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Learn how to strengthen your marriage

Posted February 22nd, 2021

Loving couple outdoors smiling

Every marriage has its ups and downs. You may have found your perfect partner and be living happily ever after now, but it is normal for any long-term relationship to ebb and flow. If you want to keep you and your spouse happy together in the long term, you should be prepared to invest in some essential regular relationship maintenance.

At KlearMinds, our experienced couple counsellors have helped many married couples navigate relationship issues. We also offer pre-marital counselling to help you learn the strategies to build a lasting, fulfilling marriage together. The key to being able to weather any storms is to form good habits from the start. With that in mind, we’ve collated some of the key strategies that will help you build a strong and healthy marriage.

1 – Learn how to manage conflict

Conflict is something that every couple has to deal with on occasion. One of the most common misconceptions is that happy couples never argue – but that is just not true. Every human relationship will encounter conflict at some point; it’s part of how we grow and change.

Don’t see conflict as a sign of weakness that is to be avoided at all cost. Nor should arguments descend into name calling, blame storming or physical violence. Rather, you must both learn how to handle disagreements in a loving and respectful manner.

Focus on identifying where you own needs are not being met, and communicate this openly to your spouse so they can support you better. Whether the issue is sharing household chores, needing your own space or trusting in each other’s decision making, you need to get to the bottom of the conflict to enable you both to move forwards in a positive, productive way.

2 – Always check your assumptions

It is all too easy to jump to conclusions when you feel that you’ve been hurt. But perhaps you were too quick to judge? Not everything has to be interpreted in the way that you think, especially in the heat of the moment. In other words, your assumption that you know exactly why your partner acts the way they do, or what they mean by a particular statement, can be one of the greatest downfalls of your marriage.

It’s always better to check your assumptions before making a judgement, to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict. Take a deep breath to regain your composure, and when you are feeling calm, centred and ready to communicate, ask your spouse to clarify their words or actions.

Remind yourself that your marriage is based on mutual love, trust and respect, and that your default position should always be that your partner has acted with the best of intentions.

3 – Support each other’s personal growth

Whether or not you are in a relationship, you will experience change and personal growth throughout your life. In successful marriages and similar long-term relationships, each partner will have the freedom to evolve, and are supported wholeheartedly in this endeavour by their other half.

Many couples drift apart or experience conflict when they are changing in a way that is not complementary, which pushes them further away from each other. From new interests and hobbies to career development opportunities and more, if you try to stop your partner from changing, you will inadvertently be stifling their ability to grow, which can lead to resentment. Change is inevitable and the most successful marriages remain open to embracing it as a couple.

4 – Ask for help when you need it

While clear, honest and respectful communication is the key to relationship success, not everyone knows how to be a good communicator. Start by learning to listen to your spouse for the purpose of understanding, and separate this from your desire to respond straight away, or the urge to ‘win the argument’.

At KlearMinds, we have been teaching communication strategies and relationship tools to many couples over the years – and we can do the same for you. No two marriages are the same, and it is up to you and your partner to figure out what works for your relationship. It takes honesty, vulnerability and courage to do the inner work needed for a strong and healthy marriage. If you feel that KlearMinds couple counselling may be helpful, please get in touch.

 

Filed Under: Relationships

How your marriage can survive infidelity

Posted December 13th, 2019

How your marriage can survive infidelity

There are few marital problems that can cause as much emotional pain as an affair. That’s because infidelity undermines the very foundations of a marriage. However, it doesn’t have to be the end. If both partners are committed to staying in the relationship and are prepared to make things better, your marriage not only has a good chance of surviving, it can actually become stronger as a result.

What is infidelity?

The classic definition of infidelity is if one partner has a sexual affair with someone outside the marriage. However, what actually constitutes infidelity can vary widely between couples. Is an emotional connection without physical intimacy as bad as having a full-blown affair? What about online relationships? Each couple needs to define for themselves what they consider being unfaithful.

Why do affairs happen?

Contrary to popular belief, most affairs aren’t fundamentally about sex. In fact, there are many factors that contribute to someone wanting to have an affair outside of marriage – here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Lack of affection within the marriage.
  • Loss of fondness and care for each other.
  • Unaddressed marital problems that may have been lying dormant for years.
  • Breakdown of communication about your feelings and relationship needs.
  • Physical health issues including disability or chronic pain.
  • Mental health issues including depression, anxiety and more.
  • Addiction including alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex.

What to do when an affair is discovered?

