I use Solution Focused Marriage counseling when providing couples counseling. Many of the clients I see for marriage counseling have a similar problem. They started off well and their relationship was solid. Then they had kids and things seemed to change. They found themselves getting distant from each other, not spending as much quality time together, and not feeling their spouse is attracted to, or interested in them anymore.
One possible explanation for this is that when we have kids, life gets busy and we tend to forget about doing those small things for each other that we used to do. The communication changes too. When you were first dating or first got married you probably made a point to call your spouse just to say hi and let them know you were thinking about them. Later on, your phone calls may consist of “Don’t forget to pick up milk on your way home from work”. We get busy and forget to let our spouse know the things we appreciate about them but we don’t forget to tell them the things that annoy us.
This can leave our spouse feeling like we don’t appreciate them or value them. Then we notice that they don’t seem very affectionate with us anymore. Our sex lives suffer as a result. Most people aren’t very interested in sex with someone who doesn’t make us feel valued and desired.
When this comes up in solution focused marriage counseling sessions, one of the first things I do is ask each person what it is they like about the other person. I also go into how they first met and what first attracted them to their spouse. We talk about what each person used to do in the beginning of the relationship to let the other know they were attracted to them and found them worthwhile.
Talking about and being reminded of the things you found attractive in your spouse is the first step to rebuilding your relationship. Being reminded of the small little things you used to do to nurture the relationship helps you remember simple things you can do to start getting things back on track.
If you have a relationship that has gotten off track and are looking for help to make positive changes, solution focused marriage counseling can be a useful resource. Solution Focused Counseling will focus on the things that are going right that you can do more of as you make repairs, and also help you and your spouse identify small do-able things you can start doing right away that will help you as well.
Gary Watson is a Grand Rapids based marriage therapist who specializes in helping couples rebuild their relationship by going back to the beginning and helping you do the things that were most helpful in your relationship. After all, you were doing things right in the beginning or you wouldn’t have gotten married, right?