Truth #2: We all have unique "buttons," and if you understand them, conflict can be avoided. This was huge for us. Our counselor was able to help each of us narrow down core "buttons," or sensitivities we each had, that were the root of many of our problems. For example, I have a deep fear of feeling disconnected from others, and most of our fights stemmed from that sensitivity, when my husband stepped on that button. Now that he knows this, he's better equipped to recognize it in action and talk me down off the ledge, so to speak. I also learned things about him that made a whole lot of sense, and it's changed the course of our marriage. If you'd like to read more on this topic, check out the book The DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley.
Truth #3. You and your partner are a team, so act like one! During the course of our time in counseling, my husband and I realized that marriage really is a team sport, but we weren't treating it that way. Each of us was acting individually, without talking to each other about our goals and dreams so we could work on them together. In marriage, there's no room for competing interests. We're learning to face the world with a united front, and consider each other's needs as important as our own. After all, that's part of the fun of this marriage thing, right? You get you're very own, built-in cheerleader and partner-in-crime. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
Truth #4: You have to be the one to take the first step towards change. There's an ugly little thing goes on in most relationships. It's called The Blame Game. It's much easier to see the faults in someone else and assume that they're the one that needs to change before things will get better, but in order to make positive progress, it's crucial that you look only at yourself. Boy, is it hard sometimes, but trust me: It's doable. Hopefully both partners are on board for change, but even if it's just you, taking the initiative and altering your behavior will set the ball rolling in the right direction. You may sacrifice a little of your pride, but the end result is well worth it.
Ultimately, my husband and I decided that our marriage is worth going the extra mile for, so we've been hard at work putting these truths into practice. Forming the habits is not a cake walk, but neither is life. And now we feel armed and ready for whatever life throws our way.
Would you consider marriage counseling to smooth out bumps in the road of your relationship?