As a professional who counsels couples, you have likely seen the positive effects self-awareness has on relationships. You also understand the pitfalls of couples who are unaware of how they relate to each other, and how they operate as individuals. Often, spouses who are wounded will perpetuate a cycle of hurt, seemingly unable to take an objective view of the situation.
For engaged and married couples, becoming more self-aware leads to a better relationship outcome. That’s because self-awareness cultivates deeper empathy. Let’s dig a little deeper into why this is so important.
Marriage Assessments Cultivate Self-Awareness
Self-awareness gives couples the opportunity to take a step back and truly see how they’re affecting one another, and what they might do to improve their dynamic. In our experience, we’ve observed that self-awareness opens the door to more logical communication.
When we are driven by emotional reactions, our relationships strain under the pressure. We say things to one another that we may not mean–and cannot take back later. Many people report being so angry during a conflict with their spouse, they can’t think clearly. The loss of clarity and self-awareness can be disastrous in managing and solving marital problems.
Assessments can help couples uncover their own blind spots and acknowledge how they’re feeling inside. Objectivity is a learned skill, rather than something we’re born with. As couples learn self-awareness and develop the ability to step back and be more objective, they are able to begin solving conflicts from a place of logic and reason.
For premarital couples, self-awareness can help to remove the rose-colored lenses of romance. Engaged couples have the opportunity to see themselves more clearly and objectively as they get to know one another better. For couples who, perhaps, should put the brakes on their wedding plans, this is a godsend.
Self-Awareness Sparks Empathy
When we are naturally self-aware, we become more empathic toward one another. Objectively understanding how we affect each other means we’re more likely to consider one another’s feelings in the heat of conflict (and in everyday life, too).
In addition to growing self-awareness, assessments give couples a chance to see more clearly than ever before into one another’s inner workings. This deeper knowledge of each other also leads to better empathy, which is essential for a successful, lifelong marriage.
Empathy leads to greater patience and understanding, greater forgiveness, more laughter, and ultimately, a more peaceful relationship. It reduces judgment and hurt feelings. Ultimately empathy means more love in a marriage, and that changes everything for the better.
Help Couples Nurture Self-Awareness and Empathy
We created the Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) Assessment in order to help couples become more aware of themselves and one another. When couples take an assessment that provides them with detailed insights into how their relationship works, they are able to raise their awareness and, consequently, build a healthier relationship.
Looking for a resource to help your couples nurture greater self-awareness and empathy? Our new book, Helping Couples, was co-written by Drs. Les and Leslie and Dr. David H. Olson. We created this book especially for counselors, clergy, and other facilitators who help premarital and married couples navigate the challenges of their relationships. It’s available for pre-order, and you can pick up your copy here.
How do you help to encourage self-awareness in the couples you counsel? Let us know in the comments.