Couples Counseling is the best way for couples to work on the conflicts that cause distance and hurt.
If both people enter couples counseling with a willingness and commitment to make things better things will be better. As Socrates said, “Pease is not the absence of conflict. Peace is the ability to deal with conflict.” With the help of a skilled couples’ therapist you can get the tools to make peace between you.
I am sure you are thinking, what does that mean, the ability to deal with conflict? Making peace by gaining the ability to deal with conflict means:
- Being aware of your own triggers in conflict. Meaning leftovers from how you were treated or spoken to as a child that activate your anger or fear. By being aware that your partner’s words or actions are triggers for your child part.
- Accepting your partner as someone who has their own struggles and is doing their best to address to be a good partner and meet your needs in the relationship. In other words, having empathy for them as a person trying their best.
- Have a set of skills onboard so that you can sooth yourself when you are upset and not be reactive
- Having clear boundaries so you do not try to fix your partner but look at how you can be non-reactive and fully present the relationship
- Don’t defend but take a breath and listen to what your partner is saying.
- And lastly, don’t take everything personally
Making peace, or making repair often starts by owning your part of the conflict. Take full ownership and don’t defend or being halfhearted in your apologies. Some people have a need to be right and often blame others to defend their ego. Realizing that being right can come at a high price of ending up lonely and unhappy.
After you have made repair to the conflict a skill to employ is looking at your partner with “soft eyes” which means intentionally softening your gaze and speak from the heart about what you love and appreciate in the other.
Your couples’ counselor can coach you to find words of affirmation for the other about what they do well, how they are loving and desire to meet the needs of the other.
A skilled couple’s counselor can also help each person relate the conflict to some piece of their family of origin. When a child part in the adult gets triggered by their partner a much bigger emotional response comes out. It is important for the therapist to help the client make that connection to their childhood wounding. If that happens then they can see that their partner is not their critical or judgmental parent and work with their partner or spouse instead. These triggers to childhood are frequently at the bottom of the deep hurts that come out of marital conflict. The counselor can help the clients own their own history and work at healing the inner child parts of themselves.
Making peace with your partner means having a counseling professional who can help you gaining the awareness and skills needed to resolve conflict in an adult way. That work includes making peace with your own past and the child part within.