It is very common for couples to go through difficult times, and even times of real marital or dating crisis. For this reason, this topic is a constant in psychology consultations, since we have in the couple’s therapy services one of our most popular forms of psychological assistance.
Now then… how to overcome a couple’s crisis , either before or during the beginning of the couple’s therapy sessions? In this article we will talk about it.
Keys to Understanding Marriage or Courtship
First of all, it is important to have a clear set of ideas to understand the way in which couple’s problems should be approached. They are the following.
1. Communication is the key
No couple’s relationship will work well if there is not a constant flow of communication, regardless of whether it is a married couple living in the same home, or a married couple who have not yet moved into a flat to share. As we will see, the lack of dialogue causes problems to arise very quickly.
2. Being in a couple is more than just living together
The simple fact of tolerating someone and coordinating well within a cohabitation framework does not indicate that the relationship is going well . In fact, if what keeps two people together is no more than the sum of these elements, the relationship is probably going through a bad time, or at least through a stage of emotional stagnation. Loving each other implies more than just living together.
3. Problems, if not addressed, accumulate
Many people are tempted, after an argument, to pretend nothing happened and settle for the fact that neither they nor the other person is angry with the other. This is a mistake that will cause problems at the very least if there is a new argument, because of the resentment or frustration that has built up.
How do you get over a relationship crisis?
Of course, the ideal is to avoid couple’s crises , to do what is necessary so that we do not reach a point where the love relationship is significantly damaged.
However, once this has happened, all is not lost: in many cases, it is possible to move out of this situation and make the marriage or engagement stronger again.
How can we overcome these bad moments that the relationship is going through? Here you will find several pieces of advice that, although simple to explain, require perseverance, commitment to the idea of improvement , and effort.
1. Avoid wanting to win in every discussion
Often the trap of confusing discussions with contests in which one must stay ahead of the other at all costs falls. This only fuels the conflict, of course.
But, paradoxically, a discussion is also an opportunity to reconcile , because your self shows that you are capable of not letting go of the impulses that lead you to get angry, and shows understanding and empathy, this is a powerful show of love, and will contribute to the other person having reason to build bridges, seeing that on the other side there is someone listening.
2. Deal with past problems honestly
It is difficult to get out of a relationship crisis if at least one of the parties believes that he or she has been the victim of a grievance. This can happen, for example, if you feel that you have made more sacrifices than the other person in order to live together. Talking about this in a transparent way is necessary to achieve a balance. This brings us to the next point.
3. Symmetry must be achieved
Relationships based on dependence or co-dependence are condemned to suffer from convulsive periods , because it is not sustainable to make a large part of our lives dependent on the arbitrary or unilateral decisions of the other person. We have to reach a point where we both give what we receive.
4. It is necessary to recognize errors
This is basic. Without the ability to look back and recognize that we have made a mistake, it is very difficult to love, or even to live together. It is not enough to make excuses or assume that guilt is shared: we must clearly communicate that we believe we have acted wrongly or made a mistake, and offer a way to repair the damage caused.
5. Don’t just let time pass
It is not only the problems that need to be addressed and discussed in order to achieve a consensual solution. It must also be done soon, without leaving everything “for the next day”.
The mere passing of time does not solve a couple’s crisis; it only makes the situation more frustrating , by investing more weeks, months and years in a courtship or a relationship where nobody learns from their mistakes. Talking about sensitive issues that expose our mistakes is uncomfortable, but necessary
6. For more problems, go to couples therapy
Nowadays, couples’ therapy is a service that is widely used by all kinds of people, even by those who are not even considering separation or divorce. In these sessions, we psychologists offer our training, our therapeutic tools and our advice and mediation power to create situations in which patients can communicate, discover errors invisible until that moment, and do something to remedy the crisis of the couple.
If you are interested in professional support to overcome the crisis of love in marriage or dating relationships, in Consulta Despertares we offer couples therapy in all our centers . You can find us in Madrid, Getafe, Leganés and Móstoles. To see our contact details, click here.
- Christensen A., Atkins D.C., Baucom B., Yi J. (2010). “Marital status and satisfaction five years following a randomized clinical trial comparing traditional versus integrative behavioral couple therapy. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 78 (2): 225–235.
- Lewis, T.; Amini, F.; Lannon, R. (2000). A General Theory of Love. Random House.
- Loye, D.S. (2000). Darwin’s Lost Theory of Love: A Healing Vision for the 21st Century. Bloomington: iUniverse.