A FOCUS for Couples participant describes their experience and how it helped them uncover underlying areas of challenge in their relationship while learning to communicate in a positive and effective way.
- How has FOCUS helped your relationship?
- FOCUS opened our eyes to learning a healthy form of communication in our relationship. Having a mediator and structured sessions through the FOCUS approach has given us the tools to refer back to in our everyday life that we didn't have before.
- What is one memorable moment from your time in FOCUS?
- A memorable "breakthrough" moment was during our Leads for Empathic Responses exercise. Our biggest issue in our communication was truly hearing what the other person was saying and actively trying to understand how they viewed the disagreement. With the explanation about how important this is and strategies like reiterating your partner's thoughts back to them, we have gotten to a place where we are now able to speak comfortably and openly with each other and better understand each other's point of view. This shifted our disagreements from selfishly led arguments to calmer conversations led with love, a shared end goal of resolution and being on the same page.
- What impact has FOCUS had on your family? What skills do you continue to use in your everyday life as an individual and/or with your family?
- Overall, the main impact that FOCUS has had on our relationship is the confidence it has given us. Prior to FOCUS we did not know how to resolve issues, we ignored disagreements, and things compounded when traveling and distance was thrown into the mix. We knew we could not continue this way when it came to solving disagreements. This program has given both of us confidence and peace of mind knowing that if we both put in the effort, we will always be able to overcome anything in front of us, together, and that is something that we have never felt more strongly about before. We regularly refer back to the communication skills that we have practiced and have found the importance in opening up to each other and making time for one another even with busy schedules because we know how good it feels when we are on the same page and acting as a team.
- How has FOCUS helped create closeness in your relationship?
- Through FOCUS, we have faced issues together that we were otherwise scared to bring up or talk about in fear that there was no resolution. We were comfortably able to open up to our trainer and one another in a way that has put both of us completely on the same page again and we cannot thank FOCUS enough for that!
- How did FOCUS improve the quality of your relationship with your spouse or partner?
- What we've learned in our 5+ year relationship is that when growing together there are times when you do not feel on the same page as your partner, maybe due to a disagreement or your own thoughts building up that you would rather not share to avoid conflict. Going into the FOCUS program, we did not even identify that these could have been the root of our issues because we were not aware. Through the program, our trainer helped us bring these to light and we've broken down barriers, opened up and can now be vulnerable in our relationship making us feel closer than ever.
- If you could describe FOCUS in one sentence, how would you describe it?
- FOCUS is a program we would both highly recommend for anyone looking to strengthen their family and be given the tools to grow together in a healthy and fulfilling way.
- If someone were unsure about participating in FOCUS, what would you say to encourage them to join?
- DO IT. You don't know what you don't know and we can all agree that nothing feels better than a happy home and being with a partner that you feel unwavering support from through every situation - military life, everyday struggles, career decisions, etc. If you put in the work, this program will get you there. Our goal going into this was to work through issues that we felt were holding us back from moving onto the next step of our relationship. Shortly after we completed our sessions, we got engaged! We can confidently say the FOCUS program played a huge role in giving us the tools we needed to take this step together with no fear!
*Interview edited for length and clarity