a Couple's Place

Couples in Crisis

a Couple's Place

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Couples in a Relationship Crisis

A child screams as the parents marriage is in crisis.

Couples experiencing a crisis
in their relationship
suffer from a loss of connection.

Couples Therapy Mandala
Together we will make a treatment plan
designed to help you reach your goals.

When your marriage or relationship is in crisis you may not feel connected with one another even when you aren’t arguing. The friendship may feel flat or nonexistent, and discussions about differences may be polarized and extreme; that is if you are engaging with one another at all. If this sounds familiar and you are seeking therapy, one or both of you is seriously concerned about the state of your union (a good sign) or one or both of you want to break up.

Some common examples of crisis situations are:
A couple in crisis suffering from an extramarital affair.A couple in crisis suffering from an extramarital affair.

The Extramarital Affair:

An extramarital affair is considered by most partners to be a profound betrayal. In her book “Not Just Friends” Dr. Shirley Glass uses the metaphor of walls and windows to describe what happens when there is an affair. “In a love affair, the unfaithful partner has built a wall to shut out the marriage partner and opened a window to let in the affair partner. To re-establish a marriage that is intimate and trusting after an affair, the wall and window must be reconstructed to conform to the safety code and keep the structure of the marriage sound so that it can withstand the test of time.”

Sometimes affairs are physical and sometimes they are emotional. Both types are destructive. We help couples using Shirley Glass’s model by assisting them to repair the wall that protects their marriage, creating a strong boundary between them and the affair partner. This means ending the affair and agreeing to no more secrets. Using the structure of the Gottman Method, we’ll guide you to talk about the affair safely without doing further damage. Once we understand what happened with both partners in the know, we can begin to look at rebuilding the trust and foundation of the relationship. Affairs are serious, but they are not the main reason couples get divorced.

A couple in crisis as a partner suffers a tragedy.

The Tragedy:

A tragedy such as a death, loss of employment or home, serious illness or other catastrophic event is challenging even for the best of relationships. If your relationship has not been as strong as it could be, a life crisis will hit you even harder. Sometimes couples shut down in their grief or hold blame for one another for what happened. Sometimes they grieve in different ways and misread one another. For example, a husband who returns to work the day after a stillborn and a wife who is left in disbelief, mistakenly assuming that her husband does not care.

We handle trauma in our own individual ways and sometimes our ways clash, leaving us feeling alone and unsupported. We’ll help you talk to each other about what the traumatic event meant to you. We will establish some agreed upon ways that you can be there for one another and show support whether it be talking, or building some reliable rituals of connection. Facing a tragedy is never easy but facing it alone can feel devastating. Don’t let a traumatic event come between you. Couples counseling can help.

A couple in crisis as a partner suffers a tragedy.
A couple showing disengagement suffering in crisis and initiating divorce.A couple showing disengagement suffering in crisis and initiating divorce.

The Disengaged Marriage:

The disengaged couple is actually at the highest risk for divorce. In a study by The Divorce Mediation Project, 80% of men and women listed gradually growing apart, loosing a sense of closeness, and not feeling loved and appreciated as reasons for initiating divorce. So, while there are many paths to this place of feeling isolated and lonely, you are in serious danger; not because of what you are feeling, but rather because of what you are not feeling.

In Gottman Therapy, the lost connection is seen as resulting from the small but significant ways that couples have turned away or against one another over time. The task for both of you is to create a safer, more secure marital/partnered environment where you are willing again to take emotional risks. The structure of Gottman Couples Therapy makes this possible with the aim to help you create the emotional connection you both want and need.

Couples Therapy Mandala
Happiness is not a station you arrive at,
but a manner of traveling.
~ Margaret B. Runbeck

If your relationship fits any of the above scenarios, please act quickly to get an assessment and some guidance to help you consider all of your options. Let’s review together your complete relationship history to see what the whole picture looks like. If there is an affair, or anything else clouding the picture, let’s view it straight on and discuss the possibilities open to you. It’s not uncommon for couples to feel hopeless at this stage, but because it feels hopeless does not necessarily mean that it is hopeless. Many couples are able to get their marriage back on track.

Together we will make a treatment plan designed to help you reach your goals.