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Couples Therapy: Learning to Accept Your Partner’s Influence
Couples Therapy Tips: Learning to Accept Influence
It may come as no surprise to you that many couples who come in for couples therapy want help just getting along. And “getting along” can be more complicated than it seems.
However, many couples tend to run into similar problems. And you just might relate! Understanding these common issues can help you know what to do to help your own relationship.
Today, you will learn more about a simple concept that can improve your relationship and your communication as a couple; learning to accept your partner’s influence. (Related Article: How to Accept Help From Others).
Marriage is a Dance
I’ve heard it said that marriage is a dance. You and your partner will work to learn how to effectively dance together throughout your lives. You will practice and coordinate and (hopefully) avoid tripping over each other. Good dancers know that effective partner dancing requires some give-and-take. Not surprisingly, the same principles apply to your marriage.
Part of learning how to happily exist in your marriage lies in how you and your partner share “power”. In other words, a lot of how you get along as a couple will depend on how you are able to share influence and decision making. And, as you may have already experienced, it can sometimes be a challenge to work as a team! (Related Article: Marriage Counseling- Team Building).
It is scary to willingly give up some of your control and vulnerability to your partner. And if you are struggling, just know you are not alone! Learning to be willing to compromise is a challenge and a learning experience. (Related Article: Promoting Partnership). Don’t be surprised if there are some growing pains along the way.
The Goal is Not To Win
Learning to accept each other’s influence becomes substantially easier when you are willing to give up winning. If you are fighting with your partner and you are “winning”, the reality is that you and your partner both lose.
The goal of effective communication and conflict resolution with your spouse should not be to crown the winner and call it a day. Your ultimate goal should be to reach understanding and to accept each other’s influence. The first step to accepting each other’s influence is to getting into the mindset that you are not an opponent to your partner. Instead, you and your partner are working together to oppose struggles and strife. (Related Article: Building Emotional Intimacy).
As you work to problem solve together instead of fighting against each other, you can have a better sense of togetherness. Being willing to accept each other’s influence also helps to increase your respect for each other and your trust in one another. (Related Article: How to Build Trust).
You Can Both Win
Accepting your partner’s influence can have a major positive impact on your marriage. This is especially true if you are in a heterosexual relationship and you are a male partner. In fact, Dr. John Gottman did extensive research on this exact topic. He found that “…even in the first few months of marriage, men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages, and are less likely to divorce than men who resist their wives’ influence” (Source). If you want your marriage to succeed long-term, then accepting your partner’s influence is a great place to start.
Giving up perceived power can be scary and intimidating. Your natural inclination will likely be to pursue winning. However, if you can be aware and notice these moments when you are leaning towards competition with your spouse, you will spot an opportunity to change. And making the conscious decision to work more for the “we” instead of the “me” will pay off. (Related Article: Marriage Myth- Good Marriages Come Naturally).
Couples Therapy Can Help You Accept Influence
The truth is that we will all struggle to accept our partners’ influence at one time or another. If you want help breaking the cycle, then couples therapy can help. A therapist can help you become more self aware. You will be able to notice when you are avoiding your partner’s influence and change how you tend to respond. Couples therapy can help you and your partner grow closer together and become a better team.
Are you ready to get started? Start couples therapy today in Orem, South Jordan, or Spanish Fork.
Written by Lauren Adkins