Suffering couples come to see me without realizing that they already have all the ingredients they need to make a delicious cake of a relationship, because all they manage to do on their own is to make a terrible mess: disconnection, fights, hurt feelings, annoyance with each other, or whatever way their struggles play out.
Basically, it can be hard to swallow.
But the truth is, people in couples therapy with me are already perfectly suited for love, intimacy, and deep connection with each other—that’s why they got together in the first place!
They’ve just forgotten the recipe.
Remembering The Recipe for Love
Couples who are suffering in love have fallen into habits with each other that make it hard to see that they could ever do things differently, let alone by simply rearranging the same ingredients.
That’s where I come in.
As an experienced couples therapist, I help you take the exact same ingredients and put them together in a better way with a slightly different perspective, and that helps you make a beautiful cake. I don’t add anything—the exact same thing that you are seeing as a problem suddenly transforms into, “Oh my gosh, how did we not realize this is all happening because we love each other so much?”
That new-found hope is found within an “Aha!” moment of mutual understanding that naturally leads a couple to affection and closeness.
Digging into the Delicious Cake
The next part is deceptively simple—it’s just about eating the cake. “Eating the cake” here means you are both able to truly love those vulnerable parts of each other.
For some people, eating the cake is really easy. Many times in Emotionally-Focused Couples Therapy, we don’t have to do anything about the eating-cake part. We get a couple to that moment of “yYou’re hurting, I’m hurting, and we love each other,” and the rest happens on its own in a cinematic moment of connection where they fall into each other’s arms, loving the vulnerable parts of each other.
But other times, often when people have not seen enough love in their lives, they need some help to be shown how to enjoy the cake. These couples have trouble recognizing that they’ve reached that point where everything’s good, and they can actually dig in and enjoy the cake!
Stop Saving the Good China for that Special Occasion
Couples therapy can be really impactful for those couples who are in the midst of love, but can’t reach it. They’re waiting for the perfect moment to take out the fine china and enjoy the cake without realizing that this is the moment—this is it!
Maybe they’re afraid to break the special tea set, so they never let themselves enjoy it. Maybe they know that baking a cake is a messy business, so they don’t allow themselves the joy and fun of the process. They could be trying to protect their beautiful cake—but they’re scared of turning up the heat, so their relationship sits, perfectly cold on the counter.
Maybe they’re just scared to take a bite because it reminds them of their deeper hunger.
If any of those problems resonate with you, remember that life is all about the process. It’s never perfectly clean or pain-free, but it can be oh so delicious. The sooner you get that, the sooner you can get on with enjoying and living life and making special occasions out of everyday experiences of love.
This perspective lets you enjoy fresh, delicious, real life and real relationships—with joy, connection, shared growth, and while experiencing life’s best and worst moments inside your safe, snuggly love.
You, Too, Have All the Ingredients for Love
Now next time you look at those happy couples around you, never think they’re better than you… not for a moment, okay? They have the same only-human nature that you and I have. If they can do it, so can you.
And there’s no shame in getting some baking classes—AKA couples therapy—to remind you of your recipe for love.
Even my wife and I, who are both seasoned professional couples therapists, go to therapy! We know first-hand how the process of therapy can make you feel renewed pride in your relationship; it matters so much to you that you’ll get into couples therapy to sort out the recipe, bake your unique cake, clean up nicely, and—most importantly—enjoy the relationship (eat the cake!)
So keep cooking, you’ve both got this!