Therapy is hard. From the realization that our relationship is in trouble to talking with a perfect stranger about our hardest issues, the process bodes well for avoidance and unease. Once settled in and a connection is made with your therapist, however, the experience can be transformative.
For couples who have navigated the process through to the other side, it always interests me to know what their biggest challenges were, what was their most critical ah-ha moment, and what does this all mean for their long-term relationship satisfaction?
What would these couples tell other couples just starting out? What would they want you to know in order for you to find peace in your relationship? Well…I recently asked a couple (and got permission to share it with you) to write down just that. Here is what they said!
- It’s not bull*%#@. It actually works.
- You don’t see results immediately.
- Some things will seem a little hippy-dippy. Just go with it.
- You might get really sad or angry during the process and be tempted to blame the process.
- Your ego is your worst enemy. You might be at a spot where you are feeling like a better person than your partner. You will need to get past this.
- Everything is a skill. You can get better at how you and your partner work together with practice.
The most important thing is both partners’ willingness to spend time and emotional energy on the relationship. Sometimes you have to go against your instinct -admit you contributed to a problem first before blaming. Don’t be afraid to “pull out the sheet” (This is a cheat sheet of skills I gave them to hang on the fridge. Incidentally, they had one in the bathroom, in her purse, and in the car, too!) If you both put in work from a place of effort and love, you really should see progress. My partner is much more accommodating of my feelings, thoughtful, open, and trusting than he was. I have learned ways to limit stress and communicate better that have helped in my relationship and all aspects of my life. We are very happy and going through a second honeymoon phase. This could be you if you keep working at your relationship and trust the therapy process. Hang in there!
It is possible!