In sessions, I stress the importance of sustaining and further developing your friendship as an essential part of being in a happy relationship. To build a friendship, there needs to be trust.
Here is another wonderful video from Dr. John Gottman about the importance of trust. When I trained with him and his wife, I couldn’t take my eyes off him, as his wisdom and keen sense as to how to help couples was riveting.
Couples develop goals for their career but rarely track the status of their friendship with their partner. It’s almost as if they stop thinking about their partner as their friend in some cases, and a great deal of the time, it’s due to the duties of parenting, working, needs of the home, infidelity, etc. Who has the time to develop a friendship with their partner, right?
The challenge in not having a strong friendship is that quite naturally, these couples often engage in negative behavior patterns, usually producing the same cycle, the same sadness and the same blame. Usually, this creates a feeling that the relationship can never change. When people first come to therapy, I usually can appeal to their sense of curiosity as to whether they can get new “data” or experiences going with their partner by saying, do you think you have enough of the same data doing what you have been doing? Or, do you think you would like to see if through our work you can create some new data?
All couples, even ones that have good friendships, can sometimes take on the role of quasi siblings with each other, engaging in competitive bickering and getting in the last word, all with a need to be right! One of the things I hear often is the “freeze out”, where one or both members of the couple don’t speak or interact for a period of time due to a fight, this tends to be worse with couples that don’t have strong friendships, as their ability to repair from a fight is limited. I teach couples how to repair from fights in healthy ways, this helps to build their friendship and trust with each other. Are you curious about how I do this? Text me at 203-948-0938 or email me at email@example.com and we can chat about how I can help you.
I work with couples and individual adults in my Psychotherapy and Life Coaching Practice. My clients make progress! Find Your Strengths at http://www.kelleyhopkinsalvarez.com.
Thank you so much for reading my blog!
Kelley Hopkins-Alvarez, Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, MSEd, NCC, BCC
Address: 100B Danbury Road, Suite #201D (2nd floor) Ridgefield, CT 06877 (building B is behind Union Savings Bank)