Counselling and Psychotherapy for
Body, Mind and Spirit

Ina Stockhausen, MTC

Ina Stockhausen R.P.C. offers spiritual counselling and body psychotherapy or somatic counseling in Burnaby and North Vancouver.

couples communication

How to prevent an affair in your marriageDo you ever feel like you’re more open with your friends about how you feel, what you’re frustrated about and what’s going on for you these days than with your spouse? Feeling disconnected or lonely even though you have a partner is not uncommon and can be the first step into an emotional or physical affair with someone else.

Many couples complain that they feel disconnected from each other. But what does that really mean? During a couples counselling session the other day, a client talked about how pleased she felt after having shared her feelings of euphoria and success with her partner. The summary comment was “Of course we talk, but I usually don’t talk about feeling embarrassed or as in this case how pleased I felt that I had  overcome this particular anxiety of mine.” Her partner’s response had been so positive, encouraging and celebratory, and they had both felt more connected after that conversation, they wondered why they didn’t talk like that more often.

For most of us, life is busy. And if you’ve been together for a few years, it can become natural to fall into a routine of chatting about what happened in your day or what needs to happen. And if in the beginning you wanted to know your sweetheart’s every thought, after several years and possibly numerous occasions of feeling misunderstood or judged you talk less about your inner world or how you feel about each other.

As a marriage counselor, I help couples create a deeper and stronger connection. I encourage couples to integrate what I call “The Daily Connector” into their routine.

This is how it works:

Find a regular time in your day where you have approx. 30 min of time together. This could be while sharing a meal, doing a daily chore together, sharing a commute, ecc.

You are going to share the answer to the following three questions, calculating to speak approx. 5 minutes per answer.

1)      How do you feel? – here you are answering how you feel physically and emotionally. You might say something like this: I feel tired. My shoulder is still sore from working out yesterday and I didn’t sleep very well. I’m also pretty excited about the meeting at work today where I’m going to present my new project.

2)      How do you feel in relationship to your partner? – here you’re answering whether you’re feeling connected or not, loving, open, frustrated ecc. You might say something like this: I am feeling a little distant because I’m still disappointed and hurt that you forgot our anniversary 2 days ago. I’ve also experienced you as impatient these last few days and I am not totally relaxed when you always have a grumpy look on your face.

3)      What do you want, need or hope for? – here you’re sharing either a specific request or a personal need. You might say something like this: I really need some quiet time today. It’s been a busy day. I’m hoping that you might be willing to put the kids to bed while I have a bath and read.  OR something like this: I need some help on the computer. Would you have time over the next couple of days to help me install iTunes? OR: I’ve been feeling romantic. I’d like to plan a romantic date with you this week.

There are a few ground rules: as the person who is listening, all you get to do is listen to what is being said. You are not allowed to ask questions, become defensive, argue, add  to the content or otherwise interrupt your partner while he or she is sharing. You are also not allowed to start discussing or question content. If you get triggered or have feelings come up for you, you need to get in touch with your boundary.  I also encourage you to get in touch with what you heard in your journal or pick a later moment in time to share how you feel. Do NOT argue how you don’t agree with how the other person is feeling.

Integrating the Daily Connector into your life as a couple, is like checking the pulse of your relationship regularly. You will stop operating on assumptions, as well as feel more connected and authentic with each other. When you regularly dive below the surface to honestly talk about how you feel, you should not have to live thru an affair like Rosetta Getty.

As always I love to hear from you and encourage your questions or comments.