What advice do I give to all my couples who see me for relationship problems?
Lately I have been reviewing all my recent couples counselling sessions in an attempt to distil the main ideas I introduce to almost all couples in our first few sessions together.
The following have come to mind:
- Blaming your partner for the problems in your relationship will get you nowhere! It is extremely common for unhappy couples to blame each other for the demise of their relationship. However, this dynamic only serves to deepen the rifts between the partners. It is essential to take personal responsibility for your contribution to the problems that exist. This is an essential first step to relationship improvement.
- Listen to your partner in order to really hear what he/she has to say. Defensiveness will only perpetuate your relationship problems.
- Avoid attacking your partner’s personality. Focus on behaviour not personal attributes. Treat your partner with respect at all times.
- Avoid using absolutes when arguing such as “you always” or “you never”. This will only escalate arguments and emotions.
- Don’t nag. Rather mention to your partner what behaviours you would like or would prefer rather than harping on and criticizing.
- Mention every day to your partner what you appreciate about them. Look for their strengths and not their faults.
If you and your partner manage to start to implementing all the above points, your relationship should go from strength to strength in no time!