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7 Key Relationship Insights From a Couples Therapist | Foram Zaveri, Psychologist, Therapist

When people find out that I’m a couples counselor, they often want to know if I have any intriguing stories or pearls of wisdom to share about relationships.

Juicy and wise, they may or may not be, but through my work as a couples counselor, there are a few things I’ve come to understand about relationships that I’m always eager to share.

Today, I want to lay out these seven key relationship insights for you, hoping they resonate with you and provide support for you and your relationships.

  1. Relationships often require hard work.

    The truth is, relationships are often hard work. Some may be harder or easier than others, depending on various factors like context, compatibility, and the willingness of the couple to grow and heal together. Disney, rom-coms, TV, and hyper-edited social media have led many of us to believe that being with “The One” is supposed to be easy. I completely disagree. Long-term, committed romantic relationships are often challenging, and that’s entirely normal. Two people with all their triggers, wounds, quirks, and preferences trying to navigate life together—easy? I think not.

  2. There’s no perfect partner, and forget about a wish list of “101 Must-Haves.”

    Honestly, I don’t buy into the concept of “The One” or the idea that there’s a single perfect partner for each of us. Creating lists of “101 Must-Haves” is impractical and unlikely for any one person to fulfill. However, you do get to have preferences. Reflect on and create a list of “10 Must-Have” character traits in a partner to help clarify your needs and wants.

  3. Relationships are where personal growth truly happens.

    While insights from books and seminars are fantastic, the real testing ground for personal growth is in messy, real-life relationships. Relationships act as our greatest mirror, reflecting back all our “stuff.” It can be challenging, but the silver lining is that relationships, especially those with a safe container, provide opportunities for deep healing, growth, and transformation.

  4. Commitment and a willingness to grow are non-negotiable.

    In the grand scheme of a committed, romantic relationship, two qualities—commitment and a willingness to grow—are invaluable. These qualities count for so much over the long haul.

  5. 69% of your problems won’t be solved, only managed (harsh, but true).

    According to leading couples researchers Drs. John and Julie Gottman, 69% of a couple’s perpetual problems won’t actually get solved. They can only be managed. These recurring issues, based on inherent temperament and personality differences, can be navigated and understood with tools like couples therapy.

  6. You can have many different relationships with the same person.

    Over the course of a couple’s life together, dynamics and patterns can shift and transform. The person you’re struggling with now could become the person you re-fall madly in love with down the road. People are changeable, relationships are malleable, and transformations are possible.

  7. Each universe between a couple is a world of its own.

    Imagine those Tolkien-esque maps with forests, markers, and mysteries. The world a couple creates in their relationship is like an old, detailed map of an alternate world—unique and unlike any other. Only you and your partner get to navigate and create this terrain together, making your relationship truly yours.

Wrapping this up. So, there you have it—seven key insights from my work as a couples therapist and as a fellow human in a relationship. I hope this list resonates with you, regardless of where you are in your relationship journey.

Now, I’d love to hear from you: Do you agree with this list of insights? What’s another insight you’ve gained from your own relationship experience that you’d like to add to this list? Leave me a message.

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