I’ve been married for more than twenty years now. Sometimes people ask me what the secret to success is, and I tell them that friendship is always more important than love in marriages. Famous philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said that “it is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” Figuring this out takes time. Even if you have found your best friend, life changes us and people may be light years different than they were just five years ago. Keeping that relationship strong through the changes of life requires constant, honest communication. Staying close through hard times takes a renewed commitment every day. Sometimes, life can get extremely hectic, and subtle ticks in a relationship can turn into huge problems over the course of a few months. You may not know how to communicate without hurting your partner. You might feel like you don’t know how to be intimate anymore. Thankfully, there are people like Kathleen Snyder who counsel married couples through these hard times. There’s no shame at all in seeing a marriage counselor. My wife and I have considered seeing one several times. Making an effort to see a counselor doesn’t mean your marriage is weak. It means that you care about the relationship, and want to make it stronger.
Therapy usually ends up happening in two main parts. The first part is conflict resolution. If you feel like your relationship with your partner isn’t going well, there are likely some conflicts at play. A counselor seeks to find these conflicts if they’re subtle. A counselor will also create clear boundaries on how the conflict should be addressed. They can help partners vocalize and communicate as to how the conflict can be resolved in a way that works for everyone.
Once the major conflicts in a relationship have been resolved, a counselor can work to help rebuild the friendship that is so crucial between partners. A counselor uses their creativity here to come up with ways to enjoy new experiences together, and rebuild that lasting bond that fosters intimacy.
A lot of the fights that occur between marriage partners are normal. It’s very typical to disagree about certain things within a marriage. Disagreement can be healthy and constructive. It’s usually the way we express ourselves that cause feelings of loneliness to sprout.
Marriage counselors like Kathleen Snyder are great for any couple that is looking to move past feelings of isolation in a marriage. They do important work that can revitalize marriages that might otherwise fail. Marriage counselors aren’t miracle workers, however. If one partner is not interested in rebuilding the relationship, most counselors will be unable to help. Counselors are only of help when partners are willing to try new things and experiment in order to heal. Counselors are also unable to help those involved in violent relationships on part of one partner or both. Relationships cannot heal if the conflict at home escalates into violent behavior. Anger management is the first step to recovery in situations such as these.