Advice on Marriage & Relationships
Does this sound familiar? You and your partner see a situation differently. After a number of exchanges the conversation becomes emotionally charged and one of you becomes upset. At those times we are often told that we move into a fight or flight response and either want to exit or escalate the conversation.
When couples come to therapy they often say they hope to interact with their partner differently. They believe change will improve their relationship. I anticipate couples will make changes in the way they think and behave in order to meet their goals. But how do we change when our habits seem so powerful?
The Fundamental Attribution Error is a tendency to explain our own behaviour in situational terms and others’ behaviour in terms of character deficits.
The degree to which we feel a close emotional connection with another person is the result of a series of experiences with that person. Confidence in another to be attentive, responsive and kind is a necessary part of the development of marriage and, despite being such an important aspect of marriage, emotional intimacy at times feels elusive.
Interdependence is one of the objectives for many couples in marital therapy. Husbands and wives recognize that what once was a mutual dream for their lives together has become parallel paths where spouses rarely meet. With our busy lives it sometime becomes difficult to find time to even talk about our day with one another.
My kids’ grandparents are the most welcoming couple and an amazing example of marriage. They work together well and even disagree strongly at times. What is notable is their disagreements are often unacknowledged agreements. For example, mom will say “…its East” and dad will say “no, it’s that way.”
What we talk about with our spouse is only the tip of the iceberg of experience. We clearly talk to share information and we also talk to have our emotional needs met.
Many people recognize talking with a spouse is difficult when the TV, kids or music is loud. These “noises “ are impediments to clear focus on your partner. Noises are much more than the volume in your environment and it can have an impact on your marriage.