I sometimes tell new couples who come for counseling that what I am running is something like a dancing school. You come here because you can’t dance together well and would like to do better. I‘m using an analogy, in many ways a good one.
Couples often come to counseling blaming each other for the poor condition of the relationship. The problem is not us; it’s one of us alone, and almost always that one person is — you.
The dancing school analogy gets the couple to consider that the real problem is our failure to work well together in the way we communicate and, usually, in just about every aspect of the relationship, too — rather than what one of us is doing to the other.
The way “we” dance is too clumsy, too harsh; we’re too out of touch with each other and possibly with the music, too. We have too little sense of our individual selves, of each other — and the two of us as the couple dancing.
If the “couples relationship/dancing couple” analogy makes sense to the couple, they will begin to understand and make room for the particular talents of each of them so that they work together more easily and more smoothly. They will talk about the “dance” of their communication and what each asks of the other to make communication “the two us moving easily through the dance of talking together.” Best of all, they will stop blaming each other and begin to focus on the third “person” present — the “we” that they make together.