Marriage Psychology & Counseling: Managing Incompatibility in a Relationship

counseling for incompatible relationship

Experiencing ups and downs in your relationship is natural. Your partner feeling insecure because you have been too busy at work or going berserk because you forgot to make it to a date on time are common problems that can be worked through. However, if you’re in an incompatible relationship, you’re looking at issues that are way bigger than those previously mentioned. In fact, incompatibility is in a completely different ballpark.

What Is Incompatibility In A Relationship? 

Incompatibility goes beyond constant arguments, temper tantrums, blame shifting or giving each other the silent treatment. Incompatibility refers to a wide range of deep-seated issues that if left unresolved, may lead to a host negative behaviors. For example, intimate partners who have vastly different opinions about major relationship concerns such as having children, sexuality, or goals for the future may be in an incompatible relationshipA telltale sign of incompatibility is the constant strain and energy needed to keep the relationship together.

Can Incompatible Relationships Work? 

Being in an incompatible relationship isn’t easy. But if both partners are willing to work together to make things better, the relationship can come out stronger than ever. Remember, it’s impossible for two people to agree on all of the same things. However, when seemingly minor issues make one or both partners feel very hurt, it may indicate a major underlying problem.

Consider Richard and Nina.

Richard wants to paint the accent wall of the master bedroom navy blue because he believes the color is soothing and helps him to focus. However, Nina thinks navy blue is a completely repulsive color and is not willing to compromise. Do you think the couple should break up because they prefer different colors for the master bedroom? Unlikely. Yet Richard may honestly feel as if he already has one foot out the door. 

How To Deal With Incompatibility In A Relationship

Let’s go back to Richard and Nina. While it is true that they have different opinions on color, that’s only the surface problem. The major underlying issue may be Nina’s unwillingness to compromise. If Richard is the partner who usually compromises and sacrifices to make the relationship work, he may be taken aback that Nina is unwilling to do the same even when the issue at hand is so minor. Nina’s stubbornness may be a huge turn off, and she may not even be aware of the issue if Richard chooses to keep his feelings to himself.

How Relationship or Marriage Counseling Can Help

Getting the opinion of a neutral third person, especially someone who is trained in resolving relationship issues, may bring tremendous growth and happiness to the relationship. Marriage counseling is especially beneficial when partners are unable to see their relationship challenges from other perspectives, unaware of the underlying issues, or unable to communicate their concerns effectively.

Marriage counseling can help marriage mates to improve their communication skills so they can express themselves freely and honestly, learn about the issues affecting their partner, and resolve long-standing problems. In Richard and Nina’s case, Richard can learn how to share his feelings with Nina, and Nina can become more aware of how deeply hurt Richard is by her unwillingness to compromise.  A marriage counselor could also help Richard and Nina to better understand each other, which can lead to fewer issues and increased intimacy. But before this type of progress can be made, the couple must admit that there are issues in the relationship and must be willing to seek professional help.

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