Your relationship with your partner is important and when things aren’t going well marriage counselling can play an important role in getting it back on track. Making that initial booking is a big first step. The next part is how you make use of your sessions. Like many things, what you get out is influenced by what you put in. This article will give you some ideas so that you can get the most out of your marriage counselling.
What is your goal for marriage counselling?
Having a goal for your counselling can help get your sessions off to a good start. Coming to your appointments with an open mind can be useful but do give some consideration to what you want to get from your therapy sessions. If you could wave a magic wand and have a great relationship, what would it include?
For example, would you like:
- Greater intimacy
- A better sex life
- More friendship with your spouse
- A happier family environment
- More fun
- Fewer fights
- Less tension
How do you react to each other?
An intimate relationship isn’t two people living independently of each other; it consists of two people reacting to each other in a never-ending series of reactions or counteractions. If you do something nice, your partner reacts in kind. If you do something that isn’t nice your partner will react accordingly.
One of the central tasks of couples counselling is to gain some understanding about how you react to each other so that you can choose effective responses rather than automatic reactions. Begin by asking yourself, “How do I react when things get difficult between us?” Try to hold this question in mind and even though the answer may not seem immediately clear, having some curiosity into your part in the dynamic will be helpful to your therapy and your relationship.
For example, when things get difficult with your partner do you:
- Try to look on the bright side and cheer everyone up?
- Question your partner until they admit to what is wrong?
- Tiptoe around and hope things will get better?
- Go and busy yourself somewhere else?
- Ignore the problem and hope it will go away?
- Blame your partner?
- Withdraw and try to figure it all out in your head?
Whether you avoid the problem, ignore it or engage with it, you do something; what do you do?
Communication is paramount
Unsurprisingly, the most common theme we help people with is communication. In order to address any problems in your relationship you need to be able to communicate well. However, good communication is not as easy as it sounds and involves more than just saying the right words. Give some thought to your personal style of communicating.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How do you think you communicate with your partner? Do you think you are a good talker, or a good listener? How do you react when you are misunderstood? Do you try to address disharmony or avoid it?
- How did your family communicate with each other when you were growing up? Who was in charge? Who talked more/less? How was conflict resolved? How was attention given? What was your role in your family? Can you see any patterns to how you were growing up and how you are now with your partner?
- What do you fear when you try to talk with your partner about sensitive issues? Do you fear upsetting them or making them angry? What stops you addressing an issue with your partner?
Hopefully the points raised here will help you prepare for your therapy and get the most out of your sessions. If you haven’t already booked an appointment contact us today.