Learning how to love and be love
I always found it interesting that in my counselling and psychotherapy training we never covered love. We talked about Freud, Klein, Jung, Rogers and so on - but the closest any of these got to love was Carl Rogers on unconditional positive regard.
Couple Counselling is also very similar. Not many couple counsellors know how to teach the men, women and couples they work with the path to love. They work with superficial layer - the arguments, affairs, and other relationship issues. Underneath all of this is a layer of relationship patterns, emotions, thoughts, actions and lack or love (or not knowing how to love).
The issues couples face - from arguments, affairs, detachment, hurt and pain are often caused on a deep level by a lack of love. For themselves and each other.
The relationship patterns become embedded and a natural part of the relationships. They only know how to respond with anger and pain. Rather than address the issues, some go and have affairs, others become detached or turn to drink or working long hours. This becomes the norm because they don't know how else they can respond.
I remember in school the nuns always talked about giving love. Doing things for others. Give. Give and Give. To put others first always. This may appear a great way to live, however it isn't balanced. For to really give, we most know how to received.
It took me a while to truly understand this as giving and receiving are both equal. John O'Donohue (the great Irish poet and philosopher) said there is certain meanness of spirit if you don't have how to received.
To reject someone's kindness and love towards you is in a way a slap on the face of the other person. How often do you brush aside a compliment from someone else? How often do you reject someone's support (even thought you need it)? How often do you choose independence over resting your head on someone's shoulders?
This is the same for love. To really love, we most also know how to be loved.
To really love and to be loved, we must also know how to love ourselves. This is the natural cycle of love.
It once again took me a while to really understand this!
A few years ago I was introduced to the concept of loving-kindness which is from the Buddhist tradition. It creates a pathway to offer ourselves love, kindness and care. This is extended to an friend, a loved one and someone we have a difficult relationship with.
That is unconditional love. To love others in the face of hardship and difficulty. To love others and not placed conditions upon that love. Such as if you have this job, this goal, this purpose only then I will love you. If you do as I say I will love you. If you meet my needs I will love you.
To love yourself and each other unconditionally gives your relationship space to grow deeper. You may still have disagreements of course or differences of opinions however that's all they are. They don't go further. You both move on and live with a love in your hearts and with each other - recognising that you and your partner are unique individuals with your own strengths and weaknesses and your own courage and challenges.
Here is a beautiful quote on love by Ann Landers:
Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses.
If you wish to find out more about couple counselling in London and Bath please call us on +44 (0) 753 421 3557. We look forward to hearing from you and wish you a warm and loving day!
Sex Therapist and Relationship Coach
One of the differences between traditional couple counselling and the Heart of Relationships Couple Relationship Coaching Programme, is that traditional couple counselling will take you through a process to solve the issues and difficulties you are facing with your partner.
What we offer, is to take you through a process to solve issues and difficulties and at the same time to become conscious and learn the skills you are experiencing as you move forwards in your lives, become more authentic, speak your truth, and have your voice heard, so that you learn state of the art communication, listening and relationship building tools, which become a part of your natural way of being in the world, and work towards making your relationship flourish for many years to come.
This is relationship coaching and counselling on another level.
One person remarked counselling can be like giving a person a fish to feed their immediate hunger, but couple relationship coaching is like teaching a person to fish - so they are self-sustaining and have abundance which grows and grows with their skills for the rest of their life.
Each issue you bring has the seeds of great potential. Potential to learn, to tap into your inner wisdom and resources, to live out your self-fulfillment, and build and co-create extraordinary relationships.
So when couples come in crisis, or seeking the spark that they once had, we are not dismayed, but pleased, because we can help you to see the opportunities in the issues you are facing to make your own life and your relationship that much richer, as you develop a strong partnership together, using and tapping into your amazing talents and gifts for life - some of which you may not yet appreciate - and some of which you may sense very keenly and want to use and live more of.
In this sense, a problem in communication, means giving you the tools so you have the experience of communicating exactly what you want to, and the opportunity to learn high level communication skills, which tap into your awareness and dramatically increase your understanding of the way people work, and help your confidence grow as you connect to yourself and to other people using your new and developing skills.
A sexual issue becomes the opportunity to explore all the issues there and become more sexual and whole in your identity as well as in your relationship with your partner, in work which complements where you are at and where you would both very much like to be.
In fact, when people are stuck, sometimes they don't know how to move forwards, and when given the tools they need couples find out very quickly that their love for themselves, their partner, and their relationship is very achievable indeed.
And in my experience all the couples who come to the Heart of Relationships couple counselling and coaching begin with that love, and when they begin there, and are willing to do whatever it takes, I very often get the feeling they will succeed. And they do.
If this is where you are at now with your partner, and you are curious to find out how your relationship can be stronger, more fulfilling, sexually connected, and you can really work as a team together, please call 0800 024 8647 or 075 3421 7553 to talk with John.
John offers relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.