I have a fair amount of couples in my counseling practice.
I hear what they focus on. I hear what so many of us focus on: things that aren’t working. When our couples counseling sessions start, partners can list fairly easily what they hear each other complain about. It’s harder for them to know what has been working.
We often get caught up giving our attention to what is NOT working well in the world.
And how does that make us feel? Pretty crappy, usually, in my experience. When couples focus on their partner’s faults, it feels awful. When any of us focus on what is wrong with us, we feel terrible too.
So how can things shift?
Start by training yourself to focus on what IS working well. For my couples in therapy, I start by asking them to notice that they are BOTH in the room- that they are here together, and that says something. It means that making things shift to a better place is a priority for them. The relationship matters to them.
To make injustice the only measure of our attention is to praise the devil. – Jack Gilbert
When couples do come in for counseling, we talk in a safe space where they can air out what hasn’t been working, but I also strive to focus on what IS working (or what used to be working), so they can give that their attention too.
If you want to make something good happen in your love relationship today, offer a kind word, a thoughtful action. Be of service to your love partner. Focus on what you like, love, and appreciate about them. Give your attention to Love. Let this be your focus, let this be what you reflect back to them. Be Love.