Relationships take work, and perhaps no relationship takes more work than the one between spouses. Keeping your marriage happy and healthy is a sizeable task, but many people don't know how to help their marriage thrive. Marriage therapy can be helpful for people experiencing relationship issues in their marriage. It can also help people who are not having difficulties, but who would like to improve their ability to relate to one another. Here are four things your marriage counselor will help you focus on in therapy.
1. Appreciate the positive traits your spouse possesses.
No one is perfect, but everyone has positive traits. When turmoil arises in a marriage, you may be tempted to focus on your partner's negative traits. Doing so can create feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction. You can't change your spouse, but you can change your attitude. A marriage therapist can help you and your partner cultivate more gratitude. They can show you exercises that will allow you to notice the good things your spouse contributes to your life.
2. Avoid placing blame.
In any marriage, disagreements will eventually arise. Blaming your partner when you disagree is an unhealthy habit that can lead to resentment. A sense of cooperation and teamwork will allow you and your spouse to tackle problems in a better way. Your marriage therapist will help you avoid placing blame. They will help you see yourself and your spouse as a cohesive unit, working together against the problem.
3. Take responsibility.
Since no one is perfect, there will be times when you do things that hurt or disappoint your partner. Admitting fault can be difficult, especially if you were raised in a context where admitting fault could lead to negative consequences. Still, taking responsibility for your mistakes is necessary for a happy and healthy marriage. Your marriage therapist will show you scripts you can use to admit fault, take responsibility for your mistakes, and ask for forgiveness.
4. Learn to communicate effectively.
Communication is the foundation of a long-lasting marriage. No one is a mind-reader. You must communicate with your spouse so they know what you want and need. Communication can be tough, especially when you're dealing with negative emotions or you aren't sure how your request will be met. A marriage therapist will create a safe space for you and your spouse to communicate freely. Communication will allow you to address problems head-on rather than allowing them to fester.
For more information, contact a counseling center that offers marriage therapy.