Couples trying to work out problems often feel stuck. They get derailed by the pain sitting between them, and that pain just doesn’t seem to go away. It’s not they don’t want to get closer; the pain stymies them. If one or both carry around deep pain, how can the couple get around it and get together?
What Can Couples Stuck in Pain Do to Feel Better?
This is a situation people find themselves in, even when they are in counseling. It’s one thing to understand the pain, resolve the hurt, and move on, but sometimes it’s hard to even get to that first step. So how do you keep two people, who have something special between them, focused on the big picture?
I like to help couples see what’s good in their relationship. You can find: five things that work, five things that make you feel alive, five things that you know to be true, five things that keep you in the relationship because they are good. If you can find five things that are meaningful to you, chances are things can work out. It means you can see the big picture, so you’re likely willing to keep working on the relationship.
Visualize Your “Big Picture”
So what is the big picture?
It’s the vision of what your relationship looks like when you gaze at it through hopeful eyes. Make sure you add your other senses too. What does it feel like? Are you safe and full of love? What does it smell like? Is it full of fresh air and forest, or salt and sand from a beach? Where are you and your mate? What age are you and your partner? Maybe you want to write about this image. Perhaps you want to paint it or draw with pencils. How ever you may want to solidify your vision you should do so. This is your relationship. It can be any color you want. And your partner’s may be totally different.
Maybe that would be a good exercise too. Both of you create your image of your partnership and then share the visions with each other. You are both right. You are both creators of your happiness. See if there is agreement. See if there is connection. See if you like hers better, or his. Be open to the other’s ideas. Be grateful for their vision. Be appreciative that they see themselves with you.
Work Towards Your Goals Together to Move Forward
Agree to work toward your collective visions. Make a pact to walk the journey together. These steps are not designed to remove all barriers. Sometimes it takes focused effort to remove old hurts and resentment. Even so, in my experience, a couple can offset that by having a goal, a place to travel to together. That goal can help them grow a sense of “us:” us on the road together, us building something together, us against the world together.
A sense of “us”, not two people in conflict, not two people separated by resentment, but two people undivided and together.
Communicate in Ways That Help Your Romantic Future thrive
Learn more about how to communicate with your spouse by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It has conflict resolution strategies, tips for feeling heard, and suggestions on how to express your love and celebrate your relationship. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.