We have been married for 15 years now. Lately I have been feeling so lonely because my husband doesn’t take any interest in me. We are no longer the way we used to be. Though it’s a love marriage but he is no longer the emotional support, my best friend like how he was in the beginning. I think somewhere in between routine, our work, children we seem to have lost each other. I don’t even know whether there is a way back anymore.
Marriage is a life changing institution for all those who have been or are going to be a part of it.
Every individual may have different reasons to marry someone, however both end up getting impacted internally through the process.
It is an alliance of two people and- Their Families, Their Mindsets, Their Opinions, Their Choices, Their Likes/Dislikes, Their Pasts, Their Goals; to name a few.
There are many things we hear from people regarding marriage that either confuses, demotivates or makes us doubt the whole concept of marriage.
Here are a few things that we get to hear more often than not
“Once you get married everything will be fine”
“Your life will fall into place”
“If not now then when?”
“Your biological clock is ticking off”
“You don’t want to be too old, otherwise you won’t get a good match”
Other marriages or experiences can impact our decision of getting married, however, we must understand that it is always going to be unique for each person.
We must understand that things always come with both benedictions and challenges.
Every situation has two sides to it, then why be biased for expecting a smooth journey in our married lives?
Marriage is a beautiful medium to gain insight into ourselves-- what upsets us, what are our strengths in a relationship, our core beliefs regarding relationships, what are our qualities, how we are as a marriage partner etc.
It gives us a true reflection of our own character and that is because it makes us reach our most vulnerable side, our darkest and deepest side, which is accessible by our partners.
The good thing is it can help us grow through these experiences.
“Marriage is a PROCESS and not a DESTINATION”
It is a work that needs to be done at all times from both the sides.
As a cycle runs on two tyres, similarly marriage stands on two shoulders. It can never sustain with one sided efforts.
Since every person is different, hence every bond, every marriage would also be different. Which means people’s challenges would differ in nature.
The unsurety and doubts one may have regarding their partners and married life can make one apprehensive
In a love marriage, fulfilling the expectations and providing the same support for life long can be exhausting. For example- to be accepted by the new family in the same way as done by the partner; to be loved the same way as before marriage; the expectation for undying support from the spouse.
Frustration and stress due to workload or responsibilities may sometimes get deflected on their spouse leading to arguments and fights.
Adjustment in a new family with different traditions,roles, expectations or values can be challenging for the partner moving in, who’s trying to seek the love and acceptance and forming a relationship with every person can take its own time.Along with that for the partner who belongs to that family may have to maintain a balance between spouse and parents.
When children come into picture, a lot of attention and time is given to them thus spouses cannot focus on each other, fulfil their basic needs or spend quality time.
Spouses may have different style of expressing love so understanding that can be difficult. For example- one partner may express their love through hugs and physical intimacy, whereas the other one may express their love through emotional intimacy and wants to spend quality time with their spouse.
Partners coming from dysfunctional families or have gone through tragic experiences can have emotional or mental setbacks which can impact their relationships/marriage.
There can be different goals the partners may have in their minds, be it career goals, emotional development, future planning, spiritual likeability, mental connection, etc. Also goals don’t tend to remain the same for both partners so accommodating these changes might become challenging.
As mentioned earlier there can be challenges at different levels, those can be internal (partners’ feelings) or external (in-laws, work, etc); and all these can be interlinked.
Hence to deal with these challenges, the couple can undergo therapy so that both of them are provided with the same platform that is unbiased, a platform where both the partners are heard hold equal position in the marriage and get a space to express their feelings.
How Couple Counselling Can Help:
In the session both partners feel heard and understood as their struggles are acknowledged by the therapist. Time and effective listening are two tools which provide for a safe space for exploration of their concerns.
The Therapist acts as a facilitator to let the partners communicate through him/her to help have a talk and reach an outcome.
Through the session the concern of the couple is understood, the reason behind the quarrel, misunderstanding or disputes can be revealed..
Through the Therapists eye (unbiased professional help) the couple will be able to see their partners beyond their personal assumptions and interpretation.
Therapy can empower the partners to understand what is conducive for them individually and as couple, and help them proceed further by deciding future goal.
To understand since when the conflicts have been there between the couple. For one partner it might have begun before the other one even realised it.
Hearing out the concern from both of them to understand how a situation or circumstance has impacted both the partners.
To understand what is the intensity of these conflicts and how is it impacting them personally and their relationship.
Marriage is a constant work under progress, and for that there are a few things couples need to understand to carry out this bond. In the session they can gain insight on their relationship, their dynamics, their role and responsibilities, patterns that keep them stuck, feelings that prevent them from reaching out to each other and past hurts that harbour more distance etc.
To understand each other’s expectations
It’s always a first time experience and no amount of readings or hearing can help one understand how marriages work. However, the therapist helps the couple by giving them few tools on how they can make this journey easier.
To look at the situation from an emotional and Practical point of understanding
The counselor helps the couple identify the dysfunctional patterns they have engaged in and wanting to bring a change at couple/individual level is a choice a couple makes at this stage decide what path to take further that is conducive for both of them
The self work is quite important, as the couple needs to implement the understanding and insights by themselves. The tasks assigned in sessions serve as a catalyst for change in the couple relationship.
The challenges in marriage can come in future too, so the therapist helps them learn how to communicate, express and manage such conflicts in future without hurting the other partner.
The couple discusses with the Counselor what has helped them and what are the roadblocks or hurdles faced by them using the discussed tools or coping, so that they can be reconstructed according to the needs of the couple.
Couple therapy ensures upon a win-win situation for both the partners, and not either of them must feel like losing out. The therapist makes sure to empower both the partners and prepare them for future challenges both emotionally as well as mentally.
The follow-ups are required to see how the couple is doing post therapy. It allows to tab the progress and prevent relapse in a marital relationship.