Relationships on the critical list
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
4th September, 20120 Comments
The patient lay on the bed, life ebbing away. The breathing becoming steadily shallower as each breath was harder than the last. The couple sat and witnessed this scene, helpless, not knowing what to say not knowing how to reach out as it played out to what they knew was the inevitable conclusion. They knew young Jim would be upset but maybe it was better that this happened while he was young. Then one partner got to their feet and said, I can let it go let’s call in a specialist see if they can help…
So it is with relationships, so often when a couple arrives at counselling the relationship is already on the critical list, perhaps its why as many as a third of marriages end in divorce. Perhaps intervention with counselling earlier could take less time and be more effective.
Perhaps what we need to have is first aid for relationships and marriage. Rather like you might know how to stop the bleeding or to protect a broken arm till the patient can get to hospital. Perhaps a few simple steps can help you make sure that is possible to have and effective recovery in relationship counselling.
What might those steps be?
Communication is at the heart of any relationship and there is a strong correlation between relationship breakdown and a breakdown in relationship. However, even in the strongest of relationships communication is not conflict free. In fact in many of the strongest relationships there can be considerable conflict. Talking to your partner begins to poison the relationship when the conversation becomes false. Perhaps you avoid saying something you feel strongly about because you don’t want to fight. Perhaps you embellish something that you are saying to elicit sympathy or understanding. Conflict avoidance and sulking are very common in relationships and they prevent dealing with problems early on. Just because you don’t talk about a problem, doesn’t make it go away. Only working through the problem will make for a resolution.
Of course we all came together because there was some spark of love or romance. We have that intoxicating feeling of really being fully alive. Soon though the reality of life begins to take over and we have to deal with each other through the full gamut of emotional highs and lows. It is difficult to find time to talk in the way we used to and slowly we stop talking and rely on intuition and knowing our partner more and more. However, if we don’t occasionally check it check how our partner is doing emotionally, rekindle the love and the reasons for being there, resentment can start. Perhaps there is a chore one partner always does but hates, perhaps there is a problem with family or work and the other partner feels unsupported or unloved. Again quick early action can help to resolve issues.
Inevitably though some relationships are going to need help. With most problems the earlier that you ask for help the better. There is less of a history; more chance of open honest dialogue, in short a greater chance of resolution. So don’t think of relationship counselling as a last resort but rather an important resource in dealing with problems in your relationship.
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