Conflict is a part of a relationship and cannot be avoided since there are no two people who are exactly alike. However, learning how to deal with it is key to a successful union. Marriage therapy has been offering a new perspective in life to couples who undertake it. Since the understanding of human behavior has grown over the years, marriage and family therapy has improved. The new perspectives it offers today improve couples interaction leading to sustainable relationship satisfaction. The following trends and developments have contributed to this.
1. Behavior Modification
Most successful marriage therapists will try to modify or rectify any dysfunctional behavior in couples. This will ensure that you and your partner change the way you behave towards each other. The approach will help you and your spouse stop engaging in a certain behavior that could harm you physically, emotionally or financially.
In order for therapists to make this possible, they must conduct a thorough assessment to determine if you are, in fact, at risk. If you have a drug addiction problem for example, your therapist may recommend a special rehabilitation treatment. Also, if you are a victim of domestic violence your spouse may be asked to join a shelter for abused women until you have concluded therapy. If the risk is not severe, the therapist may recommend ‘time-out’ procedures to stop the conflict between you and your spouse from escalating.
This behavior modification will help address the root cause of the problem before any counseling begins. Couples undergoing this technique are asked to focus on the solution of their problem other than the problem itself.
2. Attachment-based Approach
Attachment itself has been an important principle in understanding human behavior. Emotionally focused marriage therapists argue that how partners engage with each other creates new types of interactions and strengthens the bonds between them. Couples who do not express their emotional feelings are at a higher risk of becoming emotional distant hence they tend to grow apart.
An effective couples’ counselor will help you bring out the emotions that you fear expressing to your spouse. This therapy works by re-positioning each partner’s stance during interactions in order to create a new beneficial interaction in a partnership. This approach will enable you to feel less afraid of expressing your need for closeness to your partner. Marriage therapists believe that most people who fear getting rejected fear expressing their private and emotional feelings to their partners. This is as a result of unmet emotional needs in their childhood that have been carried into adulthood.
Attachment-based approach will help you express your feelings and emotions to each other which is an integral part of a healthy relationship. It encourages the reorganization and expansion of key emotional responses. The technique has significantly moved relationships from a troubled level to a level of recovery.
3. Communication Coaching
Relationships challenges may arise in different ways, and being able to communicate with your spouse is key to a successful union. Communication enables you and your partner to understand each other and solve problems calmly. Since what may seem clear to you may not be understood by your partner, communication is a skill that requires a lot of conscious. The language you use to communicate with your partner should not be abusive. Also, partners should not ridicule each other when expressing their true feelings towards each other.
A successful marriage therapist will help you learn how to speak honestly and without fear about your partner, and reinforce trust and commitment to a lifelong relationship. You will be able to understand different forms of communication that cause misunderstandings. Effective communication requires that one person speaks while the other listens. Communication coaching approach involves sharpening each partner’s listening skills in order to communicate better. Although learning new ways of communication may seem unnatural at first, this will help you and your spouse nurture and support each other.
Above are the most popular principles used by marriage therapists to help couples build and maintain stable and satisfying relationships. Take an objective look at your relationship to see if you need help in changing your behavior, sharing your emotions or communicating effectively. This will ensure that you have a happy, harmonious, healthy and strong relationship. Remember that every relationship has its weaknesses and strengths; therefore you will be giving yours the best chance to survive.