JUDITH COTTON, MA, LMFT - [email protected]

Psychotherapist, Relationship Coach, Parenting Skills Educator

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Posted on June 4, 2017 at 6:48 PM Comments comments (7230)

Judith Cotton, LMFT

            Good relationships and partnerships do not just happen. True when you meet someone for the first time you have a sense as to whether there may be a connection - or shared interests, ideas and values.  However, the relationships that last and become intimate take a great deal of energy, insight and effort.  I might even say they are a lot of work.   
The other day I heard someone say (could have been on the radio) that long marriages take work and long happy marriages are lucky in that they work.  That may be true - and if it is then there are ways to improve the luck and lessen the work. 
           Number one is to give up the idea that you can change your partner.  Control ends at your fingertips.  You can cause, invite make it easy for your partner to change by working on yourself.  If you stop and think before you speak to ponder on how your words will affect the other person and decide how best to say something - you may not bat a 1000 but if you are genuinely interested and come from a place of respect and caring, you will often get whatever you need. 
           The other day I had a couple who resorted to yelling allegedly to get their point across. Actually, they did so in my office - After my moment of disbelief I tuned in and realized that neither one was able to hear what the other was saying - they were just yelling at each other with no listening or understanding. Nothing was going to be accomplished.  Each needed to be right - in control and had long passed whatever it was they were trying get accomplished. 
             WOULD YOU RATHER BE RIGHT OR IN A RELATIONSHIP?  Defining the goal and keeping that in mind takes maturity, and calm communication.  Even when I coach parents who quite often are more right than their child is; I ask if you are the winner, what is your child? 
              In Respectful Relationships there is no score keeping, no tit for tat, or retaliation you should have grown out of that by the third grade.  Be kind, authentic, accountable and respectful - and others will treat you the same way.  If they do not, then patiently find out what it might be that they do not see as kind, or respectful, and trust that how they feel is true for them.  Can you be trusted to hear feelings - just hear them and understand their validity to the other? That is what is required. It may not have been what you intended for them to feel - however it is their right to feel their own feelings.  Be ready to correct the message in order to help them FEEL differently.