When couples enter couples counseling, they often wonder if the therapist will “take sides,” by taking up the cause of one partner over the other. If the truth be told, each partner hopes the therapist will take their own side. But family therapists are taught to consider neither partner as the client. Their patient is the relationship itself. With that said, here are three remedies often prescribed to an ailing relationship.
1. Schedule a daily “we” bubble. All couples report fighting over in laws, money, sex, parenting, and domestic responsibilities, but the couples who are able to work through that stuff best are those who act and think as one mind. To create an environment for that one mind to grow, couples need a “we” bubble, a daily cocoon, to simply be together in routine and ritual. Your cocoon, may be a morning coffee together, an after-dinner stroll, or a bed-time cuddle. The key to building strength in a relationship is to bond every day.
2. Problem solve with the relationship in mind. Make decisions based on what’s good for the relationship rather than what’s good for one. Just as a therapist looks at the relationship as the patient, couples can be transformed by the mental mindset of solving problems through the lens of what’s best for both instead of one. Sometimes, it can be as simple as training your mind to refocus and with every conflict, asking yourself what’s really important here, and understanding that compromise can sometimes get you more in the long run.
3. Join his or her cheer team. If a relationship is an exchange of care, there is probably no better kind of care than to be in your partner’s corner while he or she faces the stress of life. Think of yourself as the captain of your partner’s cheer squad. You might be surprised at how your entire relationship can be transformed by the addition of a few compliments, words of encouragement, and reminders of how loved they are.