4 Ways Life Changes When You Marry a Therapist

One year ago today, I boarded a plane to San Diego, CA. My wife Robyn was visiting family and I had hoped to surprise her with the big question. She had known about the surprise beforehand, because I had inadvertently shown her text about the surprise visit. Needless to say, she said yes and we have been married for almost four months.319470_571051167951_161979655_n

Spouses have a unique influence on each other’s lives. In the past few months, I have attempted to see in my daily life how Robyn has influenced me. Therapists understand emotions and the implications behind the words. The skills of therapy translate visibly to everyday life. So these are my observations of what I have learned from Robyn, the therapist:

1. Asking Permission

The old saying, “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than permission,” goes out the window. I use to blatantly ask possibly difficult questions. Now because of Robyn, I find myself asking, “Would it be all right, if I asked you a hard question?” This action braces a person and then gives them the opportunity to share what they really think.

2. Stop Saying “Should”

If you Google this point, they have been studies on why the word “should” carries negative connotations. Robyn has reminded me that this word implies judgment. Most people use this word as a suggestion. It can come across as an indictment.

3. Guided Images

Robyn brought together an idea to the small group a few years ago. A guided image acts as a relaxation exercise. People close their eyes and imagine themselves in a scene to calm their nerves. Right now, think of a beach with waves going back and forth…

4. Restating Content

I find myself saying, “So what you are telling me is…” Restating the content brings parties of a conversation to understand each other. I have now picked this up when Robyn says this to me. We want to seek ways that people feel heard.

As we think of the people closest to us, it might be a good idea to see their influence in our lives. What ways has your life changed from your closest relationships?

5 Comments

  1. Nicely stated. See, I told you paying attention would be very advantageous. Well, maybe not in those exact words…

  2. As the counselor in my relationship, I can say the opposite has also been true. Being married has helped me be a better counselor. I’ve learned a lot from my wife and our interactions that I’ve had to put into practice and pass onto the guys I work with.

    • Peter Englert

      February 15, 2014 at 8:06 pm

      I didn’t even think of that. It so many ways, you probably feel like you are practicing in each conversation you have.

      • Ha! In some ways, yes. In other ways, I need to practice transferring my counseling skills to my marital conversations more. And then there are times when my wife hates when I’m being “the therapist.” But I’m definitely always learning a lot from both sides of my life.

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