If your marriage isn’t what you want it to be and you are trying couples therapy, then there are some skills that you should know to make the experience more productive. These skills will make it easier for both you and your spouse to connect to what you are learning and to each other. Here are these skills and how to use them in your next therapy visit.
When you are in your therapy session, it is important to control your voice so that your mate doesn’t feel as if he is being attacked. Use your politest voice. Remember, this person deserves respect just as much as you do and that yelling only escalates the problem.
According to the Conflict Research Consortium of the University of Colorado, active listening is a way of hearing and responding to others that creates a better understanding. To use active listening in your sessions, first listen to your mate. Then, repeat back what you heard in your own words. This will let your mate know if you understood what was said. Have your mate do the same.
Advanced Active Listening
Once you are comfortable with repeating back statements, further your active listening by repeating back what your mate said and adding how it made you feel. For example, “It makes me feel aggravated when you tell me that I spend too much money.”
You can go one step further when expanding on your feelings by telling your mate why the statement hurt your feelings. Try to stay away from accusing tones or words. Just simply state what you feel. For example, “I feel like since I made the money I should be able to spend it,” or “I feel like I only buy things that we need.”
During a session, try to think of your mate as a friend, not an enemy. Listen to your friend. Empathize with her. Remember that the point of your session is to understand each other better, not to create blame or shame for the other person. When your mate sees you treating her with respect she will reciprocate. Even if she doesn’t, at least you know you did your best to make things work.