Couples Counseling Redford MI
Self-Care: Self-Care for Couples
Lewis and Brandy Engel are clinical psychologists practicing in San Francisco. They are Couples Editors of Medical Self-Care Magazine.
Taking care of the relationships in one's life is an important—and often undervalued—part of self-care. After twelve years of seeing troubled couples, we're convinced that having one or more poisonous or destructive—or even merely boring—relationship in your life can make you physically sick. A significant percentage of our clients have exhibited symptoms— ulcers, colitis, depression, insomnia, and migraines seem to be the most common—that seem almost invariably to disappear when the relationship problems are worked out. We have come to see destructive relationships as a health risk factor in the same league as overeating, smoking, lack of exercise, exposure to environmental pollutants, and poor nutrition.
This article focuses on building a strong and satisfying primary couple relationship, and with dealing with problems within that relationship, but the principles of supportive interaction and good communications we will describe can be applied in any relationship.
We'll begin by describing five common stumbling blocks—attitudes and behaviors that may keep the tools of couple self-care from working. Next we'll describe the five tools we have found most effective. Finally, we'll list some preliminary findings from our current research into the attitudes and behavior patterns of couples who have achieved especially enduring, zestful relationships. We hope that these ideas, tools, and resources will be of help to you in your efforts to create that kind of a couple relationship for yourself.
Stumbling Block #1: The Right /Wrong Game
The biggest single barrier to improving one's couple relationship is a tendency to see our partner as the source of our problems. We think that if we could only get our partner to change his or her behavior or personality, everything would be fine. When there is pain and conflict in the relationship, it's only natural to assume someone is doing something wrong, and if we feel that we're doing our best, it's got to be them.
Difficulties need not be anyone's fault, and assigning blame is rarely the most effective way of dealing with a problem. The fact is that there is pain and conflict in all relationships. Think of them as growing pains—as opportunities for both partners to learn and grow and change.
The tools we will be describing can all too easily be turned into clubs with which to beat one's partner over the head—by using them only to point out how he or she is "doing it wrong." It would be a shame for these excellent tools to be reduced to weapons in the right/wrong game.
Here are some tipoffs that you might be having trouble with this stumbling block:
1. You feel superior to your partner because he or she is not following the rules of good communication and you are.
2. You feel that the information you have learned from the new books and articles—including ...