I am sure for many of us when we hear the words “couples therapy” or see what couples therapy is on a tv show or in a movie, we want to run away as far as possible. For a lot of people, couples therapy means the relationship is “doomed” or “already over” and it is a “last ditch effort”, however, I am here to tell you that couples therapy can be one of the most empowering and important things you can do for ANY relationship!
Couples Therapy – What is it?
Couples therapy is a roadmap for helping couples compassionately manage their conflicts, deepen their friendship and intimacy, and share their life purpose and dreams. You will learn and complete assessments, which will help you and your partner understand your relationship’s strengths and areas of concern using empirically validated questionnaires. You will gain tools to help process fights and heal your hurts, and techniques for you and your partner to deepen your intimacy and minimize relapses.
Relationship Check In Tips
Try these 7 “Relationship Check In” tips with your partner!
Love and Appreciation
Respectfully, address if both of you have been expressing love and appreciation towards each other and how you can improve if it needs improvement, the more specific the better with this tip.
Intimacy can be non-sexual and sexual behaviors, it is important to make sure to clarify when addressing how well this has been going or if it needs improvement. Be specific in how this can be improved. Our partner can’t improve if they don’t know how, so be sure to discuss things that get in the way of intimacy as well as the things that promote intimacy in your relationship.
Address if this has been happening, how it has been going, if this needs improvement, or if this needs to start happening.
Ask each other what your goals are for the week, the month, and the next year. Then ask your partner how each of you can help get one other there or if your partner can help at all.
It may be worthwhile to see how supportive we have been to our partner. Our partner may be a CEO and needs some extra support by making their coffee in the mornings or our partner is a stay-at-home parent who needs support by helping with bedtime routines. Whatever role your partner might have, it is important to provide support to one another. Ask each other how they can provide you support.
Address how well you both have been sharing your thoughts or feelings throughout this week or month. How can this improve or share positives about how well it has been. Remember, the more specific the better.
Make sure to talk about how you have both been holding up emotionally, from today, this week or month. You or your partner may not have had a chance to really reconnect with emotions because lots of things demand immediate attention (i.e., kids, work, school).
The Gottman Relationship Checkup
The Gottman Institute has developed its own assessment tool, the Gottman Relationship Check-up. Gottman noticed that many couples therapists could not devote the time required to complete a thorough relationship assessment. The Gottman Relationship Checkup offers therapists a low-cost, easy-to-use, assessment tool. One of the benefits of the Gottman Relationship Checkup is how it systematizes and streamlines the relationship assessment process. It provides personalized, clinical feedback for the couple’s therapist. One of the best features is that it also suggests specific interventions for treatment based on the couple’s responses. Clients are also offered a chance to add comments to elaborate on their answers. The actual time it takes to complete the Gottman Relationship Checkup may vary, but expect to spend between 1-2 hours completing this questionnaire.