Couples often inquire about how to fix a leak in their relationship. Usually, the couple will report, the current state of the relationship is relatively healthy with only a few opportunities.
Communication, connection, intimacy, parenting, work/life balance, extended family, etc. are common topics couples want to explore.
On the other hand, couples will eventually share something has shifted and recently they’ve had more disagreements, tension, or distance between one another although they are not sure why? or what? is the source.
What can happen, after some discussions, is that we begin to uncover the simple “leak” they initially identified is actually a deeper “plumbing” issue and more complicated than originally thought.
With a “leak” the goal is to stop it. It’s a quick fix, a little silicone tape, maybe some plumbers putty, and voila! The problem is gone. Let’s move on….
Unfortunately, with a deeper problem, there’s more time involved, and it can become a more challenging process to pinpoint. The “leak” is not the problem, it’s a sign, that underlying issues exist, and “plumbing” support is needed.
“Plumbing” in a relationship can involve looking deeper behind each individuals’ walls to explore emotional safety, unhealthy relational patterns, DIS-connection with intimacy, recent or past trauma, adult attachment challenges, and other sensitive areas the couple hasn’t spent time nurturing and cultivating.
While many couples spend their time addressing the “leak” by attempting to ignore it, hoping it will go away, or solving it with short term fixes the drip continues and the sound eventually gets louder and louder...
Drip, Drip, Drip, Drip......
To affect the “leak” and repair the relationship for the long term we inevitably will need to look behind the walls, pull up the floorboards, and identify the deeper opportunities associated with the “plumbing” in the relationship.
You can address “plumbing” opportunities in your relationship through multiple ways. On one hand, the Gottman approach to couples’ therapy, often suggests for couples to expand upon their “love maps” with one another. While, Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy, offers suggestions to address primary emotions that may be missing, overlooked, or misinterpreted within the relationship.
Both approaches offer a helpful framework that enable couples the opportunity to address the “plumbing” in the relationship vs. a quick fix.
If the Drip, Drip, Drip, Drip, Drip is getting louder and louder in your relationship then consider addressing the “plumbing” rather than just fixing the leak….