Improve Your Relationship
Insights from Chiswick-based couples counsellors Nicholas Rose and Marybeth Mendenhall
“In relationships, believing that we understand our partners and that they understand us is the single biggest cause of trouble” says Chiswick-based couples counsellor Nicholas Rose.
“Couples often come where one or both are simply not understanding the other, I often hear ‘It’s like living with a stranger’ and this can happen no matter how long a couple have been together. For even the strongest and longest of relationships there can come a time when a couple can find themselves struggling to maintain the relationship they want, often quite suddenly, understanding each other becomes very difficult,” says Nicholas.
Difficulties can be triggered by either a build up of misunderstandings and or external influences, and both of these bring stress into a relationship. “The importance of this is that during times of stress our sense of safety is challenged, and this triggers coping mechanisms that are built on our assumptions of the best ways to stay safe. Assumptions are based upon unique life experiences and therefore potentially revealing huge differences between partners,” adds Associate Marybeth Mendenhall.
Sometimes a build up of stress is caused by the relationship’s failure to deal with disagreements around day-to-day issues such as parenting, finance, sex, financial management etc. “Couples often struggle to reach a full understanding around a point of conflict because they do not feel heard by the other. A major part of my work is to help couples develop listening and conflict resolution skills.”
“It is also important never to underestimate the possible impact of change and difficult times. Anything that changes your routines or patterns can trigger coping mechanisms – look out for bereavements, fertility issues, children arriving and leaving, career changes, health challenges and traumatic events. Such things can lead to a couple needing to revisit those listening and conflict resolution skills.”
At the root of maintaining your relationship is the need to constantly challenge the tendency to believe that we understand and are understood. “The word love is possibly the best example. It’s a word so common in everyday life and yet in practice it can mean vastly different things depending upon who is using it.”
Nicholas and Marybeth suggest the following guiding principles:
Nicholas Rose & Associates is a practice of counsellors and psychotherapists offering counselling and psychotherapy for adults, couples and families based on Fishers Lane in W4, just off Chiswick High Road.
Advertisement Promotion11th May 2012