Relationship Therapy: 3 Fundamental Principles of Building a Great Marriage

Marriage counseling is feared by many couples. They interpret it as a declaration of defeat and an admission that their relationship needs work. It’s not always simple to accept this. They anticipate that once they start marriage counseling, the therapist would point out all the issues in the union and place the blame on either one or both parties. This method does not seem to be enjoyable.

A good therapist would never let that happen

“Can you tell me the story of how you met?” is one of the first questions I ask couples during their first session. I pose the topic in an effort to get them thinking back to and discussing what first drew them together in order to bring to light what is frequently obscured during periods of acute disagreement. The more advantageous, if somewhat forgotten, facets of their connection can now start to serve as a source of support for them.

What would the relationship look like if this were your last session and the marriage were precisely how you wanted it to be? What would you change, exactly? I’m doing this for two reasons. I first want them to start concentrating more on what they do want as opposed to what they do not want. And secondly, I want to give them confidence by demonstrating to them how their actions might influence the nature of the bond.

Getting a relationship back on track

I created my Marriage Repair Workshop a number of years ago, and I still offer it occasionally. I give couples some incredibly useful tools and approaches in this class to help them restart their relationships. These include effective communication and listening skills, time management and goal-setting strategies, and other useful relationship advice. But before I start teaching these techniques, I need to inspire these couples to alter their habits of behavior. This is a difficult endeavor that necessitates a major mindset shift.

In other words, a significant attitude change is necessary for a positive result.

I explain to my couples that their thinking is the starting point of the transforming journey they are taking. They must be in the correct frame of mind if they want positive transformation to occur.

The foundation of this crucial attitude is made up of three key concepts.

I call them the Power of the 3 P’s.

1. Perspective

Life is all about perspective, isn’t it? I share with my couples my conviction that 99% of life is perspective. What you concentrate on grows. You will encounter this if you concentrate on the shortcomings of your relationship and your companion. On the other hand, you will see the positives if you decide to concentrate on them. I now see that when relationships are rife with strife, the strife tends to cover over and disguise all the positive aspects. Because of this, I advise the couples I work with to don their Sherlock Holmes hats and take on the role of “strength detectives” in their union. They must actively seek out and promote this positive information. This results in a win-win situation since they get to actively engage in the positive transformation that is occurring while also getting the gratification of helping their partner feel good.

2. Individual responsibility

In my waiting area, there is a framed Gandhi statement that reads, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” For my workshop, I prefer to alter this to read: “Be the change you wish to see in your relationship.” I tell the couples I work with that it makes so much more sense to concentrate your precious energy on what you can change for the better rather than hoping and anticipating changes in your partner. I remind them that their ability to affect change in their relationship rests with their willingness to be that change themselves.

3. Practice

I instruct my couples in a variety of useful tools and strategies, but I make it clear that these talents are useless if they don’t apply them at home. Couples don’t visit me for advice on a single incident. They come in to deal with ingrained, unhealthy patterns. Because we are aware that a behavior becomes a pattern when it is repeated often enough.

If you constantly practice anything, it will eventually become a habit. Therefore, they must begin with a constructive conduct and continue to use it until it becomes ingrained. They are currently in the “no brainer zone.” Their relationship now automatically consists of a new, healthy habit that they have effectively absorbed. Of course, doing so requires repeatedly repeating this constructive activity. Couples must practice what they want until it becomes their new reality, not what they don’t want.