How does marriage therapy help couples repair their relationship. To many people (men especially) relationship therapy seems like an insane idea. I mean surely couples could just talk themselves?
But research indicates that most couples wait an average of 6 years before seeking help.
So why is it so hard to stay connected?
The answer is simple biology – under stress our body reacts by draining blood from our brain and pumping it into our core to help us run faster or fight harder – it’s a DIY lobotomy.
Having an experienced coach helps you learn new behaviours and strategies under stress.
An expert relationship therapist has over 80% success in helping couples reduce their distress.
What this means is the sooner couples get help the faster they can move back into connection.
Once couples are connected again they are literally smarter and significantly more resourced to deal with life’s many challenges.
So how do you know if you need Relationship Counselling?
Are you struggling with:
- persistent anger
- frustrating communication that goes nowhere
- a lack of passion and intimacy
- feeling criticised or rejected
- no emotional intimacy
- feeling hopeless
These are all signs of relationships that are under stress like a knocking sound in a car – you don’t ignore it – you go see a mechanic.
Don’t know what your partner will say?
In most relationships there is one partner who tends to avoid emotional intimacy – the Avoider. Avoiders tend to fall in love with people who are avoid feeling alone – the Pursuer. If you are reading this you are probably the Pursuer.
Avoider’s often feel criticised and blamed in relationships and are often scared of therapy because they anticipate being told that the relationship problems are basically all their fault. Often this is what the Pursuers actually believe.
What this means is when getting marriage or relationship help is suggested, the Avoider feels shamed or criticised even if this is not the Pursuers intent.
To counteract that it often works to say something like this.
“Hey Babe can I talk to you for 5 minutes about something that is really important to me.” If they say they are busy, don’t complain simply ask them when a good time would be. If they say they don’t know – simply wait.
Then say something like, “Our relationship is really important to me and I think we used to be better together. Would you be willing as a favour to me to come try a session with a counsellor.”
This tends to work for a number of reasons
- Firstly the soft start up focuses on the end goal – Avoiders are all about the final outcome.
- Secondly asking a favour works well because Avoiders actually want and need to be connected and so knowing they are doing you a favour is motivating for them even when they don’t believe in therapy.
- Thirdly the idea of just trying one session reduces the commitment to a more manageable level – and once they experience therapy as a safe space they are typically very motivated to continue.