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.
All of us in a relationship have felt unsure about how stable our relationship really is at one time or another. This is very common with people who join each other with love and sometimes feel that love change in some ways that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Many of us who make it through these unstable parts can look back and be glad we did. But for others who wonder if they will ever get past the uneven stages here is some advice.
No one knows whether your relationship will last. But one thing that does help is if one of the partners says to the other when things get rough, “Don’t worry baby, we will work this out.”
I read an expression recently. It said, “We fall in love with our heart, we fall out of love with our head.” When I think about this I know it makes a lot of sense.
I have this friend who is sad that her marriage is ending. She still loves her mate, and she is feeling what her love is creating from her heart. She thinks about the good things that they shared, before things got bad and drove them to divorce.
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.
Sometimes in relationships there is a mixture of two people who respond in opposite directions when there is a problem. Some of us try and fix the problem or point it out and want to talk about it right away. Others may have a tendency to shut down when there is difficulty.
There is no problem with how we are individually wired. The problems come when we couple because it is very common that, whatever our pattern, we will couple with someone who is the opposite.
And when the person we’re with goes in pulls in or pushes, in the opposite direction we want to go, we often get frustrated, annoyed and angry. It just goes with the territory. So, what can we do about it?
I had an interesting session recently. I had been working with this couple. I felt we had made progress, but the last session I wondered if we had. They were very mad or disappointed or cut off from the each other. But these feelings didn’t prevent them from telling the other what they felt.
It went back and forth and I ended up putting my head in my hands and wondering aloud if I was helping them at all. That’s when one of them got up and said, “It’s not helping, and I am going to leave.”