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You know you have significant relationship problems, but you'd rather chop off one of your limbs before going to marriage counseling? If marital therapy is not your thing, try these alternative strategies for relationship help:
· Talk to your pastor, rabbi or priest. When you are stuck, it is helpful to get outside input. Talking to a clergy person alone can give you support and another perspective. And, having a mediator facilitate communication between you and your partner can lead to more productive conversations.
· Schedule a set time once per week to hold important discussions. Most people are very busy with work, children and other responsibilities. Commonly, this provides the perfect avoidance strategy to side step dealing directly with conflict. If each of you has decent communication skills, forcing the conversations to occur could propel your relationship into a much better place. However, if there is a tendency to fight unfairly (i.e. yelling, blaming each other, name calling, or other ugliness) do not hold conversations without a facilitator. Continuing destructive communication will only make matters worse, not better.
· Start dating again. I mean your spouse! Set aside time to spend together that doesn't involve child or household responsibilities. This includes NO talking about kids, the house, what needs to paid or things you've been arguing about. The point is enjoyable reconnection as two adult people with identities separate from parenting and shared responsibilities. After children couples tend to identify less and less to each other as lovers, friends, partners. They become distracted from each other's individual identities and center their connection around others (i.e. the children). While this is okay part of the time, it needs to be balanced with remembering the person you married.
If your relationship problems do not improve, kick your own butt and get past your aversion to couple's counseling. Being a little uncomfortable now can save you the big discomfort of a divorce.