Relationships Change Over Time
But what do you do when your relationship is not getting better despite your best efforts?
Some people stay in the relationship, but check out emotionally, and find other ways to comfort themselves. While others plead and try to convince their partners to get help or see their part in the problem. Both ways leave people feeling less happy in their relationship, not more.
From Marriage Counselor to Discernment Counselor
I used to work with these couples, and I often found there was at least one person that was already checked out. So I started looking into other ways to work with couples on the brink of divorce. And that’s when I found discernment counseling.
But it wasn’t until I started to hear from women that felt like they needed to stay in relationships where they felt put down, unsupported, and disrespected that my path became clear. I could give them tools to not absorb others’ criticism & problems, but I really felt called to help women discern what’s possible for the future of their marriage. And today, I help both men & women feel more confident in whatever they decide. I won’t ever decide for them, but I can help them find clarity amongst all the doubt, fear, and intensity.
In the process, I have found two questions that help people find clarity about what they think is possible in their marriage. And from that place, they begin to make the best decision they can with what they know to be true.
Two Self-Reflection Questions to Help You Determine if Your Relationship Can Improve
I offer you these reflection questions as a way for you to also find clarity within:
Question #1: What are you willing to do differently? (Will this get you closer or farther from the relationship you desire?)
It can be so hard to see your own part in the relationship problems because it’s often not what we think we need to work on. But the clearer you are on your part, the more you will know what to work on. Sometimes it’s learning to speak up for yourself. While other times it’s learning to do less. No matter what it is, it’s unique to you and your relationship.
As you begin to work on your part, you start to discern if this is getting you closer or farther to the relationship you desire. The bottom line is – does working on yourself, your actions, and/or your internal reactions make you feel happier in your relationship, or not? That’s part 1 of discerning what’s possible.
Question #2: What is your partner willing to do differently? (Will this get you closer or farther from the relationship you desire?)
Part 2 is reflecting on what’s possible for your partner’s growth. Think about the conflicts and conversations you have with your partner, both when you are calm and upset. Then, think about how well you or your partner repair after a conflict, and who is most likely to take and/or project responsibility for their part.
If your partner thinks they have a part in the problems you are dealing with, do they seem committed to their own growth? You aren’t looking for perfection in your partner’s growth, but genuine acknowledgment, commitment, and action. As he or she begins working on their part, you will naturally begin discerning if this is getting you closer or farther from the relationship you desire.
On the other hand, if your partner says they don’t have anything to work on, then the probability they will change is minimal. If your partner blames you for their behavior instead of taking responsibility for their part, then you are with someone who either has a hard time owning their part or won’t ever own their part. You can’t change this within them, but you can take it into account when discerning what is possible for the future of your relationship.
Discernment Takes Time & Support From the Right People
As long as everyone involved is physically safe, this process of discernment takes as long as it takes. It’s one thing to come to terms with what is and is not possible, and it’s another thing to start acting on it.
If at any time, this is too much to think about on your own, know there is support available to help you discern what you want for the future of your relationship. Stop seeking support from others who make you feel guilty or pressure you to do what they want. Instead, find someone that can be as neutral as possible while also helping you find the truth and wisdom within you.
As a licensed therapist in Missouri, I help individual adults discern what’s possible for the future of their relationship, so they are confident in their decisions. If you need support, schedule a discovery call with me from my website. Together, we will decide if I’m the best one to help you find clarity and confidence within.
Note: If you don’t feel safe in your relationship, please seek more immediate help to create a plan for safety. No one deserves to be abused. You can contact your local domestic violence shelter or contact the National Domestic Violence hotline. If you are unsure whether what you are experiencing is abuse or not, this is a great resource to help identify abuse.