MIND | BODY | SOUL
Marriage Problems in Acadiana Divorce can be a solution, but let’s pause and think if there are other options. I want to identify three scenarios and possible solutions to see if this broadens your understanding in the management of relationship problems. By Don Short
hen I do marriage counseling, I like to have an initial session with the couple and then have two sessions with each spouse individually. In doing this, I can begin the process of separating out what the individual issues are that are driving the problems related to the couple. We have to remember that we are an accumulation of everything that has happened to us from birth to present. During these individual sessions we can determine how our personal and past experiences are making things more complicated and difficult in the present relationship.
3 DIFFERENT SCENARIOS
SCENARIO 1 “I feel stuck in a bad relationship.” I ask the questions; What do you think is ‘bad’ about your relationship? When did it become “bad”? When was it “good”? What did that look like? Then I ask each spouse how would they define “good” and “bad”? One of the ways relationships go bad over time is through the use of toxic words, language and behavior. We have to remember that our negative thoughts affect our words, our words affect our language, our language affects our emotions and our emotions affect our behavior. Toxic words can include the frequent use of words such as; always, never, constantly, all the time, etc. We must remember that these words are generally used to describe undesirable behavior from the past. It is these words that can wipe out any good in the relationship because they negate any forgiveness in the past. These words keep the “bad” in the relationship alive and well while at the same time growing in intensity and frequency. This type of relationship problem is fixable. 46 FACE | AUGUST 2016
SCENARIO 2 “Our relationship is on an
emotional roller coaster.” We all function at our best as long as we are able to stay within our window of tolerance. When we are stressed out, our window of tolerance narrows and our lack of capacity to deal with conflict will propel us outside of our window of tolerance. When we feel overwhelmed, that is when we lose our focus and the ability to manage the conflicts in our relationship. What also happens is that as our anger increases, our IQ decreases. Therapists can show you how to deal with conflicts without getting on anyone’s roller coaster.