Marriage Counseling in Cinnaminson, NJ - Call Now: 800-497-9729
Revive Tenderness, Intimacy and Understanding

Often people in a relationship don't realize how important their bond is until it's just about destroyed. Many couples are raising children by the time they realize their marriage has been slowly drifting apart. Some escape through affairs, shopping, work, hobbies, or the internet. Some become filled with remorse for the things they have done or not done and get depressed. Others plead for more love and attention. They want to regain a sense of connection, passion, and trust.

Your primary relationship is important

You have committed yourself to one person and have chosen to spend the rest of your lives together. This arrangement provides both of you with the security of having a loyal, loving partner that you can turn to for affection and support. A well-functioning marriage can provide a safe and secure 'home base' that nurtures and sustains you. When boredom, disconnection or hostility enters a marriage, the loss of companionship is profoundly painful. It often takes several years until a couple acknowledges the loss and attempts to do something about it. Typically, couples do not realize the extent of the damage until one or both can no longer ignore the pain.

We can help you restore the love you once had

Even if your marriage has been troubled for many years, either through neglect, infidelity, or feelings of being unappreciated, love is possible again. We will help you significantly improve your relationship so that home can, once again, be a safe haven.

An unhappy marriage can affect your health and lead to anxiety and depression. When there is bickering and fighting within a marriage, adrenaline and cortisol levels dramatically increase. These hormones are responsible for the fight-or-flight response. The more bickering and fighting in a marriage, the more harmful the effects of these emergency response hormones on your body.

If your relationship is in trouble, we can help you. Life is too short to spend it constantly fighting with the person you care for so deeply.

Imagine a loving marriage that nurtures

A good marriage can help keep you healthy. Studies show that loving, nurturing, and harmonious relationships are associated with faster recovery from injury and illness, longer life expectancy, and a decreased risk of depression and addictions. Loving feelings produce the anti-stress, anti-depression, and anti-anxiety hormone called oxytocin. When you feel connected with your spouse, the whole world looks better because your brain is literally bathed in this tranquility producing hormone. Learn valuable skills such as creative problem solving, communication techniques, the importance of expressing appreciation, and how to keep an argument from escalating.

We can help you achieve the relationship you've always wanted

Take the first step towards a better life with the person you love. Call now for a free initial phone consultation.

Relationship and Couples Counseling
800-497-9729

Does marriage counseling really help?

Marriage counseling can help couples regain a sense of understanding and intimacy. One of the goals of therapy is to bring about a deeper connection between partners. After years of fighting, misunderstandings, and normal stresses of adult responsibilities, couples end up drifting apart. In fact, drifting apart is the number one reason couples decide to end their relationship. Usually, couples who enter therapy have spent years living parallel lives. Relationships and activities outside the marriage have taken on more importance than the health of the marriage and the partners no longer share their thoughts and dreams with each other. Sometimes, because the pain of living without an intimate connection to another is too great, partners look outside their marriage for intimacy, believing that their partner no longer can fulfill their needs. The decision to look outside the relationship for intimacy can create a painful and chaotic situation and deepen the problems within the relationship.

Connection to others is a basic human need. Because we are born needing care from others in order to survive, we are hardwired to seek human connection. Establishing a secure connection with a parent gives a child the ability to explore their world, knowing that they have a safe place to come back to. This need continues into adulthood and marriage provides a replacement of that safe place experienced during childhood. If a marriage is affected by partners drifting apart, affairs, or intense conflict, the couple's attachment to each other is weakened and the marriage is in trouble.

Couples counseling can bring the focus back on the marriage and lead to a new level of understanding and connection. Through learning new communication skills, marriage counseling can create a secure marriage that is supportive and nurturing.

How will marriage counseling bring us closer?

It's all about empathy. Marriage counseling is very effective in teaching people how to communicate in a way that brings about deeper understanding. Learning and then using the skill of empathy with each other is the key to creating connection. Counseling is exceptionally helpful if both people in a relationship desire connection with each other but unresolved conflicts have made them feel farther apart.

