Couple's Work

(502) 479-1500

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Thank you for your patience as we complete the site.

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(502) 479-1500

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Making Two Work


         For most of us, one of the biggest challenges we will ever face is learning how to get along well with one, long-term, intimate, romantic partner.

         Usually a couple includes one partner who wants to be closer and spend a lot of time together, and another partner who needs more space or distance.  It's not easy to balance these two needs, but it is possible.  Often, a professional counselor, with specialized training in couple's work, can be a big help!

         If two partners have been angry or distant from each other for a long enough period, they may have forgotten how to be happy together (or that they ever were). Sometimes, partners will develop patterns which involve many creative ways of avoiding each other, or other creative ways of putting down one another.

       Sometimes, it's simply a problem that life keeps partners apart -  caring for children, conflicting work schedules, finances, illness, etc.  In any case, couples who do not learn how to make time to connect with one another, and to help one another feel valued, desired, and respected are likely to be headed towards an unhappy future.



         When partners feel distant enough, or hurt enough, or resentful enough, it may lead to an affair (outside of the relationship). Sometimes the affair is not with another person at all, but with a career, a hobby, or with a substance.   At this point, there is usually a major breakdown of trust between partners, and patching things up requires a great amount of effort and patience.   It is not unusual that an affair can become a turning point in the life of a couple, where they really begin to learn how to make their own partnership a great one!   This will often require the additional help of a trained professional, couple's counselor.

         Most folks have learned how to act as a partner in the same way that we learned how to speak - by observing the adults around us.   For instance, if our main language is English, it's because we grew up around adults who were mostly speaking English.   We learned to speak English by imitating them.   We also learned how partners treat one other from being around the adults who brought us up.  Sometimes their ways of partnering may work just great!    However, sometimes the ways we learned to act as a partner can cause us (and the ones we love) great pain.

         We don't always do our partnerships in the same way as the adults we grew up with.  Some folks are very thoughtful, and so they decide to absolutely not do partnership like the adults they grew up with. A person who makes a decision like this will often try to do the opposite of what the adults around them did.  For instance, a person grew up with adults who argued a great deal might promise himself that he will never argue, and at all costs he will maintain a peaceful relationship.  That would be great! - If it worked!   Usually, it doesn't work much better at all, because it keeps that partner from expressing his/her own needs and desires.  

         To be a successful partner we must be aware of the needs and desires of our partner, and they have to be able to express them to us (respectfully works best).



    The secret to a long-standing, loving relationship...        

    is to learn how to help your partner feel appreciated, and helping your partner to learn how to help you to feel appreciated.   In order to have a rich and joyous relationship, partners must be able to state their needs and desires (these are not the same thing), and they must be able to state them so that their partner will feel respected and valued.   This sounds simple, but it's really tricky for most folks.   Loving partners, in daily contact with each other are naturally going to have conflicts - it's only human.

       When a couple handles their conflicts well together, then their conflicts will help them to become even closer together.

       Also, when a couple handles conflict well, each partner usually ends up feeling more appreciated, more accepted, more valued, and more loved. 

       Sometimes a couple's problem may be that one (or both) of the partners fear that they could never truly feel comfortable being appreciated, accepted, valued, and loved.  To receive this sort of attention would feel "alien" and uncomfortable for some folks.  Such people feel like they need a lot of distance to feel safe.  After all, a person who gets close to you can really hurt you, in the deepest way. Nevertheless, most of us become a partner in a couple exactly so that we can have such loving experiences.  It's pretty common for human beings that one part of us desires something which another part of us wishes to avoid.

    Human beings often want to share themselves and to keep themselves "safe" and separate.


  For a happy romantic partnership...

             feeling safe is essential

         When a person believes that they must be distant from their partner in order to feel safe, that is a good indication that the couple would probably benefit from couple's counseling (or that one or both partners would benefit from individual counseling).  It's also true that if a person feels like they can only feel comfortable when they are in the company of their partner, than it may also indicate that they would benefit from individual counseling too.  It's healthy to feel safe and comfortable with a partner and when one is alone. 

         It is not unusual for partners to do individual work in conjunction with couple's work.

         Make no mistake, working out how to have a great and loving relationship can be tough work. However, those couple's who do invest their time and energy and who make their way through to that point will typically feel an extremely deep sense of satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy. They also create a profound and precious gift for their children (for couples who have, or will have children).  Children who have the advantage of growing up in a loving, respectful, and cooperative home will themselves have happier adult relationships, higher self-esteem, and they are more likely to be successful in life.

         If you'd like to get your relationship back on track (or to make sure that it is on track now) you may wish to consider consulting a trained, professional couple's counselor; such a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.



    If you'd like to discover what it's like to participate in couple's work, please feel free to take advantage of our low-cost, initial consultation.  You may arrange your own low-cost, initial consultation by calling Marc Leibson, M.Ed., LMFT at the Human Process and Development Group.  You may reach Marc there at...

     (502) 479-1500


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