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Relationships and Therapy: Do Actions Speak Louder than Words?

Couples seek therapy to improve many dynamics in their relationship. They may want to develop better communication and parenting skills.

They may also seek to improve their sex life and make a better overall connection with each other through therapy.

Partners in a relationship are looking for a change to the way things have been going. Efforts to find a solution often fall short. This brings the couple to therapy with the hope of forging a new and improved relationship.

Couples therapy can be life changing with a clear direction and goal.


Every relationship is unique and so are the challenges and desired outcomes of change. Goals are set at the start of couples therapy with a treatment plan and direction.

Sometimes the couple shares similar or identical goals. In other instances, each person has different things that they want out of therapy.

Over the course of treatment goals can change and evolve – and that is okay. It is important to regularly discuss your goals to ensure therapy is focused on helping you get to where you want to be.


One of the challenges of couples therapy is how change is measured. For some, the felt sense of connection or being heard, respected, and understood is what they want.

For other people, the change they seek is behavioral; either the elimination of a problematic behavior or increasing a behavior that demonstrates love and care.

Often, people want a combination of the two. This begs the question: Do actions speak louder than words?

The answer is complex. Whether you seek words of affirmation or acts of kindness, one without the other tends to feel hollow. People who initially ask for a behavioral change, such as more acts of giving from their partner, will often complain that the actions and efforts are being done for selfish reasons or just to placate.

The actions alone feel empty. Along the same lines, when a partner increases his or her expression of feelings or desire to be a better partner, they are often met with the response that their actions don’t align with their words.

This paradox can be extremely frustrating for both partners. Sincere efforts can be misinterpreted or not land with the intended impact. Managing the gap between one person’s intent and the impact it has on the other person is important in relationships.

Ensuring that verbal, emotional, and behavioral expressions of love and care are aligned and present powerfully bridges this gap. It allows the couple to experience the close connections they seek. For most couples, a combination of actions and words are needed to create the lasting change they desire.


The Center for Intimacy, Connection and Change helps you establish the wellness, connected relationships and trust you deserve. To schedule a free consult, email or schedule a time with us by clicking here.

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