Shifting your Perceptions of your Partner

No matter what issue is afflicting you, the most important thing is the way you view your world. How do you view your spouse?

I once met with a couple, who were at their breaking point. Most of the time, one person in the marriage does not want to be at the counselling session. One person is usually pushing the other to attend. In this case, it was the husband who wanted to seek help in order to save their relationship. His wife had told him that she wanted a divorce. She was fed up with him, and now that the children were moving away to school, the timing seemed right.

She said that in order for their marriage to work, she needed a few things from him. One of the things she needed was for him to start being on time. She shared that throughout their marriage, he was always late for their children’s birthday parties and soccer games. She felt that because he wasn’t on time, he didn’t care. So he arrived early to the next session. He was proud of himself, and committed to saving the marriage.

He began to arrive early and on time for several appointments and plans with his wife. He shared that his friends had noticed a change in him, and even I noticed the change. However, the one person who did not notice this new habit was his wife. She was so used to thinking of him in a certain way. She held on to the perception that he was always late, so she was viewing him through her own filter. It wasn’t until I pointed out that he was arriving early, that she realized that he had given her exactly what she asked for. She was so consumed by her perception of him that was based on the past, that she couldn’t see the change in him that she had so desperately wanted.

With most of my clients, the issue is that they need to let go of the past, and the old way of looking at their lives that is no longer serving them. They must learn to notice that there are new ways of looking at things. Like anything, this process takes time and practice, and isn’t always easy. It is about shifting your perceptions of yourself and others.


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