Written by Joanne C. Ongsitco, LMHC, NCC, CCTP-II
According to the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), about 40-60% of married couples end up in divorce in the United States, and even up to 10% higher within remarriages. Separation or divorce could be fueled by a number of different factors: including, but not limited to, communication issues, infidelity, distrust, family dynamic issues and conflicts, grief, loss, and trauma. Regardless of the combination of factors that may be present, these life changes prompt difficult adjustment and transitional challenges not only for the partners involved, but also for the children or adolescents directly or indirectly impacted.
As a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified National Counselor, and Level 2 Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, some of my work with my clients involve navigating through their relationships and family conflicts. More often than not, we explore whether they are “on the same page” with their partners. You might be thinking, what does being “on the same page” even mean? Does this mean that one partner compromises and lets go of their individual desires, values, and beliefs to be on the same page as their partner? Not at all.
A lot of the times, I work with couples on identifying their communication patterns with one another, how they are fulfilling not only each other’s needs but also their own individual needs, and how we can go from conflict-filled arguments to having open and honest conversations with one another. This ultimately leads to increased intimacy, vulnerability, and openness within their relationships. Couples counseling takes time and patience, commitment, and effort from both partners. A discussion on goals and expectations is usually one of the first things we explore in order to better determine what we are working with and towards; and more importantly for each partner to hear each other’s thoughts and feelings.
Some of the core components of being “on the same page” with your partner could include really hearing what your partner may be saying to you; in other words, listening to your partner with the intent to hear what they are truly attempting to communicate with you rather than listening with the primary intent to respond (you may be doing this if you’re already coming up with an answer in your head as your partner is still speaking) → talking with each other vs. talking at each other. Other elements that may play a role in being on the same page with your partner could involve learning more about how you (and your partner) give and receive love, support, and care, as well as identifying and implementing healthier and more effective ways of communication with each other.
Interested in learning more about how you give and receive love and how it shows up in your relationships? Take the 5 Love Languages® quiz developed by Dr. Gary Chapman by clicking here.