5 More Skills Taught in Couples Therapy that All Couples Can Benefit From

All couples can benefit from learning skills that are taught in couples therapy. That’s because these skills focus on cultivating a deep connection between partners and resolving conflict without shame or blame. And that helps all relationships.

Below two relationship experts share the skills they teach their clients in therapy, and how readers can practice these skills on their own.

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How to Stop Pessimistic Self-Fulfilling Prophecies from Shaping Your Life

You believe that you’ll never have a healthy relationship, so you pick partners who are unavailable. You believe you’ll bomb the presentation, so you don’t practice. You believe you’re going to have a frustrating day, so you’re snippy with your spouse, which triggers a fight, which makes you miss your train, which makes you late for work. You believe you’ll have a bad time at a party, so you don’t talk to anyone. Others perceive you as cold and aloof, and don’t approach you either.

These are different examples of the same thing: self-fulfilling prophecies.
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What to Reveal to a Spouse

In a good marriage we can be ourselves more with our partner than with anyone else in the world. We can have imperfections and still be loved. Being vulnerable means risking sharing our true selves instead of saying what we think our partner wants to hear. Sharing thoughts and feelings fosters trust and intimacy.

According to meditation teacher and author Sharon Salzburg, “Embracing our inherent vulnerability is one of the best ways to break the cycle of fear and self-preoccupation. This can be as simple as accepting help from others when we need it … We think we should be in charge all the time, that we should always be in control … it’s just not true.”

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Improving Communication in Relationships

To paraphrase a realtor’s mantra, the three keys to a successful marriage are "communication, communication, and communication." Without good communication skills and quality time dedicated to communicating, relationships soon flounder and fail, especially among couples with the stress of careers and a full family life. Couples need to learn that their relationship is not a thing, but a process.

There are three basic steps to being a good listener and therefore a good communicator:

Stay on the subject.
Listen to be sure you are staying on the subject.
Adapt your behavior if you aren’t staying on the subject.

How can you keep healthy communication lines open? Recognize and implement these requirements:

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The Power of Relationship Assumptions

We all make relationship assumptions. We assume what another person is feeling or thinking. We assume how that person is going to respond to us. We create a story in our heads about how others see us, how they judge us or whether they like or care about us.

We make these assumptions all the time, but we don’t realize that they are assumptions. We treat them as absolute truth. We believe them without hesitation. We’re often wrong.

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How Talking to Yourself Can Save Your Marriage

People don’t just get upset. They contribute to their upsetness. ~ Albert Ellis
For a good marriage, who do you think is the most important person with whom you should communicate well? If you think it’s your spouse, think again.

The most important person to converse with constructively is yourself! You need not try to resolve every situation by talking it over with your partner. Self-talk refers to the messages we say to ourselves. You can change destructive messages you tell yourself into supportive ones.

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Marriage and Divorce

Why Going to Bed Angry Actually Works

Fighting late into the night is just disaster waiting to happen.

Sometimes, when it comes to relationship advice, what we take as common sense is really just a bunch of pie-in-the-sky crap! I call it crap because it's too idealistic or just ignorant of how people's minds, bodies and hearts really work.

For example: Take the whole idea that couples should never go to bed angry.

Now, I'll be honest with you, I used to believe this is a great rule to live by. But, that was back when I was in a relationship that lacked passion -- including the passion to argue.

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Telltale Signs It’s Time to See a Couples Therapist

Couples often wait way too long to go to therapy. “According to John Gottman, couples wait an average of seven years from when a ‘therapy-worthy’ issue arises before they reach out for support,” said Anna Osborn, LMFT, a licensed psychotherapist and relationship specialist.

However, it's key to seek counseling early instead of putting off something that warrants professional help -- before your issues become too entrenched and your relationship is in shards.
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How to Have a Happier Relationship without Couples Therapy

It takes effort.

The search for happiness is a popular psychology topic and the consensus of several gurus has been that we humans are wired to be most content when our lives are focused on love and work. Love can mean all forms of intimate social interaction, and work can mean any regular organized effort toward a valued goal.

One promising way to maximize happiness is to strive, together, toward the valued goal of improving the most intimate relationship in your life. Learning how to make one another happy can be seen as a valued goal for anyone in relationships.
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3 Skills Taught in Couples Therapy That All Couples Can Benefit From

We often think of marital therapy as a last resort. We assume that only couples with “serious” issues should seek it. We assume that only couples in dire straits can benefit. But all couples can enhance their relationship by learning the skills taught in couples therapy.

Licensed marriage and family therapist Robyn D’Angelo teaches skills that couples can use to address any topic. “[I]f we have the tools to understand, empathize, listen to and connect with our partners within and outside of conflict, we can have the fulfilling relationships that we were meant to have.”
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