Brandon Engler, Massachusetts, LPCC
We often talk about mental health as an individual phenomenon that a person must face alone. But relationships, especially romantic relationships, are at the heart of our mental health.
Here are three steps to a happier, healthier relationship (your results may vary).
Step 1: Identify and tackle your own insecurities. There is an old saying, “No one escapes childhood unscathed.” It is imperative that you identify how your own experiences in childhood and later relationships affected you. For example, you may have gone through a difficult breakup, or a close friend betrayed you or left you. These experiences naturally and generally lead to anxiety. Once identified, you can begin to feel safer by challenging your core, uncertain beliefs.
Step 2: Avoid the Four Horsemen. John Gottman, a leading research scientist in the United States and one of his couples therapists, identifies four of his behaviors that harm couples during conflicts. These actions are criticism, defense, contempt, and obstruction. Criticism is “you never take out the trash”, defense is “yeah, you never wash the dishes”, disrespect is swearing and insulting someone’s character, disturbance is ignoring and walking away. , is to shut down. Studies have shown that these behaviors predict divorce with over 90% accuracy.The key to reducing these behaviors is to calm yourself and your partner. Discuss with your partner what you can do to take breaks during the discussion. When you or your partner’s Four Horsemen become aware, take a 30-minute break, do something relaxing, and don’t ruminate on the argument during that time. For more information on this and other topics related to couples, visit Gottman’s Institute online.
Step 3: Make time for each other. So many parents and couples struggle to manage their time and energy for their children, their jobs, their bills, and if they’re lucky, their social lives. Quality time with your spouse. It’s very common for couples to start feeling like “roommates” when they don’t spend enough time with each other and only talk about tasks that need to be completed. Then here’s something that might help: If you’re not good at planning, create a checklist with your partner of things you want to do each week and check them off as you go.
Hopefully, following these steps and maintaining them, you will notice more intimacy, intimacy, and connection, and less aggravation. Wait seven years to get in. Relationship problems get worse the longer you don’t address them. Research-based couples therapy may be one of the most important tools couples have. If you have children, one of the best things you can do for them is to improve your relationship with your partner. am.
“Brandon is a licensed counselor candidate working in northern Colorado. He graduated from the University of West Florida with a master’s degree in psychology and has completed over 2000 hours of supervised clinical research Brandon is for teens 12+, adults of all ages, and couples.”