There is an old saying: It takes two to tango.
What is missing from this old adage is that it too it takes two to mend a relationship.
Often people seek help and dating advice in their last hour of desperation when they are about to get divorced. When this is the case, more often than not, a person wants to save the marriage and the other is nine and a half toes at the door.
Will couples therapy help you? It is certainly possible. Preparing to get the most out of couples therapy is one way to stack the odds in your favor to save your marriage.
RELATED: The 7 stages (almost) every marriage goes through before a major affair
Most couples begin couples therapy about seven years after they probably needed it.
Does this mean that the breakup is inevitable? No, but reparation and reconciliation will be a challenge, especially if only one person really wants it and the other feels hopeless that things are getting better.
However, if your partner agrees to go to couples counselingeven if it’s only to feel like they’ve done their best before going out, there’s hope.
In couples therapy, the goal is to understand the “fight” of couples. Hence the saying it takes two to tango.
Here are eight steps to help you get the most out of couples therapy
1. Know your beginning or introductory stages.
Problems in the relationship start early, often before people are fully committed to each other. Think about how you met, what drew you to this person, and any hesitations you may have had but never resolved.
2. Be prepared to follow your combat cycle.
Identify and acknowledge your faults rather than those of your partner.
People are experts at predicting what their partner will say or do, but less likely to look within and examine their own input and reactions
3. Be prepared to hear each other’s concerns with an open heart and an open mind.
Be open to listening, even if you don’t entirely agree with their story. What most people want is recognition. In other words, they want their partner to experience their pain. rather than proving why they are 100% right.
4. Be prepared to show that you care about how your end of the fight contributed to the breakdown.
Ignoring your part of the disagreement doesn’t help the other person feel confident that you feel their pain.
5. Be brave enough to say what isn’t your fault in an assertive, non-defensive way.
People are often criticized for not always listening or not knowing what the other person wants. When this happens, you can calmly say, “I hear what you’re saying, but I have a
difficult to agree with you on this and I would like you to try to see things from my point of view. Are you ready to do this?
6. Be brave enough to share your own vulnerabilities.
When another person sees your softer side and is convinced that you see theirs, they can go from nine toes to one foot in it.
Stay open enough to share your insecurities, anxious thoughts, and how you overcompensate for your shortcomings.
7. Keep your dialogue in the “I”.
It goes back to number one. Correcting your partner when they express problems is not sharing your vulnerabilities.
Related stories from YourTango:
It is actually judging the other person.
Instead, say something that lets your partner know when they’re doing certain things, with your experience based on what happened.
Ask if your partner is capable of changing what he is doing. So listen why or why it ain’t possible.
8. Know that just because someone doesn’t do what you want doesn’t mean they don’t like you.
If your partner rarely gives in or offers a compromise, his ability to love you is quite limited.
Maura Matarese, is a licensed psychotherapist and author. In his book Finding Hope in Crisis: A Therapist’s Perspective on Love, Loss, and Courage she helps people find a happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship.