When a couple first get together there is a strong attraction, a desire to please. Often things are said, done and promised as we believe strongly that the relationship is wonderful and will last forever. Over time reality sets in. Stress from work, financial worries, issues with children and life itself can interfere with the ideal picture we both imagined would be our life together.
Remembering that both people in a relationship are intrinsically good people, but at times fail to appreciate each other can be an important starting point in remedying any problems. One person may be working long hours and feel stressed and frustrated about the situation for a variety of reasons. They may want to spend more time at home with family, see their friends occasionally, want their partner to do more to help. Whilst their partner may feel ignored, that they are left to do everything at home, that their input is unappreciated, that their partner would prefer to be anywhere rather than at home.
A failure to communicate can be one of the first things to suffer as we move from one day to the next. Many people expect their partner to know, remember, understand how they feel about certain things. But there may be many reasons why this doesn’t happen and relationship counselling can be a positive tool to help at these times.
Relationship counselling can help us to understand:
- Our partner is not psychic. If we don’t communicate we can’t complain if our partner doesn’t know how much something affects us. I’ve worked with many clients who have said that they knew that their partner was bothered about something, but hadn’t appreciated the full extent of their upset. Tell them.
They may have different priorities to us. We may think that it is important to see our family but our partner may prefer to do something else with us, we have so little time together. Compromise is important at these times, on both sides.
- Understanding each other’s point of view is crucial. It enables us to get another perspective on the matter. We may not agree with their opinion but at least, by discussing it, we can understand where each other is coming from and get a better idea of what is happening and why.
They may feel unappreciated. We may want to do a particular thing a certain way, but what about our partner? Sometimes one person’s needs and wants can become a priority in a relationship. They may be seen as more important, superior in some way. Perhaps they earn the most money or are the stronger personality. At times allowing the other person to feel important, respected and considered can make all the difference to their self-worth. Feeling valued by our partner matters.
Negotiation is an important part of communicating, especially in areas of conflict. Money is often a matter that causes disharmony in relationships. Feeling aggrieved at how much our partner spends on golf, shoes, telephone calls to friends can escalate if it is not discussed. Appreciating what this situation means to each person and finding a way to compromise can help both people to reach a better understanding.
Relationship counselling can provide a neutral environment in which to discuss troublesome areas. It is about setting aside the time to discuss these important areas and get to the bottom of what the problem is really about. We can feel silly, unfair, a nag saying that something bothers us, and often there is no opportunity in a home environment to discuss these matters fully. Relationship counselling provides a respectful, safe place where both people have the time and opportunity to say how they really feel, air their grievances and start to understand each others point of view. It provides an environment in which to potentially start healing and saving the relationship.