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Have you been feeling stuck in your relationship and not sure where to turn? 

Feeling stuck in a relationship is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to define the fate of your partnership. Relationships are the cornerstones of our lives; however they are not always smooth sailing (as much as we would like them to be). We may face challenges and difficulties that can be hard to overcome. Gaining support for navigating through these challenges can make it feel more manageable. 


Recognizing when couples counseling could be beneficial is an important step towards addressing underlying issues and strengthening the relationship. 

Here are some signs that you and your partner could benefit from couples counseling: 

  • Frequent and escalating arguments: Ever feel like you’re just stuck in this cycle of conflict? Sometimes feeling as if the conflicts are never ending and struggling to find a resolution? Therapy can help provide the tools needed to resolve conflict more effectively and improve overall communication. 
  • Trust and commitment issues: I think we can all agree that trust is one of the most important parts to a relationship. If we don’t have trust, what do we really have? Couples therapy can help rebuild trust, help you feel more secure in your relationship and establish a stronger sense of commitment. 
  • Growing apart/feeling disconnected from one another: Sometimes we begin to grow apart from one another slowly and we may not even realize that it is happening. Couples therapy can help you rediscover what brought you together in the first place by exploring shared values and interests. 
  • Talking about separation or divorce: If you have been feeling like ending the relationship, it can be helpful to get an outsider’s perspective, specifically a trained professional to explore underlying issues and determine whether the relationship can be salvaged or if separation is the best course of action. 
  • Sexual intimacy is practically non-existent, there is a lack of desire, and/or it’s rarely talked about: Sometimes this can be a difficult one to discuss, but couples therapy can provide a safe space for you and your partner to feel more comfortable to not only talk about intimacy but work towards ways to improve it.

A couple’s therapist can help support you and your partner in implementing strategies and tools to change the way you communicate, as well as shift unhealthy dynamics in your relationship. This can help strengthen the connection between you and your partner. 


Let’s talk more about those frequent and escalating arguments. What can you do in the aftermath of a fight or a regrettable incident? It is important to take steps to process what happened in a constructive way. 


Here are some steps to take in order to help you and your partner do so: 

  • Talk about and accept what you were each feeling
  • Discuss and validate each subjective reality
  • Accept responsibility: What role did you play in this fight?
  • Identify the triggers for each of you: What escalated the interaction?
  • Understand why these are triggers
  • Figure out how to make it better next time: What is one way that your partner can make it better next time this kind of incident happens again? What is one way that you can make it better next time?


Processing the aftermath of a fight or regrettable incident takes mutual effort and patience. If you and your partner are able to approach the situation with an open mind, it can help with navigating challenges more effectively together. 


Couples therapy can also help you improve communication in your relationship. Here are some tips for communicating effectively:

  • Uninterrupted Listening: A simple but powerful exercise is called Uninterrupted Listening, and it’s exactly what it sounds like (Gray, 2014). We all need to feel heard, understood, and cared for, and this exercise can help both you and your partner feel this way. Set a timer for this exercise and let your partner talk about whatever he/she wants to talk about. The only job you have is to listen! When the timer goes off, switch roles!
  • Apologizing effectively: Recognize your mistake and understand what you did wrong. 
  • Regular check ins: Regular check ins provide couples with an opportunity to make sure they are on the same page.
  • Using “I” statements and being aware of sneaky “you statements”: The purpose of an “I statement” is to get your feelings heard, but the purpose of a “you statement” ends up blaming someone else for your feelings. When we use “you statements”, we are likely to trigger defensiveness and this can lead to a breakdown in communication. To use “I” statements effectively, it’s important to focus on identifying our own feelings and the facts of the situation.


Additional exercises to help strengthen your connection with your partner:

  • Get crafty: Having a physically visible vision board can help remind you of your shared desires and goals for when you are having issues within your relationship. Write down your goals and collect pictures that embody your relationship desires.
  • Find deeper topics to engage with: Sometimes we get lost in day-to-day needs that we may forget to talk about anything else. 
  • Express appreciation: Expressing gratitude and communicating what works in your relationship can help strengthen your appreciation for one another.
    • “Make it a habit of expressing appreciation daily through in person conversations, texts or a sticky note in a place your partner will find it”, suggests Meagan Prost, a licensed professional clinical counselor.
  • Identify your partner’s love language: “The five love languages” by Dr. Gary Chapman helps couples identify what makes them feel loved, so they can show up for each other. 
    • The five love languages include:
      • Receiving gifts
      • Acts of service
      • Words of affirmation
      • Quality time
      • Physical touch 
  • Schedule important conversations: Serious talks can be best when you and your partner have a plan. 
  • Show interest in each other’s day: When was the last time you asked your partner what they were most excited about for the day?


Remember that every relationship faces its ups and downs, and with the right support and effort, things can improve. 


Below is a worksheet for those couples who want to begin to make positive changes.  It keeps things light, but reminds of a couple of their special connection. Click on the link and try it with your partner! About Your Partner Worksheet


Resources used for this blog post include Positive Psychology and The Gottman Institute