Having conducted many couples therapy sessions in Singapore, we notice a few conditioned ideas about how relationships should be that cause disharmony among couples. We envision a future where these become the norm in relationships instead:
1. Learning to transcend gender stereotypes
Society tells us that men and women have to behave in certain distinct ways. It is important for us to create a world where a man can stay home and raise a child without guilt that he is not ‘man enough’.
Similarly, we must also allow women to be career-focused without the guilt that she is ‘not good enough of a mother because she doesn’t stay at home to raise their child’.
In such a relationship, partners help each other seek fulfilment in life by connecting to each individual’s unique interests and strengths.
You see when one is connected, they feel whole and complete. From this space, they can give so much more.
2. Understanding that “Me time” is just as important as “We time”
Just as you make time for yourself and your partner, it is important to make time for yourself too. Because you know and accept that it is humanly impossible for your partner to meet all your needs.
In such a relationship, it is okay to have groups of friends outside the relationship that fulfil your other needs (e.g. to bond over hobbies and interests that your partner does not share).
And when ‘we time happens, there is so much more of the world to see through your partner’s eyes.
3. Seeing differences and conflicts as necessary tools for growth
In a relationship, you must be comfortable enough to sit with the discomfort and GLIMPSE WITHIN what that DISCOMFORT BRINGS OUT in you.
Knowing that conflicts are not bad in themselves comes from the discomfort one feels from the chaos.
You see, you have realised that sitting with discomfort is when you grow the most. And you have your partner to thank for that.
4. Welcoming and cherishing open and honest conversations
The beauty of seeing things from the perspective of an observer is all so familiar to you. And you understand that it is ok to have different parts of your partner saying different things.
Because you have met your parts – ‘the defender’; ‘the inner critic’; and ‘the victim’ – you know that your partner loves and accepts all of you… just like that John Legend song!
5. Seeking therapy together and seeing it as a necessary tool to bond
Let’s admit it, how many of us knew how to manage relationships the day we were born? What we know today we learned from someplace in the past. And if that someplace was flawed in itself, then something has got to change to make amends in the future.
You see, seeking couples counselling does not mean your relationship is flawed. Not looking for appropriate tools to mend a sinking boat? Now that’s a problem.
We review investment portfolios on a regular basis. We update our wardrobes regularly. We rethink our diet from time to time – the same goes for our exercises too. Then why don’t we apply the same logic to our courtships and marriage?
As therapists, we tell all our clients who come to us for couples counselling that having regular check-ins with your partner to understand their wants and needs and communicating your wants and needs is an essential part of growing together.
Therapy is not just for couples that are going through a rough patch. Seeking ways to improve your relationship when things seem to be cruising is equally important. Just as you get yearly health check-ups to ensure that your health is in tip-top condition, normalise seeing a therapist on a regular basis for couples counselling to ensure that your relationship is healthy and doing well.
This would prevent the ‘rocky boat’ situation and while there you would learn new ways to connect with your partner. This keeps your relationship exciting and thriving.
Learn more about how you can improve your relationship with us at Intracresco through our couples counselling services, and discover the skills to deepen intimacy in your relationship through our marriage counselling services in Singapore.