By Lynn Acquafondata
When couples come in for marriage counseling one or the other often begins with a clear sense of the problem. Looking directly across the room and pointing a finger at their partner they say, “It’s all your fault.”
That perspective is where the work begins.
I too used to know exactly how to have the perfect marriage and I put a lot of effort into making it happen. If I could get my husband to do this, change that or accept my perspective on a particular issue, tension at home would dissolve. Then I started learning about family systems and my world changed.
Family systems asks me to observe myself: my thoughts, my actions, my motives. It urges me to pay attention to my contribution to long established relational patterns.
My family systems guides taught me that I couldn’t fix the other person, whether that was a partner, a family member, a friend of a co-worker. I could however experiment with changing my role in unproductive patterns. Sometimes when I did that, the other person or people had to adjust their responses or behaviors because the script changed when I no longer fulfilled my role.
It’s uncomfortable to look at one’s self. It is so much easier to see what’s wrong with another person. After that it takes considerable effort to make and maintain changes in the face of resistance. Even when patterns do start to change, it can lead to various kinds of difficult and life changing decisions.
That’s why inviting a trained relationship therapist to guide you can help. We bring an unbiased outside perspective that helps you focus effectively and engage in the work that will be most beneficial.
If you walk into my office or the office of one of my colleagues, we will guide you on the path of lasting change. The journey isn’t always comfortable, but the benefits to how you feel and function both as an individual and in relationship could be well worth the struggle.