Is your promising relationship seemingly in the middle of its first meltdown? It may not be too late for a relationship rescue. If your relationship is basically solid but hitting a bumpy patch, here are a few basic guidelines for steering love back onto the rails.
Stick with the Recent Past When Talking About Relationship Problems
It is harder to change the past then the present or future. People forget and disagree about what happened in the distant past. Try to avoid going into the past for reasons to start couples counselling. Keeping the focus on the here and now will allow you to remain focussed on positive change for the relationship.
Do Something Different
Don’t keep doing the same thing. Change any pattern that is under your influence. Be sure not to do anything unethical or dangerous, but get creative when it’s time for a relationship rescue. Try to blow your partner’s stereotype of you. Think about what you would normally do next that isn’t working… and do something different to promote fairness, trust and honesty.
Practice Compassionate Listening
Even if you feel attacked or you do not understand your partner’s actions or words, imagine that they are feeling scared or hurt at the moment when there are problems. In this relationship rescue technique, try getting into their shoes or skin and try to understand how they are seeing or feeling in the situation. Be sure that you understand and that your partner feels understood before you respond.
Think Before Acting
In the heat of the moment, we might make decisions or take action out of anger, hurt, fear or frustration. Take a few deep breaths and wait to calm down and get some distance before you make any hasty decisions or take impulsive actions. If necessary take a “time-out” well before you say or do something you will regret later.
Remember that a successful relationship takes effort and skills that not all of us have had the chance to learn: skills like communication, conflict resolution and maintaining intimacy. Whether or not a relationship rescue is possible in your case, be patient and forgiving with both yourself and your partner.
To strengthen your relationship by learning how to put principles like these into practice with the help of a couples therapist who understands the psychology and dynamics of successful relationships, or to address personal issues that might get in the way of your relationships, contact us at the Montreal Therapy Centre for online or in-person couples counselling, family therapy or individual psychotherapy.