By: Cristina Trette
Marriage and Family Therapists are trained to bolster a client's sense of agency. We immerse in the art and science of holding space and asking important questions with the purpose of helping our clients improve their lives and relationships. We tend to carry deep acceptance no matter what it is that is being shared and steer clear of advice giving.
Although I am compassionately direct with clients, I am much more bold when I write! Below are five points that can help couples who have veered off course and want to get their relationship back on track.
Personal growth is not the same thing as relationship growth.
Individual personal growth work is vital. If you are a personal growth connoisseur (like I am) keep it up.
But if your marriage is in trouble, it is very important that you and your partner begin a process of relationship renewal together. This can happen in the form of couples therapy or a couples workshop.
Even couples with strong relationships will benefit from focusing on relationship growth. If going to therapy or a couples workshop is not something you want to do right now, you may want to consider attending a personal development seminar together. It can also be very valuable to read and discuss the same books. I recommend Dr. Sue Johnson's books, Love Sense or Hold me Tight.
One fool proof method to improving your marriage is to commit to a path that includes both relationship development and personal development.
Accepting yourself as you are is part of the process of change.
When a relationship is falling apart, it can be easy to sink into self criticism or even self loathing.
We all have behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that we would prefer to hide from our self and others. The trouble with denying these aspects of self, is that they get louder and bigger. Ignoring or bypassing will never ever work in the long run.
Learning to explore all aspects of self, including the flaws, is best done with the help of a therapist or facilitator. If this sounds interesting to you, check out the personal growth seminars that are facilitated by Your Infinite Life Training and Coaching Company. They offer weekend programs, held in various locations around the nation, that are centered on guiding participants to love themselves and others, shortcomings and all.
Try owning your own moves without blame.
This is challenging! When we run into relationship problems, blaming is a natural go to for many. Blame stops us from having to feeling uncomfortable feelings.
Some blame their partners, others blame ourselves. Neither works.
Simply put, blaming is a coping strategy. Although it makes sense why we blame, it will be hard on a relationship and it will make positive change tenuous.
What to do?
We can own our moves without blame. This means looking clearly at what is going wrong and seeing all the various ways and you and your partner contributed to the problem.
Self care is not an overused buzzword.
How many times have you heard that you have to put your oxygen mask on first?
How often do you drive your kids to endless practices and activities but barely have time to get to the gym or relax on the couch with a great book?
The structure of many modern families is way out of balance. Kids needs are at the top of the priority list, parents needs are at the bottom of the priority list. This is not healthy! Consider making some changes to your routine that will ensure you and your spouse fit in daily self care.
If you put everything into kids or work, you may lose your love relationship.
Mom puts everything into kids, the house, and work. Dad puts everything into work and kids. Mom and dad have little to no time or energy for each other. Seven years go by. One morning they wake up and realize they have not been intimate in years, don't feel an emotional connected or worry they have fallen out of love. Don't do this!
Instead, consider doing some of the following:
Do you have some bold statements about love and marriage that you can share? If so, I would love to hear from you in the comments box below.
Cristina Trette, MA, LMFT is a busy mother and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Her passion is centered on helping couples and parents create thriving relationships, families, and wellbeing.
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