We often teach struggling couples new communication tools to help with their marriage. Our training method is very interactive – we model the tool and then have them practice it themselves. They often report that what we taught them was immediately helpful and they leave with renewed hope for their relationship.
A few months down the road we’ll ask how they are are getting along and often get the comment, “Not great.” We’ll then ask, “Have you used any of the tools we taught you?” and we get either “No” or “We tried and they didn’t work” or “We’ve been too busy.” (Mostly it’s the latter.)
At that point I want to shake them. (Just being honest!) What else in life do we master by just trying once, or by not doing whatever we have been trained to do? What would your sports coach say to you if that is the attitude you had?
I sometimes also feel like saying “We are not the only ones with tools to help your relationship, so if what we taught you isn’t your preference, or you feel like it didn’t help you, please find something else that does help! Do something rather than just the same old thing that doesn’t work and then complaining ab0ut how miserable you are.”
I am always amazed how hard people will work to succeed at whatever career or hobby they have in life, and continue to try multiple times and multiple methods to do so, but when it comes to their marriage – they do little and quit so quickly.