When an affair comes to light, it can trigger powerful emotions for both partners, including anger and betrayal, guilt, shame and remorse. When you are in the midst of such emotional turmoil, it will be difficult to think clearly enough to make sensible long-term decisions. Instead, focus on the following strategies:

  • Don’t force yourself into making any rash decisions. In particular, if you think you might be in danger of physically hurting yourself or others, seek immediate professional help.
  • Give each other plenty of space and try to avoid emotionally challenging discussions until you are able to begin the healing process.
  • Seek outside support by sharing your feelings and experience witSide view of young couple holding broken heart against grey backgroundh trusted friends or family who can positively support you and hold your hand along your healing path.
  • Consider seeing an experienced marriage counsellor or family therapist, either on your own or as a couple.
  • Take the time you need to understand what has happened and why, and try to avoid delving into the ‘sordid’ details until you are strong enough.

How do you mend a broken marriage?

Recovering from an affair is a challenging task that will come with much ambivalence and uncertainty. But as you rebuild the trust between you, admit guilt and learn to forgive each other and reconcile your struggles, it is possible to deepen and strengthen the love you’ve always had for each other.

Here are some recommended steps you can take to encourage healing your relationship:

  • Take it one step at a time. Healing cannot be rushed; it takes as long as it takes. Before making a definite decision whether or not to stay in the relationship, you need to be able to understand why the affair occurred in the first place. A marriage counsellor can help you here.
  • Take responsibility for your actions. If you were the one being unfaithful and you want to heal your marriage, put an end to the affair and stop all communications with the third party involved. If it’s a work colleague, minimise your contact to business only, or change jobs.
  • Get support from diverse sources. Don’t rely on self-help books or generic advice alone. Rather, share your situation with understanding friends, experienced spiritual leaders or a trained counsellor.
  • See a marriage therapist who is experience in dealing with infidelity issues. At KlearMinds, our marriage counsellors can help you put the affair into perspective, help identify issues that may have contributed to the affair, and encourage you to rebuild and strengthen your marriage and avoid divorce.
  • Finally, it’s time to come together and make a plan to achieve reconciliation. Agree on a process and timetable, practice authentic forgiveness and seek understanding together, and restore trust in your marriage.

If you are committed to your marriage and have the desire to overcome the suffering and pain caused by an affair, KlearMinds can help you move forward together. Why not get in touch with us in confidence, or book an appointment here.

5 signs that it’s not too late to save an unhappy relationship

Posted September 18th, 2019

Blog post - unhappy couple

 

When things go wrong in a relationship or marriage, it may be difficult to pinpoint what exactly the issues are and how to resolve them. Perhaps you’re having constant arguments or are no longer communicating meaningfully? Have you stopped being physically intimate or has one of you had an affair? Should you break up??

If you’re unhappy with your partner, all may not be lost. There are many qualities that, if you can find them in your personal dealings with each other, are a good sign that your relationship can indeed recover.

1. You are sensitive to each other’s needs

If you’re not happy because she’s not happy, it means you care – that’s a good thing. If the other person didn’t matter to you or there was no emotional connection, you would have little concern for your partner’s feelings.

As long as there is still a strong connection between the two of you, it is not over and the relationship can be saved. With time and space dedicated to accommodating each other it is definitely possible to improve the quality of your marriage or relationship.

2. You have more in common than having sex

Great sex is a wonderful thing but when physical intimacy is lacking in a relationship, it is often seen as the end. Not so – as long as you have a strong emotional and intellection bond, with patience and persistence you can each relearn how to fulfil your partner’s physical needs.

Strategies to get closer might include spending more quality time together, and focusing on communicating and destressing so you feel comfortable and relaxed in each other’s company. Add more flirting and eroticism to your day and take steps to rediscover having fun together.

3. You are both willing to make changes

We all change as we go through life, and this affects our close personal relationships. Major life events such as illness or losing a loved one, moving home, a new job, to name a few, can place additional stress on a relationship.

As long as you and your partner are able to talk with love, honesty and respect about what is happening and how it is affecting one or both of you, you can heal the rift. In a good relationship, you find ways to adapt to whatever new circumstances life brings, and deal with them together.

4. You can communicate your needs to each other

Being able and willing to communicate your unhappiness to your partner, and to listen and understand their unhappiness when they open up to you, is a key requirement for improving things between you.

If you can learn how to really hear what the other person is saying, and communicate healthily, with open minds and respectful hearts, and without allowing bitterness, jealousness or other negative feelings to get in the way, you have every chance of moving forward together.

5. You feel safe with your partner

In unhealthy relationships, a partner may manipulate the other person’s weaknesses and question their self-worth in an effort to get what they want. Of course, everybody has insecurities but if your partner generally makes you feel valued and respected and isn’t using your insecurities against you, that’s a good starting point.

In a healthy relationship, you can work on healing your insecurities yourself because your partner will do all they can to avoid triggering them. If you can both embrace each other and be kind and open with each other, then your relationship has every chance of surviving and your love can be rekindled.

 

At KlearMinds, couples therapy and marriage counselling can help you understand why things are not working, and what you can both do to improve your relationship and rebuild a fulfilling future together. Making the decision to go to counselling is a big step. Whether you choose to attend sessions together, or even if only one of you takes part, as long as the indicators are right it is possible to make positive, lasting improvements to your relationship. Take the first step to make your life better and get in touch.

