Do you ever stop to think about your relationship with your partner or spouse? How happy are you both? How well do you communicate? If you are able to answer these positively, then that’s great!
There are folk who come to me for couples counselling and they find themselves at various stages from just wondering where the spark has gone through to being in a state of all-out conflict. Extraneous factors may have also played their part which we explore together from the perspective of the relationship. Whichever is the case I always encourage each person to leave blame at the door and to both shoulder some of the responsibility for moving forward, knowing that whatever might have happened cannot be undone but can be worked through.
Separation is a very painful thing to go through – even if it’s an ‘amicable’ agreement. Not only does it affect the two people concerned emotionally, but also financially and practically. It can have long-lasting effects on children too. If I’m honest I have sometimes wondered if some of the couples I have seen have come as a last resort, hoping that by some miracle I will be able to save their relationship. This is something I will never claim to be able to do – it is for the couple to make decisions about the future of their relationship. Obviously I want to help people. That’s why I do what I do. However I can only help if they are willing to process what we talk about.
Of course, any couple will have disagreements. How do you cope with this in your relationship? The Gottman Institute speak of four elements which should be avoided: criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling. If you find yourself doing any of these, I would suggest that it might be good to have someone alongside who can offer a safe space to be able to explore alternatives to these.
Before it’s too late.