If you’re in a relationship that is on the verge of ending, I feel your pain. Not only are you hurting like hell right now, but also you’ll be feeling lost and confused. Your life seems like a rollercoaster ride from hell at the moment. And not to mention a rollercoaster that doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon to let you off, right? At the present time, you may be considering couples therapy. But before you do that, let me share with you 25 Ways to Save Your Relationship Before Going to Couples Therapy.
The first thing to remember is that what follows, isn’t in any particular order of priority or importance. With this in mind, all the following couples therapy tips and strategies will have varying levels of impact for you. Therefore you are free to reach your own conclusions which of these couples therapy tips will help you the most.
1. A Moment of Insecurity
So right now emotions are high, right? Perhaps the thought of couples therapy is adding to that!
The overriding reason why you (and your partner) are feeling so unhappy right now is this…
You are having a moment of insecurity!
Not only that but have been having extended periods of time in that moment of insecurity.
A moment of insecurity is, in other words, a time of negative thoughts and emotions about yourself, others or the situation.
Even though you’re trying to fix things, the problem is that whilst in this moment of insecurity, your intellect is low.
To clarify what I mean, when we have moments of insecurity, our intellect drops and all we can manage are low-quality thoughts and emotions.
So long as you’re having a moment of insecurity, you should avoid trying to fix this situation. You will get yourself into more trouble with low-quality thoughts, feelings, and poor choices.
When you’re having a moment of insecurity, it’s important to realise, that you should simply start to have awareness of it. Just acknowledge it as just a moment of insecurity.
Like the tides, moments of insecurity will come and go.
A great way to get out of a moment of insecurity is to simply be aware that it is happening. Simply acknowledge a mood as a moment of insecurity. That’s it! This alone is my most powerful couples therapy tip.
In order to understand how you’ve come to experience this insecurity, in need to now explain to you, your…
2. Three Core Fears
Humans have a primary need. We need to feel and recieve love.
Think about it!
When a child is born, they are suddenly taken away from the comfort and safety of the womb. The child had been in there for 9 months growing and developing. The sounds of their mother’s heartbeat and other sounds going on in the world outside. The womb became their world.
Then suddenly, they leave that warm place and the world is bright and cold and alien. They suddenly feel vulnerable.
But then mother holds baby close to her breast for the first time and baby feels warm and secure again. That familiar beat of her heart beat against baby’s ear and her reassuring voice baby knows so well.
Baby knows in that moment, they are loved, they’re wanted and they belong. And so baby feels safe and secure again
The Three Core Fears are primal feelings. Everybody has the same three core fears, no matter who we are or where they come from.
And they are: –
- A Fear of not being loved
- The Fear of not belonging
- Fear of not being good enough
With this in mind, let’s say that your partner has had an affair and there are all these feelings of betrayal and hurt. Maybe your believe you somehow drove your partner to that affair. You’re scared perhaps of the relationship ending and having to date again.
All these thoughts and feelings are compounding each other and you feel more and more unhappy.
It’s like a snowflake compounding with another and another until that one snowflake becomes an avalanche.
But what these thoughts and feeling are, is the cumulative effect of your three core fears.
3. Don’t over Think Things!
A moment of insecurity and therefore your three core fears are fuelled by unresourceful or negative thoughts.
These thoughts lead to negative and unresourceful emotions, which then triggers more negative thoughts. And so on and so on!
Before you know it, that avalanche is crashing down the mountain!
Generally speaking, when people are having a moment of insecurity, it’s because they are lost in bad thoughts.
People get lost in these thoughts because of a lack of awareness of these patterns of thoughts.
So the first step is to start to notice your thoughts. When you notice these bad thoughts, just acknowledge them as a moment of insecurity. Remind yourself it will pass.
And let it pass! Don’t try to fix it or work it out.
The more you do this, the more you’ll reduce all the white noise in your head.
4. The Power of a Change of Heart
If you want to save your relationship before going to couples therapy, another great tip for you is this.
When I told my wife that I wanted to end our marriage, I was lost in a moment of insecurity. Due to the power of a change of heart, I realised that what I was doing wasn’t the solution to the problems I believed were real.
I have already shared that you shouldn’t try to fix anything when you’re lost in the thoughts that drive a moment of insecurity.
But under those circumstances, the way to beat the low-quality thoughts is to trigger a change of heart.
For me, the way I did this was to go back to the day Lisa and I met. The reason why I fell in love with her, what I enjoyed and loved about her. I also found myself looking at the situation from her point of view. And I realised the fears that would have been playing with her.
