Couples therapy: communication and responsibility
Couples therapy includes working with couples in developing communication skills, amongst other skills that will improve the quality of their lives and therefore the quality of their relationship.
One aspect of communication that is really important is taking responsibility.
In this article, I'd like to leave you with some "food for thought" on how to take responsibility - or let go of responsibility - in order to improve your relationship.
Playing the blame game is easy. Taking the blame for everything or someone else's stuff is also easy for some of us. Both will harm our relationships and how we see ourselves and our partner.
Remember: We usually hurt those that are closest to us. Remaining aware of this might help us step back and think before blaming or reacting in ways we will later regret.
Being assertive is important - asking questions that make us feel uncomfortable, but might help prevent a full blown argument and provide a space for becoming closer and understanding each other better, is definitely worth a shot!
Asking something like "can you explain what you meant by that please?", is a great way to start listening to what you need from your partner better and then communicating that to them.
It works both ways, so you will be more likely to be able to listen to your partner's communications when you address each other in a more assertive, calm manner.
Becoming more self-aware and aware of our partner's reactions and ways of being, as well as improving our communication skills with each other, will help us become better partners and have a much better relationship.
In the long run, working out feelings by talking about them will be more beneficial than sweeping them under the carpet, even if it doesn't feel like it right now!
Think about these:
- You are responsible for your happiness and nobody else's.
- Your partner isn't responsible for your happiness, only his/her own.
- Reflect on any situation - what part you or your partner have played, how did each react and how did this affect the other party?
In order to avoid a particular situation, practice the things mentioned earlier in this post:
- Be assertive.
- Use "I" statements. For example, "I felt hurt when you said that" rather than blaming your partner for your feelings.
- Think about what you want from your partner: an apology, understanding, an explanation.
A therapist can offer both you and your partner extra support if required.