For a couple mourning the loss of a child, marriage counseling can be a lifeline. Grief is already complicated on an individual level. It becomes even more so when shared by two people whose lives were defined, to a large extent, by a child who is now deceased.
Each partner will grieve in their own way and at their own pace while trying to support a grieving partner. They will have to deal with the day-to-day changes that come with the loss of a child. Each partner will have to make peace with a redefined sense of reality and self forced upon them by bereavement.
Through all this change, the couple has to keep living day-to-day lives. They have to work, take care of children and do most of the same things as when the child was alive. A couple also has to keep the marriage afloat despite the onslaught of emotions that come with grief. Marriage counseling is a useful tool that helps the couple keep their heads, and their relationship, above water.
Common challenges that grieving couples face and how marriage counseling helps
Something breaks when a child dies. A couple has to live in a new reality that redefines who they are as individuals and also redefines daily routines. Every person grieves differently. One partner could be open and demonstrative with grief. The other could grieve privately and put up a stoic front around the partner and other people.
One partner could cycle through different emotions several times a day and display different moods in a short span of time. The other partner might withdraw deeper within and become emotionally distant. Also, every individual will grieve at one's own pace, meaning that one person may seem to ‘recover’ faster than the other.
One grief, different grieving processes: Bridging the gap
This means that there often can be some dissonance in the relationship. Each partner may have to deal with the changed personality of the spouse, as well as themselves. All these things can cause strain in a marriage as two people look to each other to soothe a profound ache that can never really go away.
A huge part of marriage counseling is to help the couple self-evaluate from the outside looking in. This exercise forms a foundation for building understanding between the grieving parents.
What a marriage counselor can do for a grieving couple
Marriage counseling provides a safe space and guidance that can allows a couple to open up fully in a constructive way. A marriage counselor is trained to encourage each partner to share perceptions, anxieties and day-to-day experiences. This gives each individual an idea of what the other is feeling. Sometimes, a couple may discover shared experiences, thoughts and feelings, which will create a new bond.
The counselor can walk with the couple who are working through such feelings. Counseling can give the couple the tools to reconnect, communicate, navigate grief and rebuild the relationship.
Getting through grief with help
Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to help a couple face the aftermath of a deceased child. It may help if this perspective comes from a marriage counselor who can offer understanding, guidance and the tools needed to manage grief.
Do not allow a marriage to get stuck as both partners try to deal with the loss of a child without knowing how. A marriage counselor can walk with you on your journey to healing and acceptance.
Request an appointment here: http://flourishcounseling.com or call Flourish Executive Counseling & Coaching at (303) 455-3767 for an appointment in our Denver office.