When a marriage is struggling it is always important to engage in relationship counseling exercises that help the couple work through the roughest of issues.
From infidelity to dishonesty, relationships can be severely marred by ineffective communication, unmet needs, and the numerous demands that pull on the family. Couples therapy exercises for communication can improve a marriage and help couples create a more fulfilling relationship.
So, what is couples therapy in psychology?
Couples therapy employs tools and exercises that focus on resolving problems in a relationship that involves individual or couple conflicts, behavioral problems, interpersonal challenges, and misdirected anger and emotions.
The marriage counseling exercises we suggest below can help if you are willing to look at yourself honestly in the mirror and commit to lasting change on behalf of you and your partner.
Do not go the route of turf wars and cold wars.
The time and love you have invested in the relationship should not be thrown to the curb without an attempt at restoration.
1. Active listening
Active listening is an integral component of couples therapy exercises for communication.
Active listening is a process by which partners learn to honor the words shared by their loved ones and respond in a way that voices affirmation and trust.
Using person-first language like “I feel,” a partner is able to communicate concerns, joys, and struggles without demeaning the other with inappropriate, over-the-top accusations and innuendo.
The partner on the other end of the communication affirms the exchange by responding, “I hear you saying.” Such communication exercises for couples allow the partners to maintain a connection while working through some of the more difficult issues in the marital union.
Based on sound scientific research and robust field testing, active listening allows all to be heard and a variety of approaches to be explored.
2. Goal setting
Couples therapy exercises for communication categorize goal setting as a major pivot in creating lasting happiness in a marriage.
Couples that are able to talk but accomplish little through their exchanges should consider goal setting.
Goal setting is a procedure by which the partners set – in advance – their hopes for the conversation.
Goals may include things like the expression of concerns, plans for the future, and thoughts about further interventions.
If the couple is unable to stay on task in the course of the conversation, the goals allow for shifting back toward those things that are vital for a healthier bond.
As a key component of couples therapy exercises for communication, goal setting is a very insightful communication tool as it provides for a written record of each partner’s innermost desires.
3. Role-playing and compromising language
An openness to compromise language is essential to the continued health and vitality of the bond. Learning to adopt compromise language is an integral part of couple communication exercises.
Unilateral demands and decisions will deepen the marital angst and create an unsavory turf war between the partners.
Finding a “neutral” party to mediate between partners can also help enhance communication. A third person can facilitate role-playing which opens the lines of communication. Role-playing helps couples consider outcomes based on a perceived list of issues.
Typically, a facilitator acts as a stand-in for one of the partners so that the other can learn about the type of exchanges that bring trust and ease of exchange.
4. Personality surveys
Couples therapy exercises for communication heavily rely on personality surveys as a valuable tool in relationship building.
Personality surveys like the Myers-Briggs survey and the like, provide partners with tremendous insight about their way of approaching and living within the world.
After sharing their personality survey results with their partners, individuals may gain a deeper appreciation of how their mate deals with conflict, distance, fatigue, social situations, and the like.
A word of caution about personality surveys.
It is very important for the survey to be interpreted by a psychological professional. A great survey with no clinical feedback is a worthless survey.
5. Dispute resolution
For developing a positive relationship, couples therapy exercises for communication encompass dispute resolution as a major step.
Dispute resolution is a tremendous intermediate measure when the marital trouble becomes untenable wherein the partners work with a mediator to deal with some of the issues associated with the angst and anger.
Issues that are often considered for resolution include child custody, the division of debts and assets, alimony, child support, and the like.
Often, dispute resolution is conducted in the presence of the parties’ attorneys. In many judiciaries, dispute resolution is mandated under the law.
6. Nonverbal exchanges
Sometimes couples do not have the language and the language skills to have a healthy conversation about the partnership and the issues.
If verbal communication is no longer safe nor effective, it may be very important for the couple to engage in effective and safe nonverbal communication.
Couples therapy exercises for communication list emails, handwritten notes, and the like to allow partners to express information while honoring physical space.
If nonverbal exchanges are favored by struggling couples, it is very important to review potential communications prior to sending them to ensure that the exchange is healthy and constructive.
Couple counseling exercises and relationship exercises for couples communication abound if partners take the time to explore the various offerings.
Besides the relationship communication exercises, it would also be helpful to take up a credible online marriage course that can help you rebuild a healthy marriage, step by step with the help of marriage communication exercises and useful tips.
Marriage counseling communication exercises takeaway
Couples’ communication can flourish again if tools in couples therapy exercises for communication are used to bolster healthy communication, develop trust, and a positive ambiance in marriage.
If you are looking for communication exercises for married couples before going for communication therapy for couples, it would be a good idea to check out these excellent exercises to help couples communicate better.
If you are unsure where to turn for assistance for communication therapy or couples communication exercises, do not hesitate to enlist the support of trusted friends, ministers, and certified professionals to help you overcome relationship issues.
Communication counseling for couples is the most useful tool to improve your relationship communication. However, these couples therapy communication exercises will only help if you are willing to understand your partner’s point of view, while also being mindful of your tone and choice of words.