February is the month of love and people want to feel safe, loved and accepted in their marriage. Movies and novels often promote an unrealistic picture of what it takes to make a lasting, rewarding and fulfilling marriage work. Too often people think that a marriage will work because of the love they feel for each other or that reasonable people should be able to make a marriage work.
The reality is that marriage is a unique relationship that requires unique skills to manage effective communications in order for both people in the relationship to get their needs met. The skills for communication or conflict manage we use at work or as a parent - don’t work in a marriage. Fortunately an effective relationship counsellor can help couples learn these skills to be happy and get their needs met in their relationship.
Some common myths about relationships:
· Marriage works when you do something for your partner. False! You should do something that benefits you both. If it isn’t a win-win and one person is unhappy about a solution the two of you lose. Doing things for your partner, over time results in obligations and score keeping. If you and your partner have ugly contests to determine who is the biggest victim in your relationship, this is a sign you are doing things for each other.
· Fair is Equal in a Relationship. FALSE! We are often lead to believe fair is equal. However, in a relationship everyone’s 100% effort and contribution will look different and it’s tough to know what is equal and defining it will result in huge arguments. Instead, you must trust your partner is doing their 100%
· A relationship results from people doing 50-50. FALSE! For a relationship to succeed everyone must give 100% to the relationship (not to your partner) in order for marriage to work.
· Your partner should make you happy. This won’t work because we are each responsible for managing our own happiness and we can only share our happiness with our partner..
· Marriage is about improving your partner. False! Marriage is about accepting your partner and honestly asking yourself what do you need to change in YOURSELF to be able to be with your partner NOT asking your partner to change.
· There is one right logical way. FALSE! This is a source of many fights. This belief comes from our experience at work or as parents where there is a right way. But in reality, in marriage there are 2 right ways, yours and your partners. Learning to deal with this reality will result in better communications.
Our professional trained counselors have over 10,000 hours of supervised and clinical counselling experience. Tammy Fontana is a certified Choice Theory Reality Therapy Therapist as well as she’s received level 2 training of Gottman’s Couple Method therapy. Call us to find out more