Filed Under: Relationships

How can you tell if you’re in a bad relationship?

Posted April 13th, 2018

Man and Woman in Disagreement

We all deserve to feel safe, loved and happy in a romantic relationship but sometimes it’s not as straightforward as all that. But how can you tell whether your relationship is a healthy one or whether it’s time to say goodbye?

Most of the time, this is not a clear cut issue. Relationships are complex webs of human interaction and problems may develop slowly, over many months or years, possibly without you or your partner even realising. However, once the feeling sets in that ‘something isn’t right’, that’s when an experienced relationship therapist may be invaluable to help you understand what’s going on.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?

Fighting too much

It’s normal to have arguments but as you get to know each other, you would expect there to be a progression towards better understanding and communication. If you keep going round in circles arguing with each other, possibly over the same thing, there may be a problem. Poor communication that never improves is toxic, stopping the relationship from moving forward.

Walking on eggshells

Is your partner dominating or controlling? This doesn’t necessarily have to involve threats of violence. It could be that you’re nervous and afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions, and change your views or behaviour to make sure s/he doesn’t get upset. Or perhaps your partner chooses what you wear, how you spend money or who your friends are? Manipulative behaviour is not the sign of a healthy relationship.

Wishing your were home alone

Do you find yourself wishing that your partner wasn’t around? Do you have more fun on your own? If you prefer spending the evening home alone while encouraging him to go to the pub, or you increasingly socialise independent of each other, all may not be well at home. With tensions building while you’re together, you may start to realise that life would be happier on your own.

Constant power games

In a good relationship, the balance of power is evenly distributed; there’s plenty of give and take so that both parties feel that their voice is heard. However, if one partner feels powerless or disenfranchised, they may try to redress the balance by inadvertently upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Suddenly, the relationship feels on edge, destabilised and uprooted, upsetting both partners.

Habitual stonewalling

Positive communication is key in any relationship – you need to be able to talk about important issues to move your relationship forward. But what if your partner refuses to talk about the big stuff such as moving home, getting married, having a baby? Blocking the possibility of talking about the future means the relationship is stuck in the present, which could be a toxic situation.

Something’s changed

People change and the secret of a long-term relationship is to keep adapting to each other and still make it work. If you find yourself thinking that ‘this isn’t how it used to be’, ‘this doesn’t feel good anymore’ or ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’, then perhaps what was once a good relationship has turned bad. Can you bring the good times back?

If you’re tired of feeling stuck, lonely or unhappy in your current relationship, seeing a relationship counsellor may help. At KlearMinds, we can show you simple steps you can take to improve your relationship difficulties, giving you plenty of advice and active strategies to help you achieve the improvements you want. Contact KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 for a confidential chat to see how we can help.

Filed Under: Relationships

Relationship problems – what’s wrong with us?

Posted January 19th, 2017

There may be many reasons why your love is on the rocks. However, if things between you and your spouse or partner are not going well, it’s not always obvious to see what the underlying problems are. How serious are the issues? Is it just a temporary blip or is it terminal? Should you stay and make it work or cut your losses and leave?

It’s important to understand that most serious relationship problems occur around the same themes. So if you recognise any of these in your marriage or partnership, it’s high time to take action to improve your relationship.

Criticism

In any relationship, it’s completely normal to have arguments and disagreements. However, when a person is criticised for the person s/he is and a relationship problem is staged as a character flaw in a partner, it’s hard to move past that. If one or both of you provoke arguments and then look for reasons not to forgive the other person, that is a big problem you need to work on.

Contempt

Contempt is the number one predictor of breakups. If left unchecked, negative behaviour such as finger pointing, insults, sarcasm and talking down to your partner will chip away at the very foundation of your relationship over time. If one or both partners are unwilling to soften the conversation and inject some positive emotions into the relationship, there’s little point in being together.

Lack of sexual desire

For most people, having a mutually fulfilling sex life is an essential part of any good long-term relationship. If one partner has a much lower sex drive or shows little interest in wanting to be intimated, this needs to be addressed urgently. A marriage or partnership without sex could be a deal breaker.

Infidelity

Commitment and exclusivity are the foundation stones of a long-term partnership. Being in a relationship with someone who cheats on you is tough. It is possible for both of you to work through the infidelity with honesty and forgiveness and a promise to put it behind you. However, chronic infidelity and broken promises are much harder to fix.

Lack of communication

Sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings about each other is what gives each partner reassurance. But if one partner shuts down emotionally or is unable to open up, it’s much harder to connect. How can you deal with relationship problems if one of you keeps it all bottled up? Communications skills can be learnt; it’s essential to keep talking to each other so you don’t drift apart.

Filed Under: Relationships