Human beings would not function without relationships. Our world is made up of different types of relationships and these stem from family, friends, spouses, and strangers. As a Relationship Counsellor I have seen how relationships are formed and eroded. I would like to give you an insight into this throughout this blog.
Firstly, I would like to talk about how a relationship is formed and to help me with this I want to reference ” The Sound Relationship House” from The Gottman Institute. I find it a really great way to understand how a relationship is formed. I have attached the diagram of the sound house below and I will go through each level of the house to show how at any level the relationship is maintained or eroded.
The Sound Relationship House compares how a relationship is built to a house being built. The foundations of any house are very important, and they are just as important for a relationship, this is where the love maps of a relationship are built, what we are referring to in your love maps is how you got to know each other, the dates, the adventures you had in those first few months of a relationship being formed. It is also known as the honeymoon period. It is here where you really see the person that you are starting to form a relationship with. Throughout this period, you start to share fondness and admiration for each other. As you can also see trust and commitment are starting to form which are the supportive walls of the relationship.
Level 3 is turning towards each other instead of away from each other and this is a very important level as this involves the skill of communicating with your spouse and turning towards each other to communicate. When you stop turning towards each other, you can be turning away from each other and in turn towards someone else. This can be when affairs are formed. As human being, we want to be able to connect and when you cannot with your spouse you could potentially find someone else to turn towards. Turning away from each other can also erode the trust and commitment of the relationship and as we all know when the supporting walls are eroded the house starts to collapse. However, most couples turn away from each other as they are fearful of telling their spouse something because they might be rejected, or it will hurt the other person.
However, if the positive perspective is formed, conflict is managed. All relationships have conflict and it’s important to keep the communication about the conflict ongoing. Once you have worked on managing conflict it’s about helping and support your partner to create their life dreams.
As any house, it needs to be maintained and how this can be done is communication, commitment and also to see the person you first met when those love maps were formed rather than the behaviours you might be seeing from that person now.
The article is written by Emma, newly qualified and pre-accredited counsellor at The DMC Clinic. If you would like to discuss how any of the topics mentioned above are impacting your mental health, please contact The DMC Clinic to arrange an appointment.