Empathy is a very valuable skill to bring to a relationship. The skill involves being able to put yourself in another's place and understand and accept their world, (even if it is different from your own). It involves the ability to stand centered in your own perspective, while giving another's perspective equal consideration and validity. In the process, defenses are brought down, true and open communication is restored, and partners understandably feel closer.

Can couples counseling help if just one person wants to come to counseling?

Couples counseling can be effective even if one person learns the skills of good communication. A change in one partner can produce change in the other. So, if one person learns to communicate more effectively and give empathy to their partner, the whole relationship can shift into a closer, more meaningful connection.

We used to get along so well. Now we hardly talk to each other. Can marriage counseling bring us together again?

Marriage counseling can help build a couple's friendship. In the beginning of a relationship, people are motivated to be on their best behavior and act in a friendly and respectful way toward one another. They can't wait to see each other again so they can share themselves and feel accepted and loved. As time goes by, communication breaks down as conflicts increase. The way a couple resolves conflict will have a lot to do with how well they get along.

Remaining friends will keep a relationship healthy. Intimacy, the state of feeling emotionally close to another, is created when people speak to each other in caring and respectful ways. When conflicts deteriorate into criticism and defensiveness, couples can experience profound hurt at the loss friendship they had at the beginning of their relationship. They no longer have trust and they will stop confiding in each other. Their friendship is slowly being destroyed.

It is very important that couples make sincere attempts to communicate in respectful ways to one another. People feel most respected when someone listens to them with the intention to understand. It is especially important for partners to listen to each other's hurt feelings. This keeps the feelings of trust and intimacy alive. Otherwise, hurt feelings can linger and harden into bitterness while their love and intimacy diminish.

I feel so insecure in my relationship. My partner has had an affair and I can't get over it. I wish I could just let it go but I hurt too much. Will I ever feel good if I stay with my partner?

The most effective way of healing from an affair is to have your hurt feelings listened to and respected by your partner. It is also important to get the sense that your partner wants to commit to the relationship and change. If your partner just wants you to forget it, or wants to blame you for the affair, your bad feelings will be even more intense.

The damage of an affair on a couple's relationship can be devastating. The feelings of betrayal and guilt destroy the connection the couple enjoyed before the affair. The pain experienced by both partners is severe. The short-sighted choice of having an affair can make repair of the marriage difficult.

However, the crisis of an affair can also be the signal that a profound change is needed. An affair can pave the way to a new relationship that includes respect and intimacy. If both partners are committed to each other and to learning the communication skills that foster connection, a renewed focus on the relationship can begin and love can grow.

My partner isn't affectionate anymore and sex isn't as enjoyable as it used to be. Is there a way for us to regain the intimacy we once had?

Affection and sex are important to keep a marriage vital and the connection alive. The lack of physical affection can be very painful. Just as a couple's friendship can decrease over time because of conflict, so can physical intimacy. When couples engage in criticism and defensiveness, affectionate feelings are destroyed.

A woman's sexual feelings are especially affected by negative experiences in the relationship. If a woman feels discounted and neglected by her spouse, her sexual feelings can diminish. A woman's sexuality thrives when she feels listened to and understood.

Sometimes, sexless marriages can thrive. Because one or both partners have emotional or physical conditions that make sex difficult, the marriage has had to adapt to the lack of sex. These couples are at peace with their sexless relationship and they are able to enjoy the other positive qualities of their marriage.

In order for passion to remain in a long term relationship, partner's need to learn how to listen to each other on a deep level. A couple working on communication was astounded by the renewed interest they had in each other when they were able to truly listen to what the other was saying. The husband remarked, “I don't think I was ever able to really understand what my wife was saying until now. I thought I knew her, but I really didn't. I can't wait to go back home with this interesting woman I married!”

When my spouse criticizes me, I don't know how to stick up for myself besides yell and criticize back. How can we stop doing this over and over again?