To put it another way, I had a change of heart and broke my moment of insecurity.
The result was that better, high-quality thoughts came back to me. This allowed me to think more rationally and that’s when it hit me. I had to save my marriage. The reasons I gave myself before about ending it were suddenly irrelevant and not valid.
5. Understanding Is Key
Another way to create a change of heart and to reconnect with your partner is to increase your understanding of them. This is a powerful method that will help you to save your relationship before going to couples therapy.
Get more curious about your partner! Learn how they have formed their beliefs about things. Learn where their values came from.
Become your partner’s student and learn from them.
This isn’t about agreeing with their values and beliefs, it’s about accepting them and honoring them. It’s about appreciating their truth, not forcing on them yours.
The key to this is a change of heart!
6. Drop Your Need for Judgment
In relationships, there isn’t room for judgment. Love is about accepting each other for what and who they are.
Rather than judging someone badly for their beliefs, values and behaviors, get curious about how they do that.
Coming from a place of curiosity puts you back into your heart space. By doing this, you will drop any need for judgment, where judgment comes from the head space.
Dropping the need for judgment will help couples to avoid couples therapy.
7. The past Doesn’t Equal the Future
It’s important to remember, the past does not equal the future!
In spite of what you might think. If you or your partner has done something regrettable, it doesn’t mean you or they’ll do it again.
Learn something about what happened in the past and use it to move forwards for a better experience. My couples therapy sessions can help you both with this and much more.
8. Look Inside
So many people place their need for certainty in other people, in places or in things.
For example, some people place their need for certainty in the weather man, or the courier delivering on time. Other people place their certainty in their favorite restaurant or on that object.
This can be a problem. Because sometimes this person, place or thing doesn’t give you that level of certainty that they’re used to. And when this happens, they experience massive uncertainty!
Can you guess what happens next?
Yes, that’s right!
The three core fears come into effect and a moment of insecurity takes over.
In addition, most people then respond with further unresourceful behavior. They try to regain a feeling of certainty in unresourceful ways.
Some people will scream and shout. Others will descend within themselves with depression. Then there is the extreme where people respond with violence.
All this is really about is taking people hostage, to regain a sense of control. Control is simply a variation of a need for certainty.
By far the greatest way to fulfill your need for certainty is to look inside. Learn how to back yourself more, love yourself more.
It’s about having certainty in yourself and knowing that you are doing the best that you can.
My couples therapy sessions will show you how to look inside for certainty if this is something alien to you.
9. Increase Your Capacity for Uncertainty
When people are over satisfying their need for certainty, they will likely be feeling bored.
This is one reason why some people may have affairs!
So, therefore, the flip side of having a need for certainty is a need for Variety (uncertainty).
We simply need variety in our lives.
In reality, many people satisfy their need for variety in poor ways. For example, having affairs, alcohol or drug abuse, engaging in violence to name a few.
If you’re looking for a great way to avoid couples therapy, you and your partner should look for high-quality ways to give you variety.
Change how you do things. Do something different. Break away from the norm. Have date nights. Role plays in the bedroom. Get a new hobby. Do a dance or cooking class together. Join a club. Drive a different route to work. Get out of your comfort zone.
Be sure to balance your variety with certainty, though. Because if you over do variety, you will start to lack certainty and you’ll begin to feel overwhelmed by life!
My couples therapy sessions show people how to increase their capacity for uncertainty.
10. Be a Significance Giver!
People have a need to feel significant about themselves. It’s human nature.
On the positive side, this is a good thing.
I find many people look at significance in a bad way. It’s ok to feel good about ourselves.
In my experience, many people take significance. In other words, people get significance from others by demanding it.
For example, the person you know who boasts a lot. The person at work who talks over others or interrupts in conversations.
It’s about them needing to feel significant, as we all do, but they do it by getting the significance.
Take care of your need for significance by giving it!
Pay people compliments. Express your love for your partner by telling them what you love about them. Praise goes a long way.
By giving significance, you immediately feel significant.
This is a balance, though!
Too much significance and we lose a sense of connection to people. Not enough and you feel insignificant.
On the negative side, we would expect others to show us that we’re worthy. On the positive side, it would encourage us to raise our standards.
This alone is a powerful couples therapy tip. Give your partner significance and watch them light up. Then notice how much significance that gives you.
11. Don’t Be a Drama Queen!
We are alive today, because when we were born, were loved. We have a need for love.
