• Celeste Ballard, LCPC, LMT

The Biggest Mistake That Couples Make...

I have been helping couples for over 20 years and I feel moved to encourage people to wake up to the realities of their relationships before too much damage is done. Relationships are complex and require work to make them deep, loving, and lasting. There are many things to work on and a lot of reasons why relationships fail, but the biggest reason for trouble is waiting too long to get help.

Why do we wait? Most people wait because there is a belief that if I acknowledge a problem, then there is a problem. If I pretend there isn't one and try to smooth things over, then we will be ok, but that never works. All relationships need help because it is with the most important person in our lives, and that makes it a vulnerable place to be. Most relationships are not chosen from a very conscious place as emotions and hormones run high in the first year and it drowns out our site and our real feelings. As the love is supposed to deepen, we become attached or afraid to be alone again and we don't want to rock the boat by sharing where we are. We come to a place where family projections get in the way and then we start to demand that the other person is a way we need, versus taking care to meet our own needs. Years go by of bumps and misunderstandings and when it really gets bad or could end, we go to therapy. At this point there are still plenty of changes that could help, but people are so mad and the patterns are so ingrained that there is a lot more work to do.

Think of therapy like a vitamin or eating healthy, if you do it regularly, you will not get sick and your body will feel better and last longer. Couples counseling is the same. A therapist with extensive training that has also continued to work on themselves can see your blind spots and create a comfortable environment where you can look at them safely. Mindfulness is a key component to the work that is often left out of traditional therapies. If you just talk about it, you are often just repeating the defenses that you already live by, but if you learn to go into your feelings, you will know what you and your loved one really needs and be able to act on it. Don't settle for less love and connection than you could have in your relationship. Don't let your children grow up seeing the marriage get more and more strained, because it is very stressful for them, even if they don't express it. Taking care of yourself before there is a major problem, allows life to be happier and more peaceful because things are being taken care of and you can focus on what is important to you.


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