Couple Capacity to Change - RonaldMah

Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist,
Consultant/Trainer/Author
Go to content

Main menu:

Therapist Resources > Therapy Articles


Couple's Capacity to Grow/Change

What is the Others and Own CAPACITY to grow, to change in a couples relationship:  
For a couple to be willing to invest in any manner to build or heal the relationship, they each individually need to be able to answer each of the following chart’s questions “yes,” or at least be hopeful that the answers may be “yes.”

Question                                                                                                                    “I”                        partner       
 
Can change or grow (Capacity: the will)…
Can change or grow  (Capacity: skills, difficulty, ability)
(Personally, and/or He/she is, it is) Worth it to change…
Has the courage change or grow…                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                                     
                                                                          Required sum ---->      4                             4 -------> then INVEST

Both partners answer the grid of questions.

Any definitive “NO” means that the relationship won’t work.  Even if one individual is all “YES” answers, any one definitive “NO” answer from the other individual effectively ends the relationship, no matter the continued investment.

Any “Maybe” needs to be addressed and worked through until it becomes a definitive “YES” or a definitive “NO.”

If all eight answers by both partners are “YES,” (or, a total of 16 “YES” answers), then work on the relationship proceeds with greater confidence.  It’s just more work and time.

Individuals may answer “YES” from hope, which is dishonest in a sense, because that really is a “MAYBE.”  The work on the relationship will eventually reveal a dishonest (although well-intended) “YES.”

Many times, the answers are “I don’t know,” especially about the other person.  That is ok.  However, for process to be successful (in terms of building or healing the relationship), it must move towards all “yes’s”.  The first and continuing goal is to for both members of the couple to gain confidence in his/her own and his/her partner’s capacity to grow and change, find it more worthwhile to change AND that both WILL change.  When it does move to that, the relationship is in a fundamentally different place and has a different process.  Until it moves to that, the couple as individuals and a couple, lack the confidence that their relationship will grow.  With confidence, there will be a tangible relaxation of the dynamics.  A “mistake” or injury will no longer be seen as a crisis of the relationship’s viability, but more as an opportunity to do more work and become closer.  In many ways, when the couple gets here, the true growth is done.  All that is left is the work.
ADDRESS:
433 Estudillo Ave., #305
San Leandro, CA 94577-4915
Ronald Mah, M.A., Ph.D.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, MFT32136
CONTACT INFORMATION:
phone: (510) 614-5641
fax: (510) 889-6553
Back to content | Back to main menu