How often do you have a relationship tune-up to make sure it’s healthy? What about repairing or healing emotional injuries? We take our car in for a regular service to keep it running smoothly so it does not breakdown. What about the most important relationship in your life? Marriage counselling is about maintaining your relationship and keeping you connected.
“Here we are again, arguing about the same issues. When will you listen to what I’m saying? You never understand my point of view. I can’t do this anymore. If you’re not going to change we may as well end this now.”
Learn to speak your partner’s love language I often hear couples say that even though they try to show their partners they care for them, they are often frustrated when accused of not making enough effort. It seems that their way of showing love is either unappreciated or unrecognized by their partner. It is almost like trying to speak with each other in another language. At times, couples stop trying and end up disconnecting from each other. So you could be trying very hard but your kindness and caring may be missing the mark. According to Chapman (2002), most of us have one primary language in which we express our affection or approval to other people. The love language is also the language we long to […]
Negative communication can be destructive to relationships. Conflicts escalate not because of the issue at hand, but rather because of the way couples talk to each other. At times, we end up fighting over what is being said or how things are said and the initial problem does not get resolved. John Gottman, a well-known relationship researcher, author and clinician calls these kinds of negativity the “Four horsemen of the Apocalypse” because they are so harmful to a relationship. According to Gottman, arguments do not predict relationship breakup but the way you argue does. The four negative interactions are: criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling (withdrawing). The following is taken from Gottman and Silver’s book “The seven principles for making marriage work” (2000). Criticism You will always […]
Time-Out Using a “time-out”, just as a sports coach would – signalling a “T” with their hands and taking time out of the game to re-think and re-structure a game plan – can be an effective communication strategy to manage couple’s escalating communications. The 6 steps to taking a “time-out” 1. Recognise that you are experiencing an internal build-up of intense emotion (i.e., anger). Pay attention to the physical indicators your body is sending you. 2. Say to the person you are dealing with “I am beginning to feel………………….” and “I need to take some time-out. I’ll be back to talk about this when I have calmed down”. If you find your level of anger is beyond being able to communicate this message effectively, simply signal time-out with […]
Suggested communication “ground rules” for handling issues within your relationship: 1. When we are having trouble communicating, we will use the Speaker-Listener Technique (see my blog post “Speaker-Listener Technique” from last week). 2. When conflict is escalating, we will call a “time-out” or “pause” and either (1) try talking again using the Speaker-Listener Technique, or (2) agree to talk about the issue later, at a specified time, using the Speaker-Listener Technique. (For more information on using “time-out”, see my blog post next week). 3. We will completely separate Problem Discussion from Problem Solution. 4. We can bring up issues at any time, but the Listener can say, “this is not a good time”. If the Listener does not want to talk at that time, he or she can suggest […]