“The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Vince Lombardi
When we’re struggling in our marriages, the obvious solution is to go to marriage counseling or couples therapy so that both of us can fix it. After all, we’re having a problem, so we should both be actively working on the issues within the relationship. But I would argue that’s not actually true…
I could also argue…it’s slower and significantly less effective.
One person can get further, faster than working as a couple. I’ll explain:
In every relationship, there are three distinct entities:
- You, as an individual,
- Your spouse as an individual,
- The relationship as its own unique entity (being comprised of everything each of the individuals have to bring to the relationship…the patterns, the traumas, the beliefs, the judgments, the strengths, the insecurities…all of it).
That entity you created as a couple is important, but it’s not the full story. It certainly does not negate you as an individual. I’ve seen far too many wedding ceremonies where each person is holding a lit candle, they each bring their flames together to light the unity candle and then symbolically (and sadly) blow out their own candle.
In marriage counseling, couples therapy (or even couples coaching for that matter), most of the focus is on the relationship itself (that third entity). You’re working on how you communicate with one another, how well you listen to one another, and how you argue or react to the other. All of this can be helpful, for sure.
But when you place the focus on just one person and what they can control (which is only themselves), helping him or her become stronger mentally and healthier emotionally, we can make an impact quickly in the relationship. When one person gets equipped with new tools or discover new insights, that one person can apply that in their experience today and feel the shift within a very short period of time.
When you change how you show up in the relationship:
How you approach difficult conversations…
How you express your feelings…
How you engage with or react to your partner…
How you feel about yourself…
And even changing what you’ve allowed or overlooked…
That changes the dynamic in the relationship. And that changes EVERYTHING.
We are 50% of what makes-up this third entity – the relationship. If 50% of anything changes, the entity itself automatically changes. When one person in the relationship changes, the relationship itself changes.
If you’ve been to marriage counseling, but haven’t gotten the changes you desire in your marriage, I talk more about this in my free mini book, Does Marriage Counseling Help? You can check it out here: http://sharonpopetruth.com/downloads/does-marriage-counseling-help.pdf
P.S. I know…..I know…..I can hear you from here: “But why do I have to do all the work? It’s not fair.” You have a point, but it doesn’t help you reach the goal of feeling good inside your marriage again and healing what’s broken. You can do the work because you desire change in the marriage. You can do the work because you’re the one seeking answers. You can do the work because you’re totally capable and equipped to do it.