One of the challenges in couples therapy is actually having the couple implement what they are learning from their therapy sessions. The difficulty of this makes sense to me even though it can be frustrating as the therapist to have couples come in not implementing what they need to work on. When you are in the session the work you need to do is top of mind, but as you leave the session and move into the other responsibilities and focuses you have the intentions can slip our minds.
With this very normal and real occurrence, I have tried to think of ways to simplify the action that needs to be taken between sessions. One way I love to do that is by giving relationship challenges to the couple. A favorite one I encourage often is the 21 Days of Gratitude Challenge. If you've followed this blog for a while, you will have heard me mention this before.
The challenge itself is simple--spend 21 days expressing gratitude towards your partner. The 21 days is intentional because it often takes 21 days to build a new habit and I want my couples to create a habit or ritual of expressing gratitude towards one another.
Because I discuss this challenge often in my couples therapy and have been for years, I have been creating modifications of it over the years. That graphic is one way I have encouraged couples to implement the challenge. Last year, I created a YouTube challenge for those who want a video to watch explaining the challenge each day. You can follow the 21-day challenge there at the following links (you'll notice it says Rachel Elder Coaching which is a business I had in 2021-2023, but close in March of 2023):
So while you may not be working with one of our clinicians, we want to challenge you to implement the 21-day gratitude challenge in your marriage. Feel free to pick from the examples above or create your own version.
Be consistent, be intentional, and be grateful!