I saw a Gold Star couple today. By “Gold Star,” I mean they were magnificent in how they had worked on what we talked about over the first and only couple of sessions. Since the previous session (which was the second session), they had each worked on the sexual relationship, and how they talked to each other about sex, and were able to have a nice time together. They had each worked on how they are about finances. Also, thought they had started the conversation by not having a discussion that was going well. They ended it, and then tried again a bit later and did better, and worked though some pieces of how they handle their finances.
And they had, on top of all that, worked on being more consistent and following through with their daughter, and though it didn’t work perfectly (they teen fought them, which a teen will do when you tighten the reins), it worked well, and they were even able to chuckle to themselves (showing some appropriate distance) about how their teenager was much like a two year old throwing tantrums, and they were not giving in to the teen or the tantrums.
Three major areas of concern and progress all three in one week. How did this happen? They were both working on it, working on their own ways of being, working on the issues, not blaming the other, talking with each other. It is amazing to me when a couple does this for one issue, but this couple did it for three. The first couple of sessions in couples counseling had hit the mark with them. They heard what was being said, and then went about changing themselves.
But be careful—you are most likely not that couple. My point in bringing this up is that sometimes some couples really fire on all cylinders, really take to heart the work of couples therapy, really work on their own issues, work together as well, and they make unbelievable advancement in a short period of time. Most of the time, you will do well to congratulate yourselves for doing a good job of improvement in one area. What could you work on to make a change in your relationship with your partner that would really make a difference? You might be surprised what could happen in a week if you work at it.
Dr. Robert G. Kraft is a career psychologist in Omaha, NE. He earned his doctorate, as well as his bachelors and masters before that, from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Has practiced in Nebraska ever since.
As well as maintaining his practice, Dr. Kraft is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the Creighton University School of Medicine, where he teaches residents about psychotherapy.