Often times, talking about marriage is like going to a protest rally. Everyone has complaints and is happy to list all the problems bugging them. But what about solutions? Too often, they get lost in the shuffle since the focus remains on the problems. This is partly because we need a new mindset to imagine the changes we want to see instead of the other way around. To divorce-proof your marriage, you will want to add vision and open-mindedness. Some challenges will remain however, you can choose to shift your focus to include what is right and use your different mindset to create the solutions you are seeking.
The Problems of Marriage
Contrary to love songs and romantic comedies, compatibility requires work. Love can live forever but will not sustain a relationship on its own. Couples can become combative. They can stop communicating. Situations can feel hopeless. This is partly because the focus is on what’s wrong. Many couples come to counseling sessions with a long list of problems and complaints.
The good news? Often hidden amidst this strife is the fact that plenty of stuff is right on track and even getting better.
Imagine seeking change not but rehashing all your problems. Instead, imagine you and your spouse starting from a place of strength. What do you love about each other? What do you love about your relationship? When you consider your future together, what excites you? Take the focus off your current problems and consider such questions.
This is basically how solution-focused therapy can and will help you. Picture yourself and your spouse seeking help. Your therapist may ask you a question like: “What do you definitely want to keep happening in your relationship?” Instantly, you’re pondering good things and how to keep those good things in your life!
This approach is powerful even if:
- One of you currently accepts little or no responsibility for your problems.
- One or both of you are seeking an outsider to “fix” things.
- You’re both on the same page, ready to work.
And if you’re one of those couples who believe it might just take a miracle to turn things around, well, you’re really in luck!
The Miracle Question
One of the most recognizable techniques in solution-focused therapy is the Miracle Question. The basic premise is to describe in detail what your life would look like if that needed “miracle” happened. Such a thought experiment shifts your mindset to a new wavelength. It no longer feels necessary to discover exactly how and when each problem started. Suddenly, progress appears possible. Solutions become visible.
How focusing on solutions can divorce-proof your marriage
1. You don’t get bogged down in the blame game.
There are far more than two sides to every story. Rehashing the guilt, blame, and accusations is often a path towards permanent resentment. Instead of replaying past hurts and struggles, why not try something different and focus on what is wanted?
2. You recognize your strengths as a couple.
Not everything is going wrong. Not everything has to change. Your strong points will keep you bonded and give you a strong foundation for growth.
3. The difference between compatibility and love becomes clear.
No one wants to feel they are no longer loved. But most of the time, love isn’t the issue. If a relationship is taken for granted, incompatibility happens. This is where the real work must be done. It’s also where the solutions can be uncovered.
To divorce-proof your marriage you must focus on solutions and a willingness to ask for help. A counselor with experience in Solution-Focused Therapy might be the exact help you need. So, put down those protest signs and focus your energies on creating solutions!