Coupleworks has been around for decades and if you have read our blogs throughout the years you might not be aware that the women who make up this remarkable group have their own relationships, individually and collectively with one another. In many ways, our group has mirrored the couples we see in our practices: we have had ups and downs, differences of opinions, and miscommunications like any other relationship. In other words, all relationships have their difficulties and need attention and care.

Like the couples we see, we have all brought our own history in to the group. And, despite being trained therapists, we have all needed to learn how best to step into the group, how to listen, how to support and inspire one another and, most importantly, to appreciate what we meant to one another. These are muscle we cultivated throughout the years of getting to know one another and more importantly, know ourselves.

My work with couples has taught me that at the core of every good relationship, there needs to be trust, openness and care. Couples need to go through difficult times to change and evolve. It’s an opportunity that is sometimes missed. Many couples believe that it is better to leave a relationship rather than put effort into one another. It has less to do with solving issues than teaching couples to stay connected when there are difficult feelings between them.

Yesterday I met with a couple who have been carrying around decades of resentment and hurt. Initially, they were so intent on arguing the facts they missed what they were feeling. When they were able to slow down, get out of their heads and stop thinking, things shifted between them.

We are hardwired to protect ourselves from our own pain and are blinded to our partner’s. It can disconnect us from one another and leave us exactly where we don’t want to be, alone and isolated.

Last Sunday, I realised I had forgotten to write my blog and told the group that I would be late sending it in. My colleague, Dawn, responded: “Don’t sweat it, Shirlee- in the realm of things it’s not that important”. Something about her words put everything in perspective and highlighted how couples can sometimes focus on small unimportant issues and miss the bigger picture.

Relationships change slowly, sometimes we forget to even notice, or acknowledge when these changes happen. Whether it’s a colleague, friend, family or partner, it’s important to pay attention to see the value between us rather than what seems to be missing. At Coupleworks, we have managed to change and grow as a group by accepting one another for who we are and in doing so, a deep appreciation has grown between us.

Shirlee Kay