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Do-it-yourself couples therapy – the best tips

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 196 views

Calm in bed, there is silence at the table and every little thing becomes a problem: A crisis in the partnership quickly weighs on you. Read here how do-it -yourself couples therapy works.

He spontaneously brings a bouquet of flowers, showers her with compliments, seeks out romantic places for togetherness. She slips on the chic shoes, although they’re a little tight, dares to wear the bright lipstick and raves about its advantages to her friends. In the dating phase, the sky is full of violins. But once the desired partner has been tamed, routine quickly sets in.

In 2019, the divorce rate in Germany was 35.8 percent. In addition, there are countless long-term relationships without a marriage license that are falling apart. What are the reasons for that?

Joint brainstorming: where is the problem?

Usually there is a lack of communication: Once you get angry, it is difficult to break out of the vicious circle and talk about problems calmly. This is exactly where a couples therapist comes in – albeit for an average fee of between 80 and 120 euros per hour. Not every couple can or wants to afford this, especially since the health insurance companies do not cover the costs.

Luckily, there are also ways to take matters into your own hands. The first hurdle in this task: finding out where the problem actually lies. The vague feeling of “It just doesn’t work anymore” needs to be fleshed out. Details are needed! This point is best addressed on a quiet Sunday when both partners are relaxed and at ease.

Together they should consider what has recently changed for the worse. Are either of you spending more time at work than you used to? Has the sound gotten rougher? Does one party pass on unpleasant tasks to the other? It is important to collect first, without wanting to immediately discuss every point. Otherwise the therapy session on the couch at home will turn into another argument.

Then the comments are sorted by priority: What bothers you the most, what is more of a minor annoyance? Only those who can call things by their proper name are able to find a solution.

Empathize with partners

Point two on the list: putting yourself in your partner’s shoes. This only works if both are honest in communicating how they feel. What goes on in your head when your partner leaves everything behind you again? And how does he feel when he is punished with silence?

If this step works, move on to point number three: Taking responsibility. Hand on heart: In the rarest of cases, one party alone is to blame. If you accept that you are contributing to the problem, it is easier to change your own behavior. That’s half the battle!

Reflect on your own behavior

From now on it’s down to business. Changing habits is difficult. According to experts, it takes at least 21 days to develop a new habit. The more stuck you were before, the more difficult it is of course. It is therefore important to monitor your own behavior closely. Is your partner annoyed by the nagging? Train yourself to take deep breaths before expressing your anger.

To praise is to love

The easiest way is to prevent problems. You have to be aware that love is a delicate little plant that needs to be nurtured for a lifetime. What do happy couples do differently? They maintain infatuation by simply not stopping the courtship phase. Even after decades together, you can still experience a sensual rendezvous with your partner. It helps to look through photo albums together to see the highlights of the relationship.

Important: Praise generously – to show your partner that you appreciate them and to show yourself what you have in each other. Researchers found that nine compliments outweigh one negative statement.

Inexpensive alternative to couples therapy

If all else fails, there is an inexpensive alternative to a couples therapist: marriage counseling. Evangelical and Catholic parishes throughout Germany offer talks with experts. When it comes to costs, they take the financial situation of those seeking help into account. The non-denominational organization “Pro Familia” also offers a comparable service.

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