So today I’m writing about something I’ve written about before and it’s because I feel like I can’t write about it enough. It’s also because I see it over and over again in my Sacramento counseling office and I feel like it’s a lesson we can all learn from.
And I can sum it up in a single word.
I can’t explain to you how excited I get when I hear a couple use this word in session. It’s a word that creates an absolute shift in energy. And the reason is because maybe signals hope.
Maybe means that "maybe for just a moment, I’m not alone in this relationship and you really do want the same things I want”.
It’s a sign that we’re turning a corner in our work. It’s a sign that movement is happening. Because when a couple utters maybe during a couples counseling session, the whole momentum shifts in the room.
So why do I get so jazzed about this silly little word maybe? Well, it’s because when couples usually come in for counseling, they’re dealing with a fair amount of conflict and disconnection. They’re in pain and they’re trying their best to get their relationship back on track without much success.
And sadly enough, they’ve lost their ability to give their partner the benefit of the doubt. They assume that they’re alone in their pain and they don’t have the support they want or desire from their mate.
Not giving our partner and our relationship the benefit of the doubt is one of the most toxic things we can do. When we doubt our mate’s actions, we lose the ability to see any positivity in their behavior. We assume the worst and in turn end up believing the worst.
And how sad is it to believe the worst about our partner? Like I said…it’s toxic.
So how do you start to right the ship? How do you begin to give your partner the benefit of the doubt and search for the “maybe”? The possibility? The off chance that they’re in fact not out to get you and that maybe they’re in pain too?
First, you have to slow down your response in communication. If you respond within an instant, you rob yourself of the opportunity to really appraise the situation and explore alternative explanations.
Second, you have to be open to the small possibility that your negative assumption about the interaction is wrong. Now, I know realizing your wrong is tough (believe me, I hate it too), but in this case, it’s so much better to be wrong when we’re assuming the worst.
Last, you have to work on being open to the maybe. You have to work towards being open to the fact that maybe, just maybe, you and your partner are both fighting for the same thing, you’re just going about it in opposing ways.
And this is how you start to add the benefit of the doubt into your relationship and find the hope in the maybe.
I do so hope that you can start to see more maybe in your relationship and that you begin to give your mate the benefit of the doubt. I promise you will not be disappointed in the results.
And maybe, just maybe, something amazing will come from it!
If you find yourself getting stuck in the same negative assumptions over and over, it’s probably time for some extra support? Couples counseling is an awesome way to get things back on track! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me in my Sacramento Therapy offices.
As always, I want to hear from you! I want to know what your journey through connection and love is like.
Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, give me a call, 916.955.3200 or comment below.
I can’t wait to hear from you.