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The entire COVID-19 situation got us all unprepared. Now that the initial shock has worn off, we are left with the treacherous aftermath. Many of us have unresolved feelings about it all. For many, these include anxiety, uncertainty, isolation, loss, low self-esteem, and depression. The pandemic affected every aspect of our lives. Further, we have seen negative impacts on people’s mental and physical health, as well as employment and financial situations.
Impact of COVID on Relationships
Family and marriage are the first relationships that felt the pressure of the pandemic. The people you spend the most time with are typically the first to stress you out. Furthermore, those people usually get the brunt of whatever is bothering you that day. No matter if you like that conclusion or not, it is often the reality.
How Can You Help Your Relationship?
A very helpful tool to connect with your partner is marriage counseling. At New Connections, you may find us referring to it as marriage counseling, couples counseling, or couples therapy.
What is Marriage Counseling?
Given the realities of the pandemic, some marriages abruptly hit a brick wall this year. Other relationships have been going down a rocky road for some time, but now, the bumps feel like too much. For some, the relationship is steady, but negative feelings are slowly building up. For others, things are going okay, but they know that the relationship isn’t reaching its full potential. Couples therapy, more than any other type of therapy, can help in these cases.
Often, the home is the most important safe place for a person. When things are unpleasant at home, all other aspects of life are affected. On the other hand, no matter which aspect of your life has problems, part of that will surely transfer to the home.
Couples Therapy at New Connections
The couples therapists at New Connections use Emotion-Focused Therapy and Imago Couples Therapy. The specific techniques your therapist uses are dependent on their training and expertise. However, marriage counseling typically follows the following outline:
- Identification of a specific problem – A problem is defined by both partners. The therapist will demonstrate effective communicative techniques to help partners express themselves in a helpful way.
- View the relationship as a whole – The therapist looks at the relationship as a whole, while also recognizing that each partner has their own perspectives. Interpersonal problems can never, ever, be one-sided. Interpersonal difficulties depend on the individuals in that relationship. They depend on what both partners expect and how they react to each other’s actions and thoughts.
- Find solutions and change – Being able to best describe what you and your partner feel is just part of the work. The other piece is to know what you and your significant other are doing in order to improve the situation. Therapy helps guide partners towards an agreed-upon solution. Then, they can make the necessary changes to get there.
- Treatment objectives – The therapist’s job is to guide partners through the process of expressing feelings, identifying goals, considering options, and developing new skills. As you progress through therapy, the goals and objectives may change and adapt.
What Can Marriage Counseling Help With?
With a solid foundation built, problems that come up for a couple won’t seem like a burden. Couples therapy can be a growth opportunity, where the emotional bond only deepens. Working with a couples counselor can help with an array of problems. Likewise, it can help create a connection where there is disconnection. Some general issues marriage counselors help with are:
- Determining crucial elements of the relationship that lead to distress
- Exploring expectations, fears, wishes, and needs from both partners
- Developing communication skills that include both speaking and listening effectively
- Cultivating empathy, support, and understanding for each other
Home organization and chores
During COVID-19, families and couples began staying home more than ever. Therefore, home maintenance tasks increased and changed. Something that might have worked before, might not work now.
So, with the help of couples counseling, partners can talk through and find different ways to function. And, they can do so without one partner feeling more invested in the home than the other. In most cases, maladaptive home organization existed before Covid lockdowns. However, it became more evident once everyone was at home for extended periods of time. Work, chores, parenting, cleaning, cooking, groceries, and everything in between, can only be taken care of if everyone in the household helps out.
Parenting and family relationships
Parenting is not easy by any means. Children are all different. They have different personalities, needs, and wishes. Parents need to be partners in parenting, rather than individuals just reacting at the moment. This partnership relies on open communication about what is best for the child.
With the pandemic and homeschooling, parenting has become more challenging. Kids are kids. So, they will find a way to slack off, procrastinate, or spend time doing what they find interesting. Children can feel a lot of pressure while doing their classes online. So, parents are key in helping kids balance work and fun.
In couples therapy, parents can learn to parent collaboratively. Working collaboratively means taking into consideration each other’s character, strengths, and weaknesses. Also, parents must keep in mind the individuality of each child to determine the best way to navigate parenting challenges that arise.
Intimacy and emotional support
Partners in a relationship are lovers, friends, motivators, helpers, nurturers, protectors, and everything in between. But, when you are with someone all the time, the everyday annoyances are bound to feel more intense. So, Covid lockdowns strained many relationships.
Everyday stress builds up. So, a small, ironic comment can push a relationship to its breaking point. Couples therapy can be transformative in helping couples connect emotionally.
Not feeling understood or supported by your “person” can be damaging to your overall mental health. Not getting what you need for some period can bring out your ugly parts. Soon, you might find yourself being easily irritated and picking fights with your partner, despite still loving them.
In marriage counseling, you can get to the root of the problems in your relationship. Waiting for the problems to just disappear isn’t going to help. Both partners need to find effective ways to express and ask for their needs to be met. Furthermore, it’s very important to learn to listen to what the other has to say. Working with a couples therapist can facilitate understanding instead of blaming.
It is very hard to actively listen when arguing. Your emotions are jumping around and you may feel hurt, angry, or misunderstood. If this is a recurring problem, it’s time to get help. Finding a good way to communicate is critical to the health of your relationship. It’s important to feel your partner supports your efforts to express difficult emotions.
Start Marriage Counseling in Baltimore, MD
Couples counseling doesn’t have to be a last-ditch effort before splitting up. Working with a couples therapist at our counseling practice located in Baltimore can be a way to take care of your relationship. You can deepen it and even prevent problems from festering and further damaging it. Working with a marriage counselor can require a lot of effort and dedication. But, the things you will learn in the process will stay with you for a lifetime. And, we now offer all of our services from a distance using online therapy in Maryland. Follow the steps below to connect with us.
- Fill out an appointment request form.
- Get connected with one of our skilled couples therapists.
- Reconnect and rekindle your relationship with your partner.
Other Services at New Connections Counseling Center in Baltimore, MD
At our Baltimore-based counseling office, we help people reconnect with their partners and themselves as individuals. Further, New Connection’s counselors specialize in both men’s and women’s issues. Our skilled therapists also help individuals seeking to be in relationship with others. Among our other services, we are passionate about serving college students in our community. Some common issues we treat are anxiety and depression. Regardless of your relationship status or current concern, our counselors want to help you connect with yourself and others in positive ways.