Here’s a brief thought for couples considering counseling in Plano: Spend time thinking about your spouse. This will improve your connection with them and improve your communication.
But there are some caveats: no negative thoughts, criticisms, complaints, aggravations, those kinds of things. Instead, thinking about how they feel, how they are doing, what their experiences are like during different parts of their day, their perspective on things. Let that be your frame of reference.
Why is this important?
Here’s why thinking about and how you are thinking about your partner are both so important.
What we think about informs what we say. And much more, the other person we are with is picking up every piece of unconscious material within and about us and between us. In fact, there’s most likely a feeling your partner is having about you before you even say a word. And if you have been informing and absorbing your mind with negativity about your partner then this other person will certainly pick that up and not only will it break your connection but it will distort and disengage your communication. And like many couples the safest place to go is to scroll through your phone at the table.
Don’t you remember what it felt like when you were a child and you were invited to a birthday party by your friend and you were a bit anxious about the other kids there? You knew your friend but you didn’t know whether you would be included in their friend group. And really all of that is based on how your friend thinks about you. Whether it’s a close friend or one who’s not so reliable. That really determines how you’ll be included with the whole group. How they think about you. We can sense when others are looking out for us.
Or, here’s another scenario. Remember what it was like as a child when you and your friends were picking teams? You’re standing there in the group waiting to be picked and you already know who is going to pick you and when – not based on your communication but based on how they felt about you. What they thought about you. And you knew deep down if both the people picking teams didn’t think well of you that you just knew you were going to be the last one to be picked. Not fun.
Things like that really don’t change. And this other person who’s your partner has been wondering all week long what you think about them, how you feel about them. Just like you have been.
What is a potential scenario that may be discussed with couples during counseling?
You have a dinner date planned for a Thursday night, just the two of you. Right now it’s Sunday evening. Not a lot more was said, you just agreed: Thursday night, dinner date together, it’s on the calendar.
The idea here is to make Thursday night the very best opportunity for the two of you to be close and connected.
Many couples believe they have communication problems when in reality many of us have problems about how we think about our partners before we even say a word to them and this sets the tone and mood for how we communicate and how we come across.
And for many a dinner date is not even planned because they know already that just communicating or talking will draw them into an unhealthy cycle of fighting and getting hurt.
So let’s go back to Sunday night.
Here’s what you do: put aside whatever you might be doing as most of us do on a Sunday night to relax. Get somewhere quiet and maybe you want to sit and do nothing and think or do something and think – it doesn’t matter, you just want to think for 30 minutes. Your task is to think about your partner for 30 minutes and how you feel about them. Just notice what feelings come up. This is the time to let go of what you can let go of or maybe some of these are big things and then they need to just be put in a safe container to be dealt with later, not this Thursday night. Because this Thursday night is a time to relax with each other, let your guards down, and connect and be together.
It is important to validate the feelings that you have toward your partner, the good, the bad and the ugly. If there are big issues that haven’t been resolved, now is the time to simply validate how you feel and try as much as you can to contain those in a safe place in your mind and heart. Envision yourself putting those in some kind of sacred mental place to be taken out and dealt with when you choose, but not this Thursday night.
Monday morning: as soon as your eyes open focus your attention on your partner and put them in the frame of your mind. There might be a tension between the good and the bad and the ugly again, but from here until Thursday we’re going to focus on the positive and the potential. Not the potential that we want our partner to be. But just – the potential, the possible even though we think it might be impossible. For some it might be helpful to click the photos on your phone and pull up an endearing picture of your partner and just look at them and appreciate them. Now, for the first few minutes of your day let your partner become the focus of your mind. Think about what their Monday will be like today. What they will face, what they might think, what they might feel, and what they might do.
Now it’s sometime mid-day on Monday. This is where you notice. By notice I mean this. Remember when you were younger? And you would look up in the sunshine in your house, in a room and see just a small speck of dust like a tiny fiber just floating round and round twisting and turning everywhere? And your gaze and your thought and your focus was intently on that little piece of thing just floating around by itself and you were just enamored with it. Focused and didn’t want to be interrupted? Yeah, I know this is silly. But this is actually what I’m talking about by noticing. Any moment in your midday on this Monday I want you to pay attention to when you notice your partner. And as soon as you notice, let everything in you lock on. And take them in and think about them. What are they doing right now? What are they feeling right now? What are they thinking right now? Where are they right now? What’s on their mind?
Now it’s Monday evening and for most of us all hell has broken loose, right? You’re together, the family’s together, the kids are there, the dogs, the cats, the hamsters, the phone, the news, everything. You’re in this crazy soup together and it’s all mixed up. But as you’re in this just take a step back mentally and take your partner into your thoughts and what they might be feeling in the midst of all this too.
Observe. Not with a critical eye of what they can do better or what they need to correct or what they need to work on or what they need to change or what’s wrong. Just observe how they might be thinking, and feeling. Then as you observe, try to notice and reflect.
I think one thing that you’ll notice is a huge competition for your attention right? News, social media, the kids, the phone, emails, all kinds of stuff. But I want you to remember that you have a dinner date coming up on Thursday night with your partner who is right there with you in this soup right now. And, ouch! If you haven’t been thinking about them positively earlier today… Well, it will be almost impossible now. Then just start over.
And this would be the hard conversation with yourself on just how much attention you’re giving to so many other things than your partner.
Something has to go. And it’s not them. Just like it’s not you.
So, Monday night is the same thing as Sunday night – you spend some more time tuning out of everything else and focusing your mind and thinking about them. Removing the negative once again and focusing on so many positives of this wonderful person that you committed to that you’ll spend one-on-one time this coming Thursday night.
Tuesday and Wednesday: same thing.
“Same thing,” Remember? Morning – midday – and evening, right?
Thursday: The same approach as Sunday through Wednesday. They’re on your mind in a good way and now you’re finally together headed to dinner.
And dinner is for another post another time. For right now, just think.
If you need more advice about counseling in Plano or if you’re looking for a professional counselor, we would love to talk with you. Our training, experience, and openness will allow us to walk alongside you, to be with you every step of the way as you get things back on track.
Or you can Request a consultation now.