Learning about personal boundaries is important. Boundaries set limits and expectations and tell your partner what is or is not acceptable. They are rules that govern acceptable behavior within the relationship. Functional boundaries are strong and flexible so that new information can be absorbed and new situations can be considered.

For example, a couple was having problems handling a well-intentioned but intrusive mother-in-law. The wife was upset with her husband's reliance on his mother's advice on child rearing. She felt their marital boundaries were being invaded and that their children's lives should be guided by them alone. The husband felt unable to stop his mother's intrusion and sometimes thought the guidance was helpful. After learning about functional boundaries, the wife was able to see that her strict policy of no influence from her mother-in-law was too rigid. The advice she gave was supportive some of the time and would be missed if completely cut-off. On the other hand, the husband saw that his boundaries were too weak with his mother and that he needed to learn how to have the power to stop unsolicited advice. He learned to communicate with his mother so that she understood and respected the times the husband and wife were open to her child-rearing guidance. As a result of working on this issue, the boundaries of the marriage were made stronger and more flexible, resulting in a marriage that was much happier and supportive.

When your personal boundaries are respected, trust builds and love grows. Learning to take care of yourself has a lot to do with determining your personal boundaries and sticking up for them in a firm and respectful way. If personal boundaries are not known, not communicated, and not respected, then tempers can be lost and hurtful things can be said.

When you learn how to take care of yourself without attacking or defending, your partner will respect you and love will thrive.

What are the most important things to do to create a happy marriage?

A happy marriage is one that supports and nurtures each of the partners. It takes skills to create real and lasting connection in a relationship.

The first thing to remember is “Do no harm”. That means always strive to communicate with your partner in a way that does not create bad feelings. If you begin a conversation about what is bothering you in a soft and kind way, then your partner will retain self-respect because they will not feel blamed or accused. Then, they will want to listen to your feelings and their motivation to make you happy will be maintained.

Another important factor in a good relationship is the partners' ability to accept each other's differences. When love and support are present in a marriage, fundamental differences such as early-riser vs. night-owl, party-lover vs. wallflower, or emotional thinker vs. logical thinker can be accommodated and even appreciated.

When couples have the sincere intention to respect and honor one another, then a marriage can be a safe and rewarding refuge. It can be the home base that provides strength to each person so that they can explore their world and succeed in it.

Can you tell me something to do right away that will help my marriage?

One of the things that is so important for people in a relationship to understand is that you can break the cycle of negative interactions by taking care of yourself when your spouse verbally attacks you. Emotional flooding is a term used to describe what happens to a person when he is overwhelmed by intense, negative feelings. Emotional flooding is very common for people who feel criticized or blamed. The more heated the exchange, and the more helpless the attacked person feels, the more likely that person will tip into becoming emotionally flooded. When that happens, the person is unable to control his feelings and they can say very hurtful things in an attempt to defend themselves.

If you are in an argument with your partner and the fighting starts to get more intense, take a 10 minute break. Say to your partner, "I don't like the way this fight is going. I'm feeling really bad about the things you are saying and I need to take a break. I'm going on a 10 minute walk and I want to try again to talk when I get back." If you try again, but the fighting resumes, say, "I need to take a break again. I'll be back in 15 minutes." If, after the 15 minute time-out, the negativity is still intense, take a half-hour break and so on until the issue is resolved peacefully or you both feel calm and agree to try to talk at a later time.

One of the healthiest things partners can do for their happiness within the marriage is to take the focus off of the other and onto themselves. When people in a troubled relationship stop blaming the other for their unhappiness and instead look to see how they have created difficulty for themselves and their partner, then real and lasting positive change can happen. I help people take the focus off trying to change their partner and onto changing themselves.

 


 

News

"Listen now to learn how we work with couples and what you may expect from a session at the Cinnaminson, NJ counseling center."




This interview was created by

Pathways to Health
with host Bill Simpson at
WJJZ 106.1 FM

topic of discussion:

Relationship Counseling
(10 min. 44 sec.)

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5 Surrey Lane, Cinnaminson, NJ 08077

800-497-9729

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