Couples Counselling recognises the importance of early intervention when it comes to sorting out relationship difficulties, especially when they may be affecting others besides ourselves, such as our children. Disagreements between partners are rarely the problem. The problem is the inability to talk about our different viewpoints without turning that difference into a heated argument, or a cold, silent stand-off. There are strategies and attitudes that anyone can easily learn though, which can help us reduce conflict, better understand both ourselves, and our partner, and repair and strengthen the emotional bond of our relationship. Admittedly, they may not always be easy to put into practice.
Step number one is learning to listen. Not only to our partner’s words, but to how they are feeling as they speak. We need to imagine ourselves in our partner’s position. What might it feel like for them right now? What feelings do they seem to be expressing? We can only do this when we suspend our judgment about our partner’s argument. We do not need to agree with what they are saying or feeling; that is not our task, right now. Our task is to simply understand. Difficult? You better believe it! Worth the effort? If a meaningful relationship is important; absolutely!
Furthermore, we need to learn to listen to ourselves. It may not come as a surprise that this happens even less frequently than listening to others. However it’s equally as important as learning to listen to another. Giving ourselves time to listen to what we are feeling will insure that when we speak, our words will ring of emotional truth, rather than sounding like we are talking only to win an argument. It makes conflict less likely.
If couples counselling sounds like something you and your partner would like to explore further, I invite you to contact me with any questions you have, or make an appointment and begin your journey toward a deeper and richer relationship.