Wendy Warner is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with couples, children, and individuals, Wendy also enjoys teaching the premarital classes for all couples planning to marry at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Macomb.
When a couple is struggling, trying to improve the relationship can feel overwhelming. It is like the first trip to the gym when you have decided to get back into shape. Where to start? It can be helpful to focus on a few specific factors and commit to working on them. For relationships, adding patience and respect to communication can make an immediate and lasting impact.
When couples experience frustration, having the patience to let one another finish their thought can go a long way. If one spouse is interrupting the other, their spouse knows they are not being listened to or understood. This conveys disrespect.
The key is to treat each other in a way that feels safe, not making each want to run for cover. If someone is upset, but they exert effort to speak patiently and respectfully, it will feel safe to keep talking to them. However, if someone is critical and does not exhibit the patience to understand their spouse’s perspective, their spouse is likely to shut down.
How can you extend more patience and respect in your relationship? It develops with practice like flexing a muscle. One trip to the gym does not produce a well-toned body, nor does one respectful conversation produce a transformed relationship. Commit to practicing patience and respect, and watch the impact on your relationship over time. The rewards of a safe, loving connection are even more satisfying than anything the gym can produce!