Top Relationship Issues for Couples and How Couples Therapy Can Help
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
When you’re having relationship issues, it can be hard to figure out where to turn for relationship advice. Couples therapy can help with many relationship issues that couples face, but some people aren’t quite ready to take that leap just yet.
In this article, we’ll give you an overview of common relationship issues that can cause strain or stress on a relationship. We’ll also talk about some things that you can do to improve your relationship and increase your sense of connection to your partner.
Whether you’re just looking for relationship advice or you want to find a couples therapist to work with, we’re here to support you.
Top Relationship Issues That Couples Face
When you’re experiencing conflict or struggles in your relationship, it’s easy to feel like your problems are totally unique to you and your partner. You might feel like no one else has experienced the struggles that you’re facing.
In reality, there are many common relationship issues that couples might face. Here are some common relationship challenges that you might relate to:
Arguments and conflict
Life transitions (e.g., career changes, moving, the birth of a child)
Challenging relationships with in-laws or other family members
Past trauma or other mental health issues
Financial issues or disagreements
Unequal division of household labor
Parenting or caring for children
Mismatched sex drives
Emotional distance or growing apart
Couples therapy can help you and your partner work through many of these common challenges and relationship issues. However, if you are experiencing emotional abuse, domestic violence, or fear for the safety of yourself or your other family members, please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.
Relationship Advice for Common Relationship Issues
If you’re experiencing relationship issues, know that you’re not alone. Many couples go through rocky periods, and many couples work through those rocky periods and come out on the other side happier and more connected than they were before.
While every situation is a little bit different, there are many different things that you can do to improve the quality of your relationship. Here are some general pieces of relationship advice that can help you improve your relationship with your partner:
Soften your communication. Instead of approaching issues or conflict with a tone of anger, approach with kindness and curiosity. For example, if your partner said they would do the dishes and you’re feeling upset that they’re still left undone, try using a soft start-up, like “I noticed that the dishes aren’t done and you said you would do them. Did you have a plan for when you would do them? I’m feeling upset that they’re not done yet, could you please take care of it?”
Focus on connecting over “winning.” Sometimes in an argument, the urge to “win” the fight is strong, but winning an argument doesn’t do any favors for your relationship. Instead of focusing on winning, shift your focus to connecting to your partner and understanding their perspective. Ask them genuine questions that will help you understand their point of view.
Try couples therapy. Going to couples therapy used to be more of a taboo topic, but it’s becoming more and more accepted as a way to bolster the foundation of your relationship. Whether you think your relationship issues are big or small, working with a couples therapist can help you become more connected to your partner.
Does Couples Therapy Really Work?
Yes, couples therapy really can work. It is possible to work through the issues in your relationship and come out stronger on the other side.
Research has found that couples who engage in relationship counseling have a better relationship quality, better coping skills, and better individual mental health. Couples therapy is an effective tool to incorporate into your relationship to build better communication skills, become more connected with your partner, and have a more fulfilling relationship overall.
What If My Partner Won’t Go to Couples Therapy?
It’s not uncommon that one partner wants to give couples therapy a try, but the other is reluctant to go.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t still benefit from working with a therapist! When one partner is unable or unwilling to attend couples therapy, it’s still possible to get some of the benefits of couples therapy by working with an individual or a couples therapist on your own.
Think of it this way: there are three key components to your relationship. There’s your partner, your relationship, and you. If your partner won’t agree to attend couples therapy with you, you can’t change them (as much as you might want to!) but you can still work on the components that you bring to the relationship.
By working with a therapist independently, you can:
Improve your communication skills
Build up your ability to communicate during conflict
Process your own past relationships and experiences that may be shaping the ways you interact with your partner
Work to identify what “triggers” you into a fight or flight response
Build better coping skills to manage strong emotional reactions during conflict with your partner
Better identify when you’re feeling too distressed to have a productive conversation and need to take a break
Increase your emotion regulation and self-soothing skills
Have a safe place to manage your stress and process your experiences outside of your relationship
If your partner is skeptical about couples therapy, that’s okay. It’s still possible for you to work with a couples therapist as an individual and see great benefits to your relationship.
How Can I Find a Couples Therapist?
If you’re ready to try couples therapy, or just want to learn more about what it’s like to work with a couples therapist, we’re here for you. Our team of clinicians and therapists are here to support you as an individual and support your relationship with your partner.
Reach out to us to get connected to one of our couples therapy experts. We’re here to support you!
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Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)