So I watched GMA Day last week and Michael Strahan and Sara Haines shared a list of things married couples should do after their first anniversary to do "maintenance" on their relationship. Marriage really does change things – you're officially tied down. So after the first year, it's good to check in with each other. The one maintenance item that stood out to me was "talk to a therapist." Find a neutral third party (no family members!) to talk you through disagreements. Communication is key and sometimes we get so caught up in life that we forget to be open-minded or aware of our partner's needs.
Sara shared that her husband and herself regularly see a therapist to help them with communication (her name is Nancy). Sara said they've been seeing Nancy for so long they can guess what she's going to tell them whenever they get into an argument.
"Save it for Nancy!" they say.
Instead of digging deeper into an argument, Sara said they end it early and let it alone until they're in Nancy's office. Nancy provides them with a neutral perspective and lets them know what they're missing. Maybe Sara's husband is uncomfortable with the way Sara is raising the kids. (Just my hypothetical idea. She didn't give any examples.) Sara has one perspective and chooses to stick to it. Her husband has another perspective and tries to stick with his methods. But the point is, Nancy brings out perspectives and ideas that the couple might not be aware of. She gets them to understand both sides of the story. And in this hypothetical situation, the couple agrees on a method of raising the kiddos.
"Everyone needs a Nancy," Sara said. And she's right. Every couple needs that neutral person to calmly talk them through disagreements. Even if you're not married but you're in a committed relationship with each other, you need to know how to communicate and how to argue.
I've been with my fiancé for 3.5 years. We're not married yet (obviously) but I still think an occasional visit to a therapist would work wonders for our relationship. Don't get me wrong, we're doing great, but building better communication skills wouldn't hurt. Like a lot of couples, we have our disagreements but we never get into screaming arguments. I feel like some things just get bottled up and pushed aside. Our own "Nancy" could help us figure out my plans to start my own business and what he can do to help. I think he should do more chores around the house so I have more time to focus on my business. He resists, so maybe I'm overlooking his feelings of exhaustion when he comes home from a long day of work. I don't know. But Nancy would.
So if you're in a committed relationship – married or not – consider seeing a therapist to do a maintenance check on you and your significant other. By cleaning the lines of communication, you could grow even stronger as a couple. Find yourself a Nancy! Everyone needs a Nancy!