Love, Self

Why To Consider Couples Therapy Before Breaking Up

unhappy man woman couple

Over the course of a year, I see hundreds of people. Still, some of the stories I hear have touched me deeply. Such was the case with a couple that asked to see me after hearing me speak in Hawaii. 

Their story started like most others. They were in a tough place in their relationship and sought assistance. During their session, I realized that they were seeking help in deciding whether to continue their relationship or not.

I start each session with the premise that a couple wishes to work things out. If not, why invest the time and money to come see a coach? Fortunately, I don't need to hear their stories, or what happened that caused them to be with me. I need their names, all of their names, because our names tell our stories.

I ask each person to start with their birth name and then all of the names that they were ever called leading up to and including their current name. I also request their parents' names. I wish to see what they have picked up from their parents subconsciously, as their birth last name shows me what they have gleaned consciously.

With this particular couple, looking at both their names, I saw that he was probably there against his will and only attempting to appease her. Thus, instead of constantly going back and forth between the couple making observations and suggestions, I addressed her first. Her name told me that she was open and ready to hear what she could do to strengthen their relationship while he was not.

When comparing names, it's easy to see what one is doing that irritates the other. So, I started with her most irritating trait, per his name, and stated that this habit of hers was annoying to him. What was most important, though, was why this habit had not adapted or changed over time and what initially caused it.

We all form defense mechanisms to protect ourselves from being hurt by others. The name states what habit is there and the parental names indicate if it was developed in self-defense or reinforced by a parent as when the parent has the same habit. 

Both were shocked and pleased, by what I was saying. I gently continued with multiple little things she was doing, why those pesky habits persisted and easy ways to adjust them so that she could stay who she was and yet present the same message in a way that wasn't irritating to him. She wouldn't have to move mountains; these were simple shifts to make.

She continuously reaffirmed that the very things I was mentioning had been in their previous discussions, and yes, they both knew these were problems, yet before now, she did not know how to adapt to do anything differently without compromising herself. She warmed to the idea of knowing where they originated, and why, and was thrilled with the information conveyed.

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