One of the things that often bothers me is how couples can go so wrong before they go to couples therapy. What happens when you grow apart from someone you used to be close to and happy with?
The parties often accuse each other or it is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. The power has been taken over by frustration or indifference, and it will be impossible to regain it. But why, one might wonder, when both parties want to experience the joy, cohesion, and most importantly, the understanding that comes with long-term relationships.
Because of this, people tend to forget to talk to each other and ask questions – and when the dialogue stops, the cohesion fades.
In couples therapy, I often find couples are surprised to find they want the same thing and start listening and asking questions of each other. Here they are, imagining they have grown apart and want a different life. Misconceptions arise precisely because one believes one knows the other. You may have known each other for a long time and think you know each other’s needs, but needs change as you age, children grow, work, and gain access to your own needs. Worst of all is when in mutual understanding and deep knowledge,
When was the last time you genuinely inquired about your partner’s needs? How is your partner? Your partner’s life goals What currently fills your partner?
And when was the last time you considered being married to yourself, based on your actions and words?
It takes so little to get out of a slide. I keep taking myself in, downplaying my husband’s closeness. Then I’m busy at work, then I’m tired and want to hide behind a good book – there are a thousand reasons why completely special deep proximity isn’t prioritized right now. Conversely, I know that if I want to keep my positive outlook on life and my joy in my marriage, I must prioritize closeness. I need to remind myself to keep being the attractive partner I want to be.
So every day I ask myself if I am contributing to a good marriage and if I am remembering to make myself attractive to my husband. It didn’t always work, and I don’t think anyone can be perfect all the time. It’s perfectly normal to want to hide under the duvet and focus on the problems, but I believe that the more good days you have, the easier it is to deal with the bad ones. In the end, my focus has helped me to do better than usual, and even better than usual today. Do you see a reason to do things differently in the future?