Couples Therapy…some thoughts

Identifying what to do and how to do it is often easy to identify.  The bigger challenge is why you don’t do it.

How to think differently about a problem is often more effective than just trying to figure out what action to take.

Your partner is limited in his/her ability to respond to you.  You are limited in your ability to respond to your partner.  Accepting this is a huge step.

The definite possibility exists that you have some flawed assumptions about your partner and your partner has some flawed assumptions about you.  The problem is we don’t want to believe our assumptions are flawed.

Couples therapy works best if you have more goals for yourself than for your partner.

It is human nature to try and change one’s partner instead of adjusting our expectations.  The aspect of human nature is what keeps therapist in business.

The hardest part of couple’s therapy is accepting that you will need to improve your response to a problem.  Very few people want to focus on improving their response.  It is more common to build a strong case for why the other person should do the improving.

You cannot change your partner.  Your partner cannot change you.  You can influence each other, but that does not mean that you can change each other.  Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to change a relationship.

It is easy to be considerate and loving when vistas are magnificent, the sun is shining and breezes are gentle.  But when you are cold, hungry and tired and your partner is whining and sniveling about how you got them into this mess, that is when you are tested.  That is when you can either blame your partner or try to be the person you want to be or that the relationship needs you to be.

The more that you believe that your partner should be different, the less initiative you will take to change the patterns between you.

You create trust by doing what you say that you will do.

It is impossible to be in a highly inter-dependent relationship without ever being judgmental or being judged.

If you strive to always feel emotionally safe in your relationship, you, your partner and the relationship will become dull.

Most of the ineffective things that we do in relationships fall into just a few categories: blame, withdraw, compliance, resentfulness, whining or denying.  These are normal emotional reactions to feeling threat or high stress.  Improving your relationship means better management of these reactions.

More later…

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