Falling in love is a beautiful thing, but staying in love can be something else altogether. Many couples find they are good at starting relationships, but the magic fizzles once they start going steady or finally “put a ring on it.” The first segment of this three-part series exploring love and keeping the magic alive discussed relationship advice from divorce lawyers. This week we will explore advice from marriage counselors who have seen countless couples in conflict seek ways to rekindle the romance they once had.
Meet the Experts:
Susan Fletcher, PhD, is a psychologist in the Dallas area. Fletcher is an author and consultant who specializes in family and domestic topics.
Lori Bizzoco is a relationship expert with more than 20 years of experience in her field. She is also the founder of love news site Cupid’s Pulse. Bizzoco has worked with Dr. Phil and is highly sought after for motivational speaking.
Elizabeth Lombardo, PhD, is a psychologist and therapist operating out of Wexford, PA. Lombardo has made appearances on shows like The Dr. Oz Show, Steve Harvey, Fox News, and CNN.
It’s Okay to Argue
While waiting for couple’s therapy, fighting in the waiting room could actually be a sign your relationship is not over. Silence signals a couple is already emotionally divorced. “Indifference to each other tells me a marriage is in big trouble,” says Susan Fletcher, PhD, a psychologist in the Dallas area. “Couples who care enough to fight still care about each other.”
Arguments cause couples to get into a heated frenzy where sometimes both parties move too quickly to be logical. “A marital therapist’s job is to slow you down… so you can really think through what’s going on and then our job can be to help prevent a divorce,” Fletcher says in her vlog. Slowing down is a chance to deal with conflict in a relationship.
There is a famous quote by Albert Einstein that says, “Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.” While humorous, Einstein was actually describing a widely-recognized phenomenon that is addressed frequently in marriage counseling even today. Bizzoco says, “Often we get so wrapped up in the relationship and think we know someone so well that we don’t allow them the freedom to be anything more than the person they were when we met them.” The trick is to allow yourself – and your spouse – room to grow as human beings and develop new interests, change their minds, and evolve.
Appreciate Your Partner
Instead of thinking about all the things your partner does wrong, get into the habit of actively remembering all the great things he or she has done recently. Some couples may even choose to write down three good things about their partner in a special journal each evening. “This keeps you feeling more positive toward [them], which will benefit your relationship,” Lombardo says. Cultivate positive feelings about your partner and your relationship will be better for it!
Kids Come First
Married couples need to keep their priorities in check and that means putting someone else’s needs before your own. No, not your partner’s (although that would be nice, too) – we’re talking about any children that might be involved in your relationship. When couples seek relationship counseling, Fletcher says, “I’m not working for you; I’m really working for your kids… they’re just not writing the check.” When children are involved, relationship counseling is all about bringing couple’s back together – even if it’s only to make decisions about what is best for their children.
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