Most people try to join together by having things in common. “You like the Yankees?”“I like the Yankees!” ”What do you think about Twilight?” “Oh, I love Twilight, too!” This approach to joining people together works pretty well for surface level relationships. However, if I am doing my job as a marriage and family therapist, I know there is only one way to get people to actually join together, or join back together, as it were. My main goal, at least initially is to get the two people to be vulnerable.
That is it! Being vulnerable has this magical effect on relationships. A couple can be in the middle of a terribly nasty fight, but if I can somehow get them to be vulnerable, the fight almost always instantly dissolves. It is hard to keep being angry with someone who honestly and vulnerably says they are “scared right now.”
Instead, as human beings, we tend to want to help people that are being vulnerable. So, when my wife says she is feeling“helpless,” I begin to wonder if there is anything I can do to help. If instead of being vulnerable, she says she thinks I am a “bad husband,” I no longer want to help, I want to prove how wrong she is.Unsolicited advice: Just talk about your own emotions (not what the other person has done wrong). Allow your spouse the opportunity to comfort you. Sometimes allowing others to comfort us is selfless in that we are giving them the opportunity to serve when we were never willing to do that previously.