On the negative side, there are people who feel loved in poor ways.
People who always have a problem to share and don’t intend to solve the issues are trying to fulfill their need for love and connection.
You know the sort. These are the people who complain, whinge and whine all the time.
They are the people who cry wolf. It sounds harsh, but some people take overdoses as a cry for help. Some take overdoses as a way to create the attention they crave.
All they want is some attention to feel loved or at least feel a connection to others.
But there is a better way!
On the positive side, helping people is a great way to connect with them. Lift them up when they are down.
Connecting through common interests and passions. Through nature, faith or by sharing are some great examples.
Show your partner you love them with acts of love.
12. Grow Yourself More
As people, we need to feel like we’re growing to feel happy. This is being happy at a spiritual level.
Think of a potato for example. If it’s not growing, it’s dying!
So look for ways to grow continuously. Learn about yourself and your partner. Do courses together, get out of your comfort zone. Have new experiences, travel whenever you can.
And as you do this, you’ll automatically satisfy your need for variety and connection.
People have a need to contribute in order to feel happy. If you’re not contributing then you will feel unhappy at a spiritual level.
Contribute to your relationship will help you to avoid couples therapy and regain a sense of happiness.
14. Her Primary Needs
This one is for the guys especially.
We’re still hard wired the same way as we were when we were cavemen!
Your wife, fiancée or girlfriend is still hard-wired the way females were when we lived in caves.
So whilst you were out hunting animals to eat and furs to wrap around our bodies, your lady was back in the cave.
She needed to feel safe and warm. Otherwise, how could she conceive children, not to mention raise them, if she felt in danger?
And that feeling started with you and how she felt safe with you.
Today, the caves have gone, but that primary, yet primal need, is still with her.
In other words, you must always ensure that your lady feels warm, safe and secure because of you. It’s not about providing her material wants and needs. It’s about ensuring that spiritually, she feels safe and secure with YOU.
If your partner views you as a boy, then she won’t feel safe and secure and she’ll be unhappy. That will then trigger her three core fears and insecurities.
Who knows what she’ll do to regain that happiness. Ultimately she’ll leave you, but more unlikely if there are children at home.
Because her purpose will be to make the children feel safe and secure too. If she left “the cave” that need becomes an uncertainty!
15. His Primary Needs
This one’s for the ladies. Again this goes back to our caveman ancestry!
Whilst you were at home in the cave, trying to stay safe and warm, whilst bearing and raising children, your man was out hunting.
Every day, he left the safety of the cave and was highly vulnerable whilst hunting for food.
For your man to do that, he needed to feel that you were completely loyal to him. He was putting his life in danger for you. So that feeling of loyalty from you gave him the motivation he needed to get out there and hunt. To put it another way, you were his reason and his motivation.
To put it differently, loyalty was about him knowing that you loved him explicitly, that you respected him and supported him.
So today, things have moved on, except his primary and primal need for your loyalty. Support him, love him, back him up when he needs it and he’ll always be yours.
Without that, your man will feel unhappy.
That will then trigger his three core fears and insecurities. Who knows what he’ll do to regain that happiness. Ultimately he’ll compensate for his perceived lack of your loyalty elsewhere.
16. Deep Love Strategy
Think of that moment when you fell madly in love with your partner!
What was it about your partner in that moment, that told you that he / she was the one?
Was it the way the looked or presented them self to you in some way? Something they wore, a look on their face, or their posture for example?
Was it something about how they sounded to you, their voice, the way they laughed, something they said or the way they said it?
Or perhaps it was a feeling that you had or the way your partner made you feel. The way your partner held you in a certain way. For example, when you fell for your partner, was it the way they held you from behind, whilst kissing the back of your neck?
So whatever the ingredients were for you falling in love with your partner, write those all down. Do your best to ensure the ingredients are in order of the original event.
This is your Deep Love Strategy!
Now share this with your partner, so that he / she can re-learn how to recreate that original buzz.
Ask your partner to share their deep love strategy with you too!
But make the conversation a little more romantic than a Q&A session.
Find a time when you can both talk uninterrupted with each other. Soft lighting, maybe some soft music and some red wine. Have some fun with it.
To out it another way, your Deep Love Strategy is the Big Why of your relationship!
17. Relationship Strategy
Your relationship strategy is a little different to your Deep Love Strategy.
Think about what your rules may be for your relationship, that allows you to be happy in your relationship!
