Marriage or a long term committed relationship is not something you talk about but is something you DO. A sign that your marriage is headed for trouble is if you spend more of your time talking about what each of you should be doing in the marriage rather than actually doing it.
Married couples main reason for coming into marriage counselling is because of communication and/or conflict resolution issues. Married couples’ typical response to solving their problems, is usually “we’ve been talking about it.” I’ve yet to meet a married couple in my office that says “gosh we’ve been listening to each other, I’ve been genuinely curious about my spouse’s subjective reality and I’ve doing all these things different …etc.” Instead they are usually trying to convince or persuade their spouse to their viewpoint or way of thinking.
Talking about your marriage is usually code for “if only I can convince my partner to see the world my way, view the issue as I do it, then s/he would naturally choose my solution…it would be so simple.”
So what married couples actually end up DOING in these conversations is a lot of relationship harming behaviors such as complaining, blaming, criticizing in the form of “why questions” such as why do you always come home late?” If that doesn’t work and it escalates, tools of guilt, angering and threats may also come out. So while couples may be talking they are DOING a lot of relationship harming behaviors.
Marriages are unique relationships that require very specialized skills for communication and conflict resolution. Ultimately what couples are faced with is how to merge their individual wants and desires, which are often in conflict with one another, into something that is a win-win for the two of them. The skills that people use as parents, as sons or daughters or even a boss/employee do not work in marriage and when used can and do destroy marriages. Marriage issues cannot be solved by going on holiday or giving into one another. They need skills used on a daily basis.
Marriage counselling teaches couples tools to be more effective in their relationship. Marriage counselling with a professionally trained expat counsellor helps couples to learn how to manage their wants, expectations and teach people effective ways so that everyone can get their needs meet.
If you are tired with talking about your marriage and never making progress and feeling more frustrated and disconnected with your partner, relationship counselling can help you turn that around quickly. Call us to learn more. Our professional expat marriage counsellor is a United Stated Trained marriage counsellor. She is a Nationally Certified counsellor in the United States as well as certified Choice Theory Reality Therapy therapist and she is has received level 2 training in Gottman’s Methodology. Visit her profile and read our other articles to learn more.