Tag Archive for: do I need marriage counseling

domino

Domino Stacks in Relationships

Written by Rob Giltner, MAMFT

Have you noticed that you and your partner have arguments about the same thing over and over again? Or perhaps the subject matter in arguments gets changed to something in the past or unrelated to what caused the conflict in the first place? This may be a result of emotional dominos being stacked up within your relationship. 

Emotional dominos are under the surface conflicts that are unresolved.

Usually, these dominos are hidden and only surface during a conflict. Often dominos are related to events of inclusion, affection, and influence. For example, whenever your partner does or says something to you that makes you feel unloved, a small domino appears regardless if it was intentional or not. 

If we do not repair this domino, it grows into a larger one and likely breeds more dominos. These dominos then begin stacking up and leaning on each other, and small moments in your relationship can knock them over and cause conflict. 

One such small moment, for example, could be your partner not sitting next to you on the couch. This action knocks all those other dominos down and the event of not sitting on the couch turns into something more emotionally intense than originally warranted. 

The tricky part about dealing with dominos, besides them being hidden, is that we feel like we must solve the domino we are presented with now. In this case, it would be sitting next to each other on the couch.

Couples often make the mistake of trying to solve problems too quickly. Even if your partner just agrees to sit next to you on the couch forever, you are still left with the original domino of feeling unloved. In order to heal these past conflicts, your partner and you have to go through all of the dominos one by one to make sense of why they are there in the first place and then empathize with each one. 

A behavior of listening to understand rather than respond or solve is a great first step. Instead of responding defensively or by immediately problem-solving, we should ask our partners to “tell me more.” 

improve your marriage

How To Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It

marriageYes, you heard that correct! When I (Megan) lived in Austin, TX, I had the privilege to be mentored by author and relationship expert, Dr. Patricia Love. She encouraged me to think outside-the-box when working with couples which is what helps me be one of the “Three-Best Rated Marriage Counselors in Louisville.” You CAN improve any relationship without talking about it and that’s what I teach my clients and the other therapists at Louisville Mindfulness Center every day.

How you show up with others, invites them to show up that way with you. If you are acting as your “Best Adult Self” and setting appropriate boundaries and the other person you want a good (or, even decent) relationship with can’t meet you there, that gives you more information. With that more information, you can decide if being in that relationship works for you or at the very least how much time and energy you want to give to that relationship – especially if there is not a mutual exchange of energy…i.e. you’re doing all the work.

While I couldn’t find the video of Dr. Love on the Oprah show (yep, she’s done that!), I want you to see her YouTube page so you can watch her live!  And here are some other wonderful books Dr. Love has written as well…

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marriage counseling quiz

Do I Need Marriage Counseling Quiz

When is it time to get Marriage Therapy?

do I need marriage counseling quiz by louisville marriage therapist Megan Bayles Bartley

  1. Are you and your spouse stuck in a pattern of thinking, feeling, or behaving that aren’t working for one or both of you?
  2. Do you find there is a fair amount of criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and/or stonewalling that makes being around each other pretty unbearable?
  3. When there are arguments or mean things said, one or the both of you have a hard time taking responsibility of your words and actions or saying you’re sorry and being remorseful.
  4. Is there an issue or two that you have in your marriage that just keeps coming up over and over again?
  5. Your spouse says he/she won’t go to marriage therapy or doesn’t think your relationship needs it.

If you are experiencing one or more of these five situations, it is time to schedule an appointment with an certified marriage therapist.

Whether you come together as a couple or you come on your own, you will benefit from working through this difficult time. It won’t always feel great, but you likely begin to feel a relief that you have been wanting.