By the time many couples show up to couples therapy, their relationship mirrors more of a cohabiting partnership, rather than a passionate marriage.
Most of the partners in these relationships don’t hate each other, but they’re bored, they’ve lost interest and their relationship looks a little too much like brothers and sisters.
Although these couples are married, and they’ve entered the “friend zone” and their “friendliness” can be the poison pill in their relationship.
HOW DO YOU DEFINE YOUR ROLE AS A SPOUSE?
If I did a survey of married couples and asked them to tell me how they define their role of being a spouse, I’m pretty sure I know what kind of answers I would get.
I know what most people would say because I ask this question to married people every day in my practice.
The end of December marks a great opportunity for all of us to reflect on 2016 and set some fun and exciting goals for 2017.
I’m kind of a goal-setting junkie to be honest.
Having clearly definable goals keeps me focused throughout the year…or else my ADD has a way of distracting me to the point of ruin. Ugh…
How about you? What are you goals? How do you want to spend the next year? What are you looking forward to doing more of? What do you want to change or what do you want different from 2016?
Recently during a couples therapy session I told the couple I was working with that there’s nothing really wrong with their relationship, and in fact, they were fighting with each other in understandable and predictable ways. I said, “there’s nothing wrong with you guys!” I told them I could see how much each person deeply loves the other as evident by how much pain they frustration they experienced. Understandably, they were dismayed at my assessment and it seems they were expecting me to confirm and validate their own worst fears; that they did not in fact love each other, that they really hated one another and that their relationship was doomed, and that perhaps I was secretly thinking, “Wow – these people are really messed up!” Continue reading
>The Limits of Sacrificial Relationships
Perusing the marriage help section of your local bookstore will introduce you to many authors writing about the need for being “sacrificial” in your marriage – or putting your partner first. Makes sense right?! “Marriage experts” on the Internet are generally writing the same thing too: To have a happy marriage, put your partner first.
At first glance, most of us can get behind this traditional, time-honored, and well-intended piece of advice to be sacrificial partners, but unfortunately, the simplicity with this idea is missing critical elements of relationship dynamics that are often at the root of couples not doing well. For some, putting yourself first, above your partner, is what will positively change the course your relationship and what is often needed to have a satisfying and lasting marriage. Say what?!