you have to make it work.

  • Matt

    September 5th, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    I have a question-you know they always say having a neutral counsellor listen to the couple will help resolve a dispute.How come they will not take this as something of a challenge and try to prove themselves to the neutral counsellor?Won’t there be zest to fight?

  • rene

    September 5th, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    observed that if there is a problem on my mind I am not able to pay attention to my relationship and can get irritated by the smallest of things.they say do not mix work and home but with so much tension at the work place,can it really be left behind at the office?

  • Johnna

    September 6th, 2011 at 3:50 PM

    The one thing that I see in so many couples is that they fail to express any kind of gratitude toward one another. Even the smallest gestures of love can make the biggest difference in a relationship. How about taking a minute everyday to list the things that you are grateful for in your partner and then tell him or her those positive things? It is amazing just how far this can go toward reviving a relationship and showing the other person in your life how much you care.

  • Ben Walls

    September 6th, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    “Couples who make gratitude more important than dissatisfaction are better at sustaining love and care when differences cause temporary disturbance. ”

    Amen to that, Laurie! Only opening your mouth to gripe doesn’t do anything to nurture your relationship. My friends chuckle when they hear my wife and I say please and thank you each other and share little comments of appreciation. They think that’s all superfluous once you’re married and they couldn’t be more wrong.

    It’s no coincidence ours is the longest lasting marriage of us all. Some of them are on their second, third and fourth spouse and we’re heading for our 29th anniversary next Spring.

  • MM

    September 6th, 2011 at 11:52 PM

    If there is one thing I have realized after all these years of marriage it is that communication is one of the most important aspect of a relationship and even a delay in the same can bring in a lot of unnecessary issues into the house.

    if you’re having a problem sit together and have a talk rather than pushing the problem to a later time and realizing it has gone out of hand!

  • lisa

    September 7th, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    an appropriate picture for the topic.they are together,are even holding hands.but there is a wall between them and they cannot see each other.this is what happens with most couples.

    a wall comes to exist between the two.you think you are together and are even holding hands but do not realize there is a wall between the two of you now!

  • Sonia

    September 7th, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    I really wish that I could make my husband read this. Although I do honestly believe that he loves me and that he wants to make our relationship work as much as I do. For some reason everything with him has to be such a battle. That is so frustrating. Maybe I am wrong but sometimes it feels like he wants to pick a fight just to make me mad, maybe to make me go away? I don’t know how to do it anymore, but I really do wamt things to work out. But how do I get him to listen to what I have to say without always having to feel like I have to match him word for word?

  • igor c

    September 7th, 2011 at 5:15 PM

    This article as well as ones like it should be required reading for new couples. The divorce rate in America is 50%, this is crazily high. And a bet more than 20% of them could have been stopped if the people in these couples used coping techniques such as the ones in the article above. Something is horribly wrong when half of married people get divorced. Need I remind you that those now bitter divorcees were once perfectly happy people who were madly in love? Is the magic that was once present, truly lost? In most cases I don’t think so, it just takes so counseling to find it again.

  • Kelsey Straw

    September 8th, 2011 at 12:04 AM

    I’m still sure all the complexities that arise between couples are because they have become bored with each other. When they can no longer think of anything to do as a couple together that’s fun and interesting, that life becomes mundane and boring as anything. Been there, done that, won’t do it again.

  • Keisha Y.

    September 8th, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    I saw a study that showed the divorce result based on what age the couple were married at and how long they knew the partner. The longer they knew them and the older they were, the lower the divorce rate was.

    Isn’t telling couples to hold off the day they get married until they really do know each other inside out a good thing to do? I think so. We rush into marriage too often in this country and then live to regret it.

  • Caroline West

    September 8th, 2011 at 6:47 PM

    @Matt–In your world? Maybe. In the real world? Not really. When a couple go to counseling, they know three things in my humble opinion.

    1) that the you-know-what is hitting the fan
    2) they want love each other enough to want to make it work through therapy and
    3) that they need a therapist that they can both talk to openly and get results from because they can’t do it alone.

    Arguments can and will derail or at least delay that process. So will dishonesty or holding back. Tempers and defensiveness will rear their ugly heads. But so will moments where love and caring shine through too.

    You have to go in with the mindset that although things will undoubtedly be said by both parties or the therapist that will be hard to listen to at times, it’s for the good of the marriage. It’s good to get it all on the table and have a professional help you as a couple sort through the stumbling blocks.

  • Jonas Blunt

    September 8th, 2011 at 7:53 PM

    Good points you made there, Caroline. May I add another? Seeing one also helps you stop yourself from feeling guilty if it does break down despite therapy. If you both go to counseling, neither can say that you did nothing to maintain the relationship should you both decide to get divorced from one another. In the end, some relationships are simply not meant to be.

  • R. Devine

    September 8th, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    @Johnna– That’s not a small thing, it’s a huge thing. We need to apply that attitude of gratitude to as many people as possible that we encounter in our daily lives too. Not just friends and family, but employers, clerks at the store, the mailman. It really does make someone’s day that much better when they know they are appreciated by those they are in regular contact with.

    A simple please and thank you is good too! Just don’t do it every day with all of them or you could freak them out LOL. Save that once-a-day deal for your nearest and dearest.

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