There’s a fix-it-guy around town, and on his van it says: “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” While that might be true for your appliances, I don’t think that the same thing applies when it comes to our relationships.
In my mind, “relationship” is a verb. An action. It requires both parties to give their time and energy. Both “being” and “doing” are integral parts of being in love. And with all of the moving parts of relationships (jobs, kids, pets, homes, friends, finding time for self, etc.) - you better believe that the wheels need to be greased every once in awhile in order to keep things running smoothly.
To me, relationship coaching is the maintenance we do to keep the relationship sailing. (That’s a terrible pun, I know) Coaching helps us gain the skills we need to be in thriving relationships and puts the power in the couples hands to decide what their goals are and what, for them, makes a happy, healthy, “good enough” relationship.
Repeat after me:
Relationship coaching is not therapy.
While couples therapy mainly deals with healing old wounds and working to resolve emotional issues, couples coaching works with couples existing strengths to help them gain new skills, improve communication, and respond to each other’s needs. The coaching approach is ideal for couples who are ready to do the work to make their relationship better and take action to make real improvements in their lives.
Here are 5 ways that coaching can rock your world and have a positive impact on your life and relationship:
1. Feel better about yourself
People who experience coaching overwhelmingly report increases in their self-confidence and communication. When people feel better about themselves, they are more likely to have energy to put back into the relationship, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of care and attention. Couples who choose relationship coaching often find themselves tuning in more to their partners needs, which can result in the type of mutually-validating experience that brings on a boost of self-esteem and compassion for both parties.
2. Learn to fight fair
It’s a huge bummer that most of us never really learned to manage conflict, and if we did, chances are fair that it probably wasn’t the healthiest way to deal. Drs. John and Julie Gottman, relationship experts and founders of the Gottman Institute have found that there are “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” - relationship behaviors that signal that couples aren’t fighting fair. When these guys show up in relationships, their presence can signal disaster on the horizon. They are:
It only takes one of these "Four Horseman" to pollute the quality of any relationship, and learning to “fight fair” and create dialogue around conflict is the best way for couples to combat these relationship-killers. Working with a relationship coach teaches couples the skills they need to manage conflict in a healthy way, without resorting to tearing each other down or “fighting in circles”
3. Reduce stress
Fighting with your partner sucks. Having the same fight over and over is super stressful. Anyone who’s ever left the house pissed off after getting off on a bad foot with their partner can attest to the fact that it’s not a great way to start the day. If your relationship feels chaotic and stressful, chances are that there’s a ripple effect throughout the rest of your life as well. Relationship coaching can help couples learn to “turn toward” one another and see each other as allies who can conquer the world together. Learning to see your relationship as a true partnership can help reduce stress and increase other positive health outcomes.
4. Fall in love all over again
I hear all too often that love dies with marriage or fades over time. Well, I’m going to call B.S. on that. Love dies when people stop putting in the time and effort that it requires. Just like courtship and dating, marriage and long-term relationships take work. You can’t put your partnership on autopilot and expect that it’s going to be a long-lasting, happy relationship. When you put in the work and choose to tune into your partners needs and desires, you can rekindle the flames of love. Relationship coaching can help couples reignite the chemistry that brought them together in the first place, reestablishing their friendship and emotional connection.
5. Create hope for the future
Couples often forget to see the forest for the trees, and get so caught up in the day-to-day that they neglect to create a future together. Relationship coaching can help couples create goals and milestones to work toward together that give their lives meaning keep them engaged and looking toward the future. Building a future to look forward to an creating meaning from shared existence is one of the ways that masters of relationship manage to have long-lasting, fulfilling relationships.
Do you crave any of this in your life and in your relationship? If the answer is yes, let’s talk. I help couples design and learn to navigate their relationship so that they can be a part of a long-lasting, fulfilling partnership that is full of love.