Couples therapy is a type of psychotherapy focused on solving problems in a relationship. When working with a couple of therapists, forms of interaction, and individual and couple behaviors are discussed.
In this type of therapy, the two members of the couple speak to communicate their feelings and problems in a private environment and in which they feel safe. Talking about it allows patients to better understand themselves and the couple.
In particular, the couple therapist is trained to listen with empathy and acceptance and has solutions for various types of problems.
The couple therapy exercises that I will explain in this article will help you have a much happier and richer life. When you have a partner, it is normal to have arguments, misunderstandings, jealousy, and other problems of living together.
This can be a really strange problem, because it causes discomfort and you are not entirely happy.
COUPLES THERAPY 1: LOOK AT YOUR PARTNER WITH UNKNOWN EYES
Do you feel identified with this scene?
Alicia: I met your husband, I met him the other day, good, I didn’t know it was so funny!
Ana: Yes, it is very funny (with a smile).
However, what you’re really thinking about is “ how can you say you don’t live with him. If I told you.
As Antonio Bolinches, a specialist in couple therapy, explains in the relationship that a phenomenon that he calls the mathematics of feelings is taking place.
The mathematics of feelings, what he says is that, in the first years of your relationship with your partner, you see in the other a whole series of virtues that captivate you: it is very fun, very hardworking, charming.
However, after 8 years of marriage, your partner is no longer fun, but heavy, and no longer hardworking, but obsessed with work.
This explains why most separations or divorces occur after 10 years of marriage. The couple fails to see the virtues that initially surprised him, becoming their biggest flaws.
The members of these divorced or separated couples meet with another person who has the virtues that the other does not have. However, after a few years, the mathematics of feelings will return to acting, in which, again, the virtues will be seen as defects.
The proof is that, as Bolinches was able to verify, 50% of the people who separate from the couple and start with another, after a while, regret it.
Following the initial example, the exercise I propose to remedy this phenomenon is that you try to put yourself in Alicia’s eyes for a moment.
It is an exercise in imagination.
The moment you see your partner confused by something, for example, walking down the street talking to someone or at home busy doing something, do the exercise of watching them as if you were seeing them for the first time.
Observe how it unfolds, its way of interacting with others, its movements, its gestures. Do this with an external appearance. Is there anything that captivates you? What do you like?
Think that at the moment that captivated you, but with the time you have only the contaminated image of discussions, disagreements, and routine.
Putting yourself in the shoes of a stranger can make you see the things your partner was hiding day after day, but are still there. You just lost sight of them.
COUPLES THERAPY 2: I AM YOU AND YOU ARE ME
The basis of most partner problems and the basis of most discussions is a lack of empathy for each other’s feelings.
Discussions can be for various reasons: communication problems, money, sex, housework, children’s education, etc. However, they all have in common that if you are arguing, it is because you feel that your partner is not understanding you.
Learning to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and understand what he feels is the key to a satisfying relationship.
But, like everything in life, it costs an effort and requires practice. To this end, I propose an exercise in changing roles.
After a discussion in which you have reached no understanding, propose the following to your partner:
We will make me and you are me. We will have the discussion we had again, but each of them will talk and argue from the other’s point of view. Let’s see what happens.
What ends up happening is that this exercise offers a perspective on how one aspect of a person’s situation is perceived by the other.
If you do this exercise every time you have an argument with your partner in which you have not reached an agreement, you will find that each time you more easily put yourself in their shoes and understand their feelings. Thus, discussions will be increasingly brief, less frequent, and more civilized.
COUPLES THERAPY 3: LEARN TO COMMUNICATE
Do you have difficulty communicating with your partner? Communication is one of the main aspects of the relationship.
The couple’s good communication is a sign of consistency within the couple. On the contrary, communication is a sign of a weakened relationship and, therefore, with a greater risk of crisis and disagreement.
Assess how communication with your partner is. In general, we can find two types of communication problems:
COMMUNICATIONAL QUANTITY 1
There may be a lack of communication, that is, you have adopted the dynamic of not telling you much about things.
For example, the things that happen in your daily life, aspects of work, or aspects that have more to do with your partner, such as saying the things you like and dislike about him or talking about his feelings.
It is evident that the lack of communication causes a great distance and, in the long run, a feeling of emptiness. Also, communication deficit causes more communication deficits. Like the less you count, the less you want to count. And so on.
To solve this problem, I propose that you have patience with your partner, 30 minutes a day of communication alone, without anyone bothering you. These 30 minutes a day are intended to sit and talk.
