Relationships are like fine wines; the taste and consistency will not happen overnight. However, the steadiness, texture, and palatable is borne out of care, understanding, patience, and desire. In my couples, therapy work…I find the “crystal ball” effect being quite prevalent, in fact, it’s so prevalent that when mentioned individuals appear bewildered. Partners expect the other to know what is on their mind…often the other partner is without a clue as to the thought or the problem. You might hear something like remember “I told you there is a problem,” or “I expected for you to fix this.” If you noticed, the content of the problem failed to come forth, leaving the accused wondering “what problem.” However, these are signs indicating that there is a problem.
When that sign shows up in your relationship, not allowing it to become larger than necessary by bringing it to your partners’ attention is a must. Ways of doing that include addressing the concern by using “I” statements or “when you say _________ it makes me feel,” forgoing accusations (AKA garbage dumping) as well as the poor me syndrome…” look at what you are doing to me?” Is often heard between couples.
Instead the traits, of respect, caring, trust, and understanding giving the partner an opportunity to reveal or vent their frustrations with just a listening ear. To Prevent the “garbage dumping” or “backpack syndrome”, which means not piling every little frustration or problem that you ever had during the last six months. Back on your partner just because you can only further push the two of you apart.
Another gray area is a failure to remain individuals within a coupled relationship. At first, when people get together all their time is spent together, you may give up friends or even family to be with your partner. However, there will be grumbles, smugness, and anger when that time arrives (as it surely will), that the partners’ feel stifled and soon the blame game and pointing fingers start. It is essential for couples to have social time with others, without having their spouse become jealous, mean, for angry. Maybe it’s a girls’ night out or poker with the guys or a round of golf. Having space and time to mingle with friends and family is important.
When one partner is blaming or dominates the behavior of the other partner to the point of frustration, and pushes the comfort zone out of reach. The relationship will suffer and the close intimacy that you once had will disappear. I iterate to my couples when this negative behavior pops up counseling room that it’s only a destructive force pushing the couple apart. The safety the couple is seeking is gone. I ultimately bring to their attention that each party is an adult with their own decision-making abilities and privileges’. The blaming party restating their concerns over and over again is unproductive and unhelpful. Let us remember that you can only discover and repair your individual problems. Then again, why take on the added stress of directing an adult, finding solutions to their problems, and worst implement your decisions into your partners’ life. As a partner your job to support your partner and support them in their desires and dreams. Not to become them or dictate behavior.
Becoming a couple is not taking over their life, or their decisions. We should not want a puppet as a partner. In the end, the relationship will yield ripe fruits for creating the savory of wines (and in your case a pleasant positive relationship).
My counseling platform, based on the belief that there are healthy options in addressing relationship woes, and contends, the gravest is a breakdown in communication. However, the breakdown it must be discovered and both parties must be willing to work on themselves with patience and non-judgement. I like to offer couples hands on techniques that create healthy communication, respect, compassion, and empathy. Thus, removing all backpacks from the couple and practice being honest active listening, and respect for another’s opinion.
A great website to visit where you will discover others tools for couples can be found at http://www.couplesinstitute.com/couples-blog/. (Couples Institute, Ellyn Bader, 2010) If you want to speak in person or hear more about my couples' workshops you can contact me at (951) 778-0230 or email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.