We needed help. My husband and I had been married for a few years when we sought out professional help. I loved him, but didn't like him very much! Weekend-after-weekend, so many unresolved issues robbed us of any potential for enjoyment, and even in the absence of any "major" relationship issues, we were unable to talk with one another without an argument starting, regardless if the topic was "what should we do for fun today" or "where should we place the new toaster?". We needed help, and I wanted to share with you what I learned, in hopes that it may help others with similar communication stumbling blocks.
1. "I'm not sure why you two are in need of counseling", said our counselor, who was actually surprised that we were in his office. My husband and I were all smiles and happy with each other during our first day of counseling. This facade soon changed, as our "politeness" wore off and our counselor began seeing some of our issues and struggles.
It was helpful to have a trusted counselor provide feedback that we did have a healthy relationship, we loved each other, we have some communication issues and "called us out" individually on changes we needed to make in our listening and communicating. I have always prided myself on my excellent communication skills, but after my husband shared his feelings during a particular counseling session, and the counselor looked at me and asked me to paraphrase what I heard...I realized I had not actually been listening after the first few sentences.
2. "Assume the best". Our counselor quickly realized that I am a "planner", and make decisions based on what possible negative consequences the future might hold. I take calculated risks, and don't enjoy surprises. I can be spontaneous, as long as I trust the person and process. Our counselor said to me, "He (your husband) chose you for a reason. He is here at counseling with you. Have faith in the relationship, work diligently and thoughtfully on using kind words and assuming the best from each other.