The Gottman method is designed to help couples build intimacy by boosting respect and breaking down communication barriers. Most people understand the importance of healthy communication in a relationship but aren’t sure what it looks like. In a neurodivergent intimate partnership, this is the main concern that brings couples to therapy, that both partners are speaking a different language so to speak. That lack of communication often creates barriers or roadblocks to a deeper understanding and true connection, and the Gottman method helps neurodiverse couples learn positive skills to strengthen their bonds. Backed by decades of research, that’s why this approach to couples therapy is often so successful, and one of the most popular options for couples who feel like their relationship needs support.
Of course, there’s no guarantee that you’ll begin your therapy experience and immediately experience success. It takes time and effort from both partners. Thankfully, there are things you can do to boost your chance of success in Gottman couples therapy, so you can make the most out of your experience. Let’s take a look at some tips you should put into practice on your therapy journey.
1. Be Open to Change
The earlier you seek out help in your relationship, the better. However, that doesn’t mean things are “doomed” just because you’ve waited years to go to therapy. It does mean, however, that both you and your partner have to be willing to be open and committed to change. You have to establish a desire for a positive outcome from therapy and open yourself up to the lessons and techniques you’ll learn.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough for just one person to want change to happen. You’ll experience greater success if you’re both totally willing to give 100% effort. It’s something to discuss with your partner before making your first appointment so you’re on the same page from the start.
2. Lead With Respect
The Gottman method relies on increasing intimacy, respect, and affection. It also focuses on boosting empathy and understanding within relationships. You might already think you do, but consider what your everyday conversations look like. More importantly, consider what your arguments look like. You can’t accomplish that if you aren’t willing to respect your partner.
Do you bring up past hurts? Do you have unrealistic expectations for your partner or relationship? Are you sweeping things under the rug because you don’t want to work through them?
Most importantly, how do your conversations start? Gottman suggests solving problems by “softening your start-up.” How a conversation starts is typically a good indicator of how it will end. If you’re coming at your partner with a lack of respect, your communication efforts will fail, and your relationship will become stagnant. If you go into therapy with a deeply-rooted sense of respect for each other, you’ll likely get more out of it.
3. Remember, You’re on the Same Team
It’s not always easy for couples to remember they’re fighting for the same things. That’s especially true when it feels like the intimacy has faded from your relationship. But, as you go through therapy and remember you have the same goals, it will help you keep a positive perspective.
You might not always have the same approach to things. It’s okay to have different ideas and desires. But, at the end of the day, your partner will always be there for you and vice versa. Remembering that as you work through some of the struggles in your relationship will make a big difference.
Again, the Gottman method for couples therapy has grown in popularity for a reason and we find it particularly helpful with neurodivergent partnerships due to its accessibility and focus on skill building. The sooner you can break down communication barriers and improve intimacy in your relationship, the more bonded you’ll feel. If you’re interested in learning more about the Gottman method and the positive impact it can have on your neurodivergent relationship, feel free to contact me. Don’t wait until you feel like your relationship is on rocky ground. Reach out today, and we’ll work on strengthening your partnership from the ground up.