This work is not always about a romantic relationship, although this is the most common. Relationships of all kinds can struggle from time to time or there maybe something challenging you want to discuss with someone, yet struggle as communication is poor between the two of you.
Sometimes it can be helpful to have a facilitator or mediator to support with this, but when might you need this help? Below are some common things we may notice or feel within our relationship that could suggest it is problematic.
Is my relationship struggling
- Communication is minimal and often negative.
- Differences are criticised, rather than enjoyed.
- You are spending less time together.
- One partner indicates the relationship is in trouble.
- One partner is rarely prepared to listen.
- Conflict leads to resentment, not resolution.
Alarmingly up to 42% of British marriages end in divorce. Often, this starts with a lack of communication and we don’t always realise this until the bigger cracks start to show or worse… when it’s too late. The 3 most common grounds for divorce are:
- Unreasonable behaviour
- Breakdown of relationship
What do we mean by breakdown of the relationship? It refers to the common process whereby the relationship between a couple erodes, such that they cannot ordinarily restore their relationship.
There are many stages to the process, and each individual goes through the stages at different rates. So this could suggest that either a lack of or unhealthy styles of communication have developed somewhere along this journey, causing the start of the breakdown. Sadly, these can lead on to the other two most common on the list above. This is not to suggest that you cannot work through and get past any of the issues from the list, however we sometimes need to step back a little to understand how we move forward – and talking openly and honestly in a healthy manner is a vital step in achieving this.
Here are some ways we can communicate better
- Ask open-ended questions
- Pick up on non-verbal cues
- Don try to read their mind
- Remember that conversations are a two-way street
- Set aside time to talk
- Tell them what you need from them
Some benefits to talking more
- It can stop fights from escalating
- Prevent “resentment” that couples therapists often hear about in their office
- It helps your partner feel empathy
- Helps you bond and understand each other more
- Create a deep and meaningful connection with your partner
Counselling can help by supporting you both to listen more effectively to each other, to perhaps look at what you feel has bought you to this situation and work out ways to get through it. It is a very personal thing to do and people can feel more brave to talk about things in the therapy room than they do at home.
During your couples therapy, we may look at ways to reconnect with each other and how to compromise to re-balance the relationship. We encourage honesty and respect with one another, but we can’t work miracles… sorry, we work with you but cant do the work for you!
It’s not about “getting back” to a time or feeling you had, as we can never undo what has happened. However, what we can do during your therapy sessions is work on moving forward emotionally in a healthy and conductive way.
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