What everyone should know about relationships…..
The thing about providing couples counseling is that I continue to witness the same things over and over with relationships. I wish everyone could sit objectively and see their relationship through the eyes of a therapist.
So, I’m about to share with you the one thing I wish everyone knew about relationships. This is the one thing you can do to make your relationship better as well as counseling more successful.
Relationships are difficult and messy, but you already know that. Relationships are not perfect, and they take continued effort. Romantic relationships, relationships with friends, family and colleagues require work. When we let people get close to us, we’re taking a risk.
Individual’s show up to couples counseling hoping to fix their partner. The hope is that their partner will finally change and become the partner they want. Few people understand that each person needs to change for the relationship to work. So, coming to couples counseling so the counselor will fix your partner doesn’t work. Showing up to couples counseling to have a better understanding of your partner and what you can do to improve your relationship significantly improves the chance that counseling will be a success.
Relationships require empathy. This means you have to be able to understand your partner’s perspective and validate their emotions whether or not you agree with them. To understand your partner, you have to listen. Not just hearing their words but listening to their emotions and what they need.
Often times we don’t slow down enough to truly hear the other person and place ourselves in their shoes. We’re quick to explain our point of view and what we want. But, relationships require slowing down to listen, hear and understand your partner. It requires us to validate their emotions. By validating their emotions, we allow the person to feel heard, understood and safe. This is how we communicate that we accept them fully without judgement and provide them a sense of love and belonging.
So the one thing that everyone should know about relationships is that they require empathy. They require us to step outside of ourselves and meet the needs of another human being.
Sometimes people need help taking these steps and understanding how to be empathetic. This is where counseling can help. But, before you pick up the phone, please be willing to approach couples counseling with the goal of changing yourself to be a better partner.