Marriage Counseling: “Being Strong” Doesn’t Help
Marriage counseling can help you to strengthen your relationship by learning to be more vulnerable. As we discussed in our last blog, we are often told to “be strong” in the face of overwhelming or negative emotions, but we do this to our own detriment and often at the expense of our closest relationships. Hiding or suppressing our feelings makes us emotionally unavailable to our partners, and that destroys relationships.
Why Do People Hide Their Feelings?
People often hide their feelings to protect themselves from getting hurt with the coping strategies they learned early on and to calm themselves. This traces back to childhood and a caregiver that taught them that their feelings were not important and that expressing them was wrong.
Expressing our emotions makes us vulnerable, and it is normal to not want to show our vulnerabilities. We might fear judgment or rejection, or simply that others will see us as weak, or as someone who can’t handle themselves.
When we hide our feeling to avoid getting hurt, it is usually caused by a lack of trust in ourselves and others. We may pretend not to be bothered by something a partner said because we are afraid they will leave if we tell them or it will trigger a greater conflict.
Marriage Counseling Teaches You To Be Emotionally Available
Going to counseling as a couple can help you learn how to address emotions, develop healthy communication and problem-solving strategies, and create a healthy attachment that helps to heal you both.
It is important that you and your partner each take responsibility for your own emotions. It is not your job to fix your emotionally unavailable partner, especially if their emotional neglect is the result of past trauma or childhood emotional neglect. You should be emotionally available to them and encourage them to express their emotions, but you cannot take responsibility for whether they do so or not. You should, however, consider how your actions might be enabling their emotional unavailability.
Emotional connections are the glue that holds couples together, but they are not something you either have or don’t. They are things you *do*. You can start making more and better emotional connections with your partner right now. Ask them for emotional support, or to share in a happy, sad, or painful moment. Be mindful of their emotional states. Look for times when they are requesting an emotional bond with you and give it to them.
Marriage counseling is available at Take Charge, Inc. Terri Clinton Dichiser utilizes Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFT) to help couples recognize the patterns they have established in their relationship and offers tools and strategies to break those patterns to create a renewed sense of connection with your spouse.
For more information about marriage counseling at Take Charge, Inc., click here or call (913) 239-8255.
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