If you’re like most men, it may take you a while to come around to the realization that there are problems in your relationship or marriage. some couples think that if they don’t fight, all is well. But is it? Are you both really okay, or is that what you’re telling yourselves?
For guys, the thought of going in the couples counseling is comparable to getting a root canal. The thought of showing up in the counselor’s office and starting to take a look at the problems, and ultimately, their role in the problems, is no picnic. Added to that, most guys think that the therapist is going to side with their wife or girlfriend, and end up attacking them.
Most of the myths that we generate about couples counseling are false. The right counselor can understand these things, and work with you to help you feel comfortable and not like you’re on the hot seat. The right approach to couples counseling is also critical for the successful goals you want to accomplish with your wife or girlfriend.
One extremely effective orientation to marriage counseling comes in the form of what’s known as EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. The success rate is quite high: studies are coming out that show couples have a better than 70% repair rate from EFT.
Developed by Susan Johnson, Ph.D, a Canadian psychologist, Emotionally Focus Therapy looks at the attachment bonds between couples. This is an approach that looks deeper than just building better communication skills or developing more effective negotiation or coping skills. EFT helps couples connect in an emotional way. And yes, men do want to connect with their wives in the emotional way, even if they don’t say so. It’s this emotional bond between partners that is sustainable, and many of the reactive behaviors and emotions that result are part of a complex “dance” or chronic negative cycle that emerges between partners.
The idea is to bring awareness to that negative cycle, and all work together in therapy to help couples stop fighting, reduce conflict and connected and more animate an emotional way. The negative cycle becomes the problem, and therapist and couple work towards understanding and reducing the negative cycle together.
Even guys who are hesitant to dive into their feelings talk about really making progress with this form of marriage counseling. a lot of guys really enjoy it, and not only turn around the destructive path of their relationship, but are able to improve it in ways that they never thought that they could.
Here’s a free worksheet on identifying your negative cycle with your partner. Download this and do it together to begin the process of identifying how you both get stuck in your own relationship patterns: http://phoenixmenscounseling.com/clinicalforms/negative-cycle.pdf
You don’t have to feel hopeless and trapped in your relationship or marriage situation. There is help, and options for you to explore instead of a breakup or divorce. You might be really surprised with the results.