I was talking to a potential client for couples counseling when she asked me if I would be giving her a prescription to follow in order to get better.
I was stunned for a moment and I think in all my years of counseling I have never been asked this. But I do know there is absolutely no way to understand a couple without meeting them, and I don’t have any idea what would be helpful for them, because there is no one size fits all plan for couples.
Our childhood patterns are important to us when we are young. They keep us safe and help us survive. We often often bring those childhood patterns with us into adulthood, and because we can’t seem to change them, we sometimes let them stand between us and the love we experience in an adult relationship.
You may have experienced this in your own relationship. If you get your feelings hurt and your first response is for you to leave and just remove yourself from the pain, then you are reinforcing a childhood pattern that you have used in your past to defend against being hurt.
Many of us, when we find our special person, go all in. I know I have done this, maybe you have done this too. Going all in means that we love with our entire being. We have found the “right” one and we are blissfully happy.
This is how all relationships start. However, as anyone who has been with their mate for a while knows, that blissfully happy place doesn’t last. No, it doesn’t.
But if we are determined to build a life with the one we love, then we must learn new skills of how to love and be loved better. And these skills include understanding how we get hurt and how we heal.
All of us are connected to our special person in our own way. And it is usually pretty great for those of us who are in a relationship with another person. But on occasion I am wondering if you ever feel that you are talking to someone who is from another planet?
I know sometimes I am talking to my mate and he is looking at me as if I have two heads. I feel he is just not following what I am talking about even though I am speaking in the language that I know how to speak.
There is nothing wrong with either of us. There is nothing wrong with the way that I speak, nor is there anything wrong with the way he listens. It’s just that we have different approaches to the world.
Many of us get mad when our feelings get hurt. This is a very common human feature. A lot of us are wired to express our pain by getting upset, and that’s what we do.
But when we are in a relationship, the anger and the upset can be a problem for our mate. They might take it personally or they might try and fix us, but whatever they try to do to help us usually doesn’t work.
To love is to misunderstand. No matter how much we love our partners, we still won’t always understand them. In fact, most people in relationships spend lots of time trying to understand each other. And there are reasons for that.
When we couple, we are often completely taken with the person who is right for us. They give us a feeling of knowing each other in a way that is so inviting. It might even feel as if we have finally come home.
This is the most beautiful feeling ever. But after a while we start to see that our perfect mate does not understand us as much as we thought. Then the challenges begin. We might even get mad at our mate because they don’t get us the way we thought they did.
Communicating feelings in a relationship can be hard. Clients sometimes ask, “I tell him how I feel! Why doesn’t it work?” Let’s look at some differences in how we communicate and the best way we can reach each other.
Some of us are very good at speaking what is happening to us when our feelings get hurt. I know I grew up that way, always saying what I needed to say and hoping someone would listen and help.
This is probably a lifelong habit that many of us are very used to. But some of us in this world are not talkers. Maybe you are partnered with one. I am. He is great at a lot of things, but he doesn’t need to talk about what is happening to his insides. I do.
All of us in this world have basic kindness, compassion and insight. These are human traits that we all have inside of us. Sometimes, though, when there is a fight between partners, we forget our goodness and make our mates the enemies or tell ourselves we are at fault.
This always creates hardship in a relationship between two people. We all couple with the one we love so we can have a good life. We are always drawn to the person who makes us feel alive and at home in a good way.
All of us expect things to go right in our lives. This is definitely the way humans are wired. We play out our expectations almost minute by minute. We select the food we want to eat and expect it to taste the way we remember. If it doesn’t then we might get upset or disappointed.
Well, we play out this system of expecting things in our relationships too. We simply expect to be happy with the person we love. Isn’t that the way the fairy tail ends? Living happily ever after? Only real life is not a fairy tale, and what we expect is not always what we get.
Letting go of resentment in marriage and other relationships is a complicated process. It is not like having a new thought which magically negates the resentment. No, it takes understanding of what is going on, and it takes work to ease out of it.
And all of us have felt or used resentment at some time or another. And that’s because resentment can happen to us so easily. When we get our feelings hurt, especially by the person we love, we get really wounded.
If we are not able to let our pain out and get healed, well then we put a wall around our heart and protect it so we won’t get hurt again. This starts out to be just a slight cover over the pain, but if we continue to get hurt without healing then we build up a thick concrete wall between our heart and the one we love.