By Dr. Becky Spelman
ItÂ´s more or less common knowledge these days that fewer couples are getting married. With the latest statistics showing more than one in three marriages end in divorce this is hardly surprising. But is there something more sinister underneath ie not just that couples canÂ´t afford to marry, but perhaps that they donÂ´t expect the relationship to last? And as a result theyÂ´re not prepared to work at it?
Thankfully the latter isnÂ´t true, as has been witnessed by the increasing number of couples coming to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for treatment in the hope it can help get their relationship not just back on track, but to an even better place than before.
In the majority of relationships the problems come down to a lack of communication and misinterpretation. People make assumptions about how their other half feels, and act accordingly. For instance:
A live-in girlfriend might be resentful of the fact her partner spends every second Saturday playing rugby and drinking with the boys, leaving her at home in the flat to read or watch TV. As time goes on she may believe he prefers to spend more time with his friends than her as sheÂ´s become too boring. A better scenario here would be for the girlfriend to use the time sheÂ´s not with her partner pursuing her own interests such as having a spa day catching up with girlfriends, or playing tennis etc. SheÂ´d not only feel happier about herself but direct less anger and hurt towards her partner
A husband may get angry at his wife for spending too much money ‘doing up the house.’ He may feel they should be spending their hard earned cash going off on foreign holidays while theyÂ´re still young. His wife may believe heÂ´s being irresponsible by not caring about how the house looks and is therefore intending to put off starting a family for a number of years yet. He may be of the opinion that she doesnÂ´t really understand the value of money, spends too much on superficial things and that at this rate theyÂ´ll never be able to afford to start a family. Ironically in this example both partners want the same thing ie family but the communication has gone so wrong they are completely misinterpreting each other.
But CBT isnÂ´t just effective at examining and correcting an individualÂ´s underlying thoughts and beliefs, it also focuses on their behaviour â€“ particularly that which is causing difficulties as far as the relationship is concerned. As such, it affects the way couples both feel towards and interact with one another.
It can help with arguments and disagreements. Instead of one partner stomping off in a sulk, for instance, CBT can teach couples how to talk things through, listen to what the other needs, and attempt to find a solution through compromise.
CBT takes into account such aspects of a relationship, amongst others, as communication, trust, physical intimacy and acceptance. Romantic relationships can often be like minefields to negotiate. With CBT youÂ´ll learn what equipment you need to weave your way through.
Having problems in your relationship? Want to find out if Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is right for you?
Call Dr. Becky on 020 8150 7563 or 075 1111 6565 for a free 15 minute confidential chat or to arrange an initial appointment.
If you wish to ask the writer of this article a question you can contact Dr. Rebecca Spelman here