What are your rules? To feel loved by your partner, what has to happen? What has to happen for you to have certainty that your partner loves you back?
If the rules to your relationship are like the set of rules for games like Monopoly, Cluedo or Risk etc, do you think that you’re going to be happy?
To put it another way, simplify the rules in your relationship.
It’s not about lowering your standards, it’s about making it easier for you to be happy in your relationship. And when you’re happy, life is easier.
18. See Things as You Are, Not as They Are
I truly believe that reality is an illusion. There is no such thing as an absolute reality.
The reality is subjective. We each “see” our world through our own unique set of filters!
As no two people’s filters can ever be the same, no two people’s reality of any event can ever be the same!
Therefore, you can only ever perceive things as you are, not as they are.
If you can understand this, then you will less likely have conflicts of opinion with your partner.
Again, this is about learning and appreciating how you and your partner think and perceive things as you do.
19. Let The Small Things Go!
Don’t sweat the small things. When people react to the small things, it is simply a moment of insecurity. It’s a moment when people question themselves and their three core fears are being triggered.
20. Problems are Opportunities in Disguise!
Very often, the people that I work with are drowning in problems. They are unhappy because of the number of problems that they believe they have.
All this is really about is that people have become lost in those negative thoughts and emotions again!
But what if you could start to look for opportunities in problems? What if you thought of problems as Gifts?
Okay, I admit, they are gifts wrapped in low-quality gift wrap, like a newspaper, but there is a gift in them.
It might not be seen straight away, so often the actual gift may be revealed later and when you’re ready to see it!
21. Be the Real Authentic Version of You
Most of the people I have worked with have three versions:
- The person they think they should be (to fit in)
- The person the fear others see them as
- Their true and real authentic self
As I’ve already mentioned, we just want to be loved. We seek validation and if we don;t feel that we have that, we experience our three core fears. At that moment we feel unhappy.
So people, in trying to fit in, we often try to be who we believe we need to be to fit in.
When we do that, when we try to pretend we’re something else, sometimes things can go wrong! What can happen is that people actually perceive the person in us that we are the most afraid of being seen as.
For example, trying to pretend we’re more confident than we really are. But instead, we are seen to be lacking motivation.
When we just allow ourselves to be our real authentic self, that is, no disguises and no pretending, people see that same version of us too.
And when people see the real you, you automatically are loved, belong and are good enough!
22. Drop Your Defenses!
Have you ever heard the saying – “You’re either IN or you’re OUT”?
It’s especially important in relationships!
You can’t be part in or a little bit out in relationships. For a relationship to succeed, one must be 100 per cent IN!
If you’re holding yourself back in a relationship, to protect yourself, just in case you get hurt, that’s not being 100 percent IN!
Wearing your heart on your sleeve in a relationship, that’s 100 per cent IN!
It’s saying, “Hey, I realise that I’m vulnerable, but I’m willing to give this my everything so that I can experience greatness.
Many of my clients are trying to protect themselves from pain with a protection strategy. But all the protection strategy does is attract the pain.
When you drop your defenses, you allow in the true happiness and joys of a relationship. So allow yourself to be vulnerable!
23. Make Your Relationship Weather Proof
Just like a house roof, if there is the tiniest of cracks in it, the rain water will find a way to get in. And if you don’t tend to those tiny little cracks, then you will have more to worry about than little drops of water when it next rains.
Make your relationship weather proof.
Notice the small things early and act on them.
Take the time to sit with your partner and discuss the little issues that may be happening and agree on a repair strategy.
24. Be Do Have
As yourself this question – “Who do I have to BE, and what do I need to DO, to HAVE the most amazing relationship, not just with my partner, but with myself?”
So for example:
BEING – this is about who you are being. Do you need to be more patient, more forgiving, be more romantic etc?
DO – what action steps could you take more of?
Make a habit of celebrating each other. When your partner does something new. They overcome a challenge or when you just want to acknowledge your partner. Mark it with a celebration.
However small or large, celebrate yourself and your partner at any opportunity. It is a great act of love for your partner (and yourself).
And that concludes my 25 Ways to Save Your Relationship Before Going to Couples Therapy.
I dearly hope that you will consider implementing these tips and strategies into your relationship. I am very sure that if you do your best with these, you can avoid going to couples therapy.
But if couples therapy is the direction that you and your partner need to go, because you are both unable or unwilling to talk to each other right now, then I am here to help you both.
Get in touch with me today to discover more about my couples therapy or to book your first session.