Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP
Relationship Help 101
I have posted a great Relationship Help 101 article from February 2013 that gives great support to new skills that are developed in couples therapy. One of those skills is learning to take the other person’s perspective. In marriage and in other relationships, we often believe that the other person’s behavior or attitudes are related to us or are threatening to us when most often, the other’s attitudes and behaviors are about them and their own perspective. Most people are familiar with this and understand the importance of doing this yet emotions in the relationship prevent them from taking the other’s perspective. In therapy we first work to reduce the tension perpetuating gridlock and then explore the other’s perspective. In therapy, I often refer to Steven Covey’s habit of “Seek to understand before being understood,” when explaining the importance of this skill.
If one or a couple is not ready to embark upon a journey in couples therapy, I would suggest engaging in the example outlined in the study below as a relationship self help measure.
The Huffington Post:
While millions of couples spend hours trying to learn how to improve their marriages through books or therapy, one recent study found that sustaining a happy marriage may only take 21 minutes, a pencil and a piece of paper.
A Northwestern University study set to be published in “Psychological Science” later this year surveyed 120 married couples for two years about their relationship satisfaction, and asked them to describe their most significant recent arguments. During the second year, half of the couples were also asked to complete three seven-minute writing tasks — one task every four months — in which they wrote about the arguments they’d had in the preceding months from the perspective of a theoretical neutral third party who wanted the best for all involved. These couples were found to have greater relationship satisfaction than the couples who did not participate in the writing task.
Lead author Eli Finkel, a Northwestern psychology professor, talked with HuffPost Weddings about why this 21-minute writing task was so influential in sustaining marriage quality.
Read the whole story: The Huffington Post