Table of contents:
- The author of these lines has been working as a family psychologist for over 20 years. More often than any others, I hear the question: "Is it possible to restore relations if it has already come to a divorce?"
- How to restore relationships?
- Four “ifs” to restore a relationship
Video: Four Ifs To Rebuild Relationships And Avoid Divorce - Relations
The author of these lines has been working as a family psychologist for over 20 years. More often than any others, I hear the question: "Is it possible to restore relations if it has already come to a divorce?"
In fact, there are almost half of such clients in the family psychologist's office. Spouses can accumulate dissatisfaction with each other for years. They can habitually lick mental wounds from petty quarrels and chronic misunderstandings. But one fine moment there is some serious reason for breaking off relations, and the thought of divorce is voiced.
How to restore relationships?
If the desire to divorce is mutual, then there is little to do - to do it in a civilized manner, without sawing the jointly acquired property with a saw-grinder and without causing moral and psychological trauma to oneself and children (especially children).
But it also happens that only one of the spouses starts talking about divorce, while the other is categorically opposed and wants to restore the relationship. This second spouse usually initiates a visit to the family counselor, with a request to maintain the old happy relationship. They are driven by a mixture of fear and hope: “Tell me, do we have even a small chance? Or relations are like broken glass - scattered into small fragments that cannot be glued together ?!”.
I would like to answer them with the words of the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus: “You cannot enter the same river twice,” especially in human relations. It is unlikely that you will be able to return to the bright past and restore the relationship that you had in the first year after the wedding. But at the same time, no one bothers to develop relations, and build an equally bright future with their own hands. It will be a different relationship, not as great as it was years ago, but not as bad as it is today.
It is important to understand that the quality of the relationship is in your hands, and you can always bring it to the proper level
But do not think that it is easy and simple to recreate a new wonderful relationship in the family. My work experience shows that there are at least four conditions (four “ifs”), without which it is impossible to avoid the breakdown of relations and improve them.
Four “ifs” to restore a relationship
So, it will not work to restore relations in the family if:
1. If both spouses are not interested in continuing the relationship
Not necessarily equally, but at least minimal motivation to maintain a relationship should be.
There are situations when one of the spouses has made a firm decision to end the relationship. The member of the couple who wants to maintain the relationship usually hopes that the psychologist will somehow persuade or force the partner to change this decision. I want to warn you right away that a qualified psychologist will not persuade anyone, but perhaps you will jointly find ways to influence your partner's motivation.
2. If the spouses are not ready to openly discuss the problems accumulated over the years of their life together
In the relationship of any couple, "figures of silence" inevitably appear - unpleasant topics and questions, the discussion of which is, as it were, prohibited. Typically, these "figures of silence" are associated with unmet needs and unspoken claims to each other. The reasons for omissions can be different: fear of misunderstanding, shame, fear of offending or angering a partner.
The main thing is that until the problem is formulated explicitly and is not discussed by all interested parties, it is impossible to solve it. The task of the psychologist is precisely to create a safe communication situation for the spouses in which they could reveal their "figures of silence" to each other.
3. If the spouses are not ready to accept each other's needs
As cynical as it sounds, marriage can be defined as a way of people to satisfy various needs (biological, social, psychological). The leading needs for a couple may not coincide (for example, a husband needs sex from his wife first of all, and his wife needs emotional support from him), but as long as everyone receives what they need from a partner, and as long as this exchange is stable, the relationship will continue.
Sometimes, for various reasons, this exchange fails, and someone in the pair does not receive something. If the spouses did not discuss this failure and did not find a joint solution, then a “figure of silence” is formed. And this leads to the fact that one of the spouses lives with an unmet need for years. And if there are several such unmet needs ?! It is clear that discontent builds up for years, but then the slightest spark is enough to provoke a divorce.
It's difficult to talk about unmet needs. If only because people are used to expressing them in a negative way - in the form of claims, accusations, threats. The task of the family psychologist is to help formulate the unmet needs and expectations of the spouses in a constructive, understandable, non-negative way and as a guide to action.
4. If the spouses will not change their behavior towards each other
This is the most difficult stage in rebuilding a relationship. It often happens that a couple successfully goes through the three previous stages: both are interested in maintaining the relationship; clarified the "figures of silence"; formulated how they can satisfy each other's unmet needs. But the couple fails at this fourth stage.
We are talking about changing the usual behavioral patterns that have been formed over the years. Imagine that all 10 years of marriage, the husband ate his breakfast / lunch / dinner and silently left the table. And sincere gratitude on his part is important for his wife! Usually, the husband quickly realizes that if he expects to regularly receive enchanting sex (that is, satisfaction of his needs), then regularly saying small compliments and words of gratitude to his wife in order to satisfy her need for recognition of merit is not such a big price …
But the catch lies precisely in the word "regularly". If you approach the solution of the problem as a commodity-money relationship (like "I give you three compliments, and you give me one kiss for that"), then this will not work and can lead to a deterioration in relations. A cumulative effect is important here: if a wife realizes that she receives praise from her husband not from momentary selfish motives, but because he really appreciates her services to the family hearth, then the reciprocal reward from her will be sincere. And this will just be the very reciprocity that will help not to fix the relationship, but to bring them to a new quality level.