Relationships are not always a walk in the park. Many of us experience challengers many times and in various kinds of relationships.

For this reason I’ve decided to write this piece not as a “5 steps to a healthier…..” but just as a conversation piece.

I’ve been counselling for a while now and I have had a variety of client’s whom I have a lot of respect for no matter the circumstance. I do my best to hear each individual’s narrative and to listen to understand….not to judge. That doesn’t mean I don’t have a different opinion at times, trust me, I do. It is important however for each of us to feel heard without interruption. It is also important to feel validated especially if we are disclosing something that places us in a vulnerable position.

I don’t know about you however if my partner listens to me without interrupting and or wanting to reply I actually feel heard. Once I have spoken and my partner says something like “I am honoured that you trusted in me enough to share this with me or it saddens me that you are feeling this way” or something similar then I feel validated. It lets me know I’m not being judged, criticised or that my thoughts and feelings are wrong. It allows me to feel safe in sharing with my partner.

Many couples want to be right. Or they want to find fault in their partner and this is alright if you want to end up with an unhealthy relationship. It is always important to do a bit of self reflection, yes you are going to hear it again….you need to have a good relationship with yourself before you can have a healthy relationship with another. Some come to counselling thinking that the counsellor can fix him or her….when I say this is not possible it is a huge surprise, especially to the partner whom thinks they don’t have a role in this dynamic . We all own our part. We also need to give 100% each, not 50, not 110%…. 100%!

Ask yourself-

How I can be a better version of myself, what I can do to get the outcome I/we want. These are helpful questions to reflect on. This can help motivate you to take ownership of your part therefore become proactive in getting a better outcome.