Couples therapy is successful for many couples. However, that doesn’t mean that I can fix your problems or change your partner. In order for couples counseling to work, both partners must be completely committed to it and be willing to practice the skills that they learn. One person can have great influence in the relationship, but in order to change the dynamic it generally takes two committed people.
The hardest part of couples therapy is accepting that in order for your relationship to change, you will need to improve your response to a problem (how to think about it and what you do about it). This is very difficult because it’s much easier to focus on why our partner should do the improving.
Your job is to commit to your individual growth. You can’t change your partner but you can influence each other. Becoming a better version of ourselves is the most efficient way to influence your partner and change your relationship.
Each partner is committed to owning their own s#*t. In relationships we will be triggered, and at times feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other unpleasant feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person. We need to examine these feelings because sometimes they come from our own faulty beliefs.
When bad feelings surface, that doesn’t always mean that something is terribly wrong in the relationship. Our job is to examine where those thoughts and feelings are coming from.
All feelings are welcomed, not judged condemned, or criticized. Relationships are about two subjective realities, not one objective truth. Can each person feel safe to be totally honest, and allow two truths to exist equally, without one dominating the other and being “right”.
Are you ready to explore and challenge some faulty assumptions, beliefs, and expectations about how our partner or our relationship “should” be? The more you believe your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you.
Trust is the foundational building block of relationships. You build trust by showing up everyday and doing what you say you will do – consistently.
You can learn a lot about yourself by understanding what annoys you and how you handle it.
Therapy isn’t only about creating the knowledge about yourself and the patterns of interaction between you. The real work comes in when you use this new knowledge to break ineffective patterns and develop better ones.
A relationship is a place to practice love. Love is a daily practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching our hearts to vulnerable territories.
Change takes time and a lot of practice.