In my counselling practice with couples I assign homework based on what their major issues are. Some of the more common issues I see are couples who struggle to communicate properly, or individuals who have been so focused on the kids that they have lost sight of each other, sometimes it is that they don’t know how to have a physical relationship anymore and they are both scared to talk about it. The homework is assigned for good reason – no therapist alone can work enough magic in a couple hours a week to “fix” a relationship that is in trouble. The homework is there to get them to do their work outside of the session so that they can start making gains and improve the issue that brought them into my practice in the first place.
One of the struggles I see frequently is couples who genuinely want to improve their relationship but when it comes to doing their homework they will come back week after week saying they didn’t get to it because they didn’t have time or were too tired.
Today it seems as though we are all moving through life at record speeds. We cram more into our lives then we used to, work longer hours, and waste good time on stuff that isn’t actually necessary or important (hello social media), and crash into bed exhausted and drained.
Most people are running at a deficit in terms of time and energy and it is showing up in their relationships. The challenge is that while being exhausted and depleted often (if not always) has a negative impact on our relationships, it is unlikely to change significantly. Most of our lives stay mostly the same and it is up to us to choose very, very carefully, what is important to us and what we want to spend our time on. If your relationship is being tried and you are coming to counselling, you are going to have to dig deep and decide if you actually want to invest your time into improving it. The excuse that you didn’t do your homework because you were busy and tired only sends the message to your partner on a conscious and unconscious level that you are too busy and tired for him or her.
In many ways you have to choose to either make it better or to not bother at all and their are costs involved in both. Not investing time and effort means your connection will eventually disappear and the relationship will likely die off even if you stay together. Investing in improving your relationship means you have just added more to what feels like an already over flowing plate. Both are taxing but just in different ways.
So if you are sitting there hoping there will come a time when you feel fully ready and available to improve your relationship I am here to tell you it is unlikely. Making the time, when you feel like you are prepared to actually commit to doing the work, can pay off in ways that are unforeseen while you are stuck in the middle of doing the work. Who doesn’t feel happier, less stressed and more relaxed when their relationship is running smoothly?
Tell me, are you ready to commit to making the time? If so, what one step are you prepared to take for your relationship today? Write it in the comment section below, I would love to hear from you.