COUPLES IN THERAPY: HOW TIME MAY BE ON YOUR SIDE
We are all guilty of wanting things (and being able to attain them) right away. We make one click on the computer and can expect our desired goods delivered within a day or two, sometimes even within hours. We can immediately share a thought or story with our loved ones via our phones or ask a question online and expect a quick response. And yes, we've become more impatient because of this light-speed communication via computer screens and then inevitably expect the same speed for our emotional requests, hopes, and desires.
Unfortunately, we cannot, nor will we, have one-click results regarding our relationships.
Aside from situations where safety is paramount or another urgent reason exists to make a quick decision, the average couple seeking therapy to improve their relationship, communication skills, and emotional connection can gift themselves some time. TIME to do the work, allow some TIME to naturally unfold and know that since it may have taken years to bring them to this point of marital/relationship disappointment, the changes cannot take place overnight and may need some TIME.
How TIME and PATIENCE can be vital to your relationship successes
When it comes to time and patience, I often think of my father-in-law, of blessed memory, and the infamous "tree" story. When we lived in Arizona, my father and mother-in-law had a house on our street that they owned and rented out to vacationers. They asked me to help with their property management, and I gave them updates on the house. I often surveyed their yard as I drove by, and one day I noticed that a tree (a small pine tree of sorts; like a small, simple, undecorated Christmas tree) stood front and center on its own, seemingly to be going downhill. It wasn't long before I drove by, noticing how brittle it had become, and I felt confident that it had died and, therefore, would need to be removed.
"Dad, it's dead. Let's have your lawn service cut it down."
His response: "No...let's give it some time. I'm sure it will be ok."
This conversation often occurred because he would not let me chop down that tree for around two years! It stood there looking brittle and, quite frankly, dead, and I could not understand his desire to "leave it be."
Two years later, I drove by one day, looked at the yard as I typically did, and had to put on the brakes quickly. "Do I see a green leaf on that tree?" I parked, went up to the tree to inspect it, and there it was...one green leaf, on one brittle-looking branch. Still, I felt we should remove it, but I had a glimpse of hope from that one green leaf.
Well, as you may have guessed, the green leaves multiplied over time, and wouldn't you know it? The tree I wanted to chop down became full, green, and vibrant again. LESSON LEARNED! I will forever remember this experience in many life scenarios (including gardening!). I specifically and numerously witness this possibility for miraculous growth in couples therapy.
COUPLES THERAPY REQUIRES COMMITMENT and DETERMINATION...and YES, TIME and PATIENCE
If you are in a relationship that is struggling, consider the following:
There is no one-click solution to your relationship problem but a multi-faceted, multi-layered journey toward growth and sincere connection.
It may have taken years to get to this place. Allow some time to work on repairing that which is damaged. What is the period of 6 months to a year (or more) after being together for so long?
Seek a therapist who specializes in working with couples for this exceptional attention to relationship work.
The different stages in your personal life can impact how your relationship develops and vice versa. It's essential to examine the interplay between them.
If you are at a crossroads of trying to decide which direction you want to proceed, allow therapy to be a PAUSE so that you can HEAL, gain CLARITY, and experience the combination of TIME, PATIENCE, and COUPLES WORK (COMMITMENT AND DETERMINATION) to help rebuild that which is lost.
Some couples wonder, "What if I don't want to waste any more time and decide quickly?" This feeling is understandable, familiar to many in our quick one-click society, and very personal.....
At the same TIME.....