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If you are in a long-term relationship, whether you’re dating, co-habitating or married, you know that relationships present a number of challenges and rewards. You face communication and conflict issues, emotional, mental, sexual, social, parenting, and relational pressures on a regular basis. Couples can really benefit from having a third person to help process your different problems to help you build a stronger and healthier relationship.
When you first met your spouse, everything was exciting and new. You talked all the time. You never argued, and seemed to fit together so well. Now that you have been together for a while you seem to have slipped into a rut, and you might be wondering if they are still the person that you want to be with.
If it seems like you keep fighting about the same thing over and over, take heart. The Gottman Institute states that 69% of our relationship problems are perpetual. So while this means that you will be dealing with the same types of issues for most of your life, it can help to learn how to deal with this issue so that you can maintain your friendship, connection and relationship, as opposed to trying to make it go away.
Frequent Struggles that Couples Face
Communication and conflict. A lot of people were not taught how to fight fair as they were growing up. Were you one of these? You find yourself in a relationship where it seems impossible to get over that “one thing”, or asking your partner to take out the garbage turns into something so much bigger. EVERY TIME
Family relationships. You’ve probably heard the saying “you don’t just marry your spouse, you marry their family too”. And now you know what that means. If one of your family members isn’t affecting your marriage by being who they are, then the upbringing of you or your partner is. This is frustrating and you aren’t sure how to resolve some of these issues.
Affair recovery. You swore this wouldn’t happen to you. When you began your relationship you made it clear to each other that cheating was not an option. But you grew apart. Or someone from a past relationship showed up at a time when you were experiencing a lot of conflict in your committed relationship. Or maybe you weren’t sure if you loved your partner any more. Either way, you now have to navigate the pain that was caused and experienced in your relationship. Maybe you need to have someone help you decide if your marriage is worth saving or if it’s better to end it. Or you are both really committed to healing from this pain and making your relationship the strongest it’s ever been.
Parenting. Becoming a parent changes relationships in positive and challenging ways. As you navigate this period of time, it can bring about insecurities about yourself or your relationship. Having a teenager in the house brings up a new round of challenges, requiring you both to be on the same page and navigate the questions that are being raised. Then as your children leave you with an empty nest, there are different challenges – trying to figure out how you parent young adults, or if you like the person sleeping beside you any more.
(Ir)reconcilable Differences. You’ve been married for over 10, 20, 30+ years and now one or both of you are very different from whom each other married in the beginning. Change is normal; we grow and develop over our lifespan and as significant events impact us. Perhaps you’re wondering if you and your spouse can still connect, even though you’ve changed as people, or perhaps you’re considering separation.
Balance. Today, more than ever, couples are feeling strapped for time and finances. It is hard to just “get by”. Between paying the mortgage and the bills, driving all around the lower mainland to drop off and pick up the kids for extracurriculars, the emergency trip to the vet, and keeping the house clean for when your mother-in-law drops by unexpectedly, your relationship and being intentional in connecting emotionally and intimately with one another can fall to the wayside.
Couples counselling can help
As you navigate the different stages and phases of your relationship it can help to have a third person walk alongside you. Marriage counsellors are trained to help in the following areas:
· Communication skills
· Affair recovery
· Bolstering your healthy relationship
· Premarital counselling
· Conflict resolution
· Problem solving
· Navigating family stressors
Our relationship counsellors at Vitality Collective have taken specialized training either through the Gottman Institute or Emotionally Focused Couples Training. These methods have been proven by research to be effective in helping couples like you gain new skills to help build your relationship and renew your connection with each other.