It could be anything: how you worked at work, what you would like to do over the weekend, the news you saw in the newspaper, or how you would like your partner to be more affectionate.
When you put this communication time into practice a day, you realize that you have difficulty communicating, that is, in terms of quality, then add the exercise that I present below.
COMMUNICATION QUALITY 2
Another communication problem in the couple has nothing to do with the amount of communication, but with the quality of communication.
The quality of communication has to do with changing speech, trying to understand what your partner is saying, speaking in an appropriate tone, without using words like weapons, etc.
Analyze how communication with your partner is at the quality level. If you think you are communicating, but you are not doing it correctly and have difficulty reaching agreements and understandings during a discussion, you must learn to communicate in a more effective and functional way.
For this, I propose an exercise to improve the quality of communication with your partner:
Plan something fun to do within 30 minutes of completing the exercise
Person A speaks for 10 minutes (he has the right to consume every minute).
Person B listens actively and silently (clarifying only if necessary). Even if you don’t agree with what person A is saying, respect your 10 minutes without intervening.
Person B speaks for 10 minutes (he has the right to consume every minute).
Person A listens actively and silently (clarifying only if necessary). Even if you don’t agree with what person A is saying, respect your 10 minutes without intervening.
Person B returns for 5 minutes the thoughts, feelings and actions that A expressed in a sign that he understood (no evaluation or opinion can be made).
Person B returns for 5 minutes the thoughts, feelings, and actions that A expressed in a sign that he understood (no evaluation or opinion can be made).
Walk together to carry out the activity that you had initially proposed without talking about it, just focus on enjoying it.
It is training to learn communication skills. In the beginning, it will be very mechanical and artificial, but in doing so, you will see how you do it more and more and more spontaneously and naturally.
This is an exercise in understanding the other. Being able to understand the other is fundamentally based on one main aspect: knowing how to listen.
When you are able to understand your partner, there is no need to come up with solutions.
COUPLES THERAPY 4: MAKE A LIST OF FUN THINGS
What are the 10 things you like to do together? This is a very useful and easy exercise to regain the illusion with your partner.
Often, routine takes over life as a couple. If you think you’ve entered that dynamic, fix it as soon as possible. Fortunately, it’s a problem with an easy solution. Don’t let this deteriorate your relationship.
Simply make a list of 10 things you like or would like to do together with your partner. After the list is made, make sure to go through at least one item on the list each month.
You can see how quickly you return to the illusion of doing things together and leaving the routine you were in behind.
It is an easy exercise, with very quick and positive effects on the couple. Why not try?
COUPLES THERAPY 5: 15 MINUTES OF TENDERNESS
This exercise that I propose below aims to help you to have more approach and physical contact with your partner.
It consists of sitting comfortably with your partner on the sofa or on two chairs, facing each other. Remove all accessories, such as glasses, bracelets, watches, etc.
Start stroking your partner’s hair. You can massage your head with a gentle touch. In the meantime, close your eyes and focus on consciously feeling the touch of your hair and head. Do this for 10 minutes.
He then caresses her face. And as if you were touching for the first time, gently explore with your hands what the forehead, eyebrows, eyes, cheeks, ears, nose, lips, and chin are like. Do it for 5 minutes.
The person receiving the caresses should focus on how he feels them.
If at any time you don’t like how your partner is doing it, either because he is too strong or too weak, it is advisable to stop and communicate positively: “Can you make him a little softer?” “You are being very tough.”
After the 15 minutes, talk about what you felt during the exercise. For example: “Your hair is very soft”, “I felt pampered”, “I really liked it when you touched my ears”.
Now change roles and repeat the exercise. It doesn’t have to be the same day. You can spend a few days agreeing the next time you do this.
COUPLES THERAPY 6: JUST HUG HIM
This is another exercise designed to get closer to your partner and have more moments of physical contact that provide you with greater security, affection, and tenderness.
It works well for couples who have distanced themselves physically and for those where, normally the woman, feels that she does not want to agree to kiss or have physical contact with her partner because she realizes that this will lead her to have sex.
One way to resolve this conflict is to introduce frequent hugs that have a non-sexual claim, but one of warmth, warmth and tenderness.
Hug you in the kitchen, in the garage, in the garden, in the elevator, wherever you are. Just feel how stress falls on your partner’s body, watch your body heat, just that.
Try to hold the hug for a few minutes, let yourself fall on your partner.
This simple exercise has surprising results. It may even lead to reflecting the couple’s passion.