Healthy Couples Share A Magical Skill: Reflection

This week I am honored to share a guest post by Rebecca Wong, LCSW-R. She is a relationship therapist in New York's Hudson Valley. Conflict in a relationship is never easy, and it can create stress, or make us feel anxious. Rebecca tells us that instead of blindly arguing about the same things again and again we can be more mindful, so that we can learn from the argument and reconnect with our partners. Read the steps and watch the short video below to see how the process works. Let me know what you think in the comments below!


 Being mindful during and after a fight can lead to better connections with your partner.

You know THAT fight that you have over and over again with your mate? The ugly one. The one that really prickles under your skin? What if I told you that this fight holds the secret to deepening your connection? Would you think I was nuts?

I'm guessing you might. Many of the couples I work with do too. Well, they think it’s a crazy idea until I walk them through the process. Watch this brief video and skim the text below to learn these deceptively simple steps.

Step one: Slow down to notice and your patterns. And allow this moment of reflection to come when it can. Be gentle on yourself and open to it. It may come five days later or it may be 5 minutes later or it maybe five minutes into the fight.

Step two: Notice what you‘re feeling and what you needed.

Step three: Name those feelings and needs to one another at a time when you both feel calmer. Whether one of you initiated the process, or if you made it a point to observe your patterns together, what's crucial is that you discuss this process and open a discussion.

Step four: This is your individualized prescription for what your relationship needs to thrive. Allow those needs and feelings to open your awareness. Now you are starting to see the pattern and also see what you can do differently.

Step five: Be kind to yourself and each other. This is vulnerable relationship work. It takes practice and patience. It requires above all else, the challenging work of being able to see yourself, your feelings and needs, and own them, ask for them, stand in your truth. And while you are doing that, also open to and be influenced by your partner's efforts to do the same.

Ok, so I understand how it’s easy to give you step-by-step instructions. Let me show you how it works by sharing an example from my own relationship:

I’m someone who processes things at a deep level; my husband tends to keep it light. When we are mindful of this pattern we can create balance and adapt to meet one another. But when the two of us aren’t tuning into our feelings, we miss out on the discussions about our needs. And then, instead of connecting, we miss each other.

I mean that literally -  we miss each other and we each start feeling lonely even when together. And this is exactly what the couples I work with share with me too. They feel unseen, unheard, and misunderstood. Just like I do when I pull away from my husband and when he pulls away from me.

The “magic” is in noticing your feelings.

 Tune into your feelings after a fight

When you notice the lonely feeling, just as when you notice the patterns that show up in your arguments, these are actually a new opportunities.These opportunities show up every time you tune into your feelings. When you notice you are missing one another you’re actually holding the magical potion in your hand. The noticing is the ingredient that enables you to reconnect. By tuning into your feelings. By bringing your awareness to your pattern.

It takes practice and it is a practice.

It is a practice that works because it refocuses you on your feelings and helps you ask for what you need. What you need often isn’t more distance, it’s connection. In these moments of reflection you’ll discover your own unique prescription for how to deepen your relationship so you both feel seen, heard and understood. So that you rediscover one another.

Have I inspired you to delve a teensy bit deeper into reflecting on your relationship’s patterns? Sign up for the invite list for the {Re}Spark audio course. In this upcoming audio course you’ll have a chance to dive into these ideas in a dynamic, experiential way.

 Rebecca Wong, LCSW-R- Arguing can create anxiety.

Rebecca Wong, LCSW-R is a relationship therapist and consultant in private practice in New York's Hudson Valley where she lives with her husband, two children, and a few four legged mischief makers. She is the creator of Connectfulness, a relationship practice that she uses to help her clients and colleagues understand, manage, and value their own humanity as a tool to connect to themselves and all of the important people in their lives. She believes that our relationships are reflections of who we really are and every interaction is an opportunity for evolution. Every day she embraces life as a beautiful, messy, serendipitous adventure. Learn more about Rebecca and her work at Connectfulness.com


Elizabeth Cush, MA, LCPC, is an Annapolis counselor helping people manage their stress and anxiety. Progression Counseling has offices in Arnold and Annapolis.  Call 410-340-8469.