There is a happy couple decalogue which is used in some circles. The following exercise is an adaptation of others that I have seen in different places. Over time, I found it to be a good tool to assess certain aspects of the relationship.
How is it made?
First, I usually do it with the two members of the couple present, and I explain to them that it is a team effort. I like to say that because also it allows me to observe how they behave when they know they have to work as a team. It’s interesting and gives a lot of play. Everyone should have a folio and a pen to write on.
I tell them clearly that it’s about finding the 10 things that make a couple happy. It is clear that we have to stick to a number, and that is why they are 10. But we can say that in these 10 it encompasses all the aspects that studies show couples value in their relationship and that makes them happier in the relationship and on a daily basis.
Obviously, some cost more and others less, and there are some aspects that most find it difficult to spell out or even consider as part of the happiness of the couple. It’s also interesting for that. In general, they generally meet the criteria and recognize the value of these aspects.
This would be the first part, and the second involves individual work.
Before explaining the second part, he presented the list of the Decalogue.
The ten points of the Decalogue
In consultation, I wrote every aspect on a card, and as patients get to that aspect, they somehow describe it, and I throw that card away … Maybe we talk about it a lot, and we keep looking for other aspects … And so, until we reach the ten points of the exercise. Sometimes I have to help them a lot, and sometimes just, or nothing at all. They usually give them positive reinforcement step by step.
Sometimes, to make the exercise easier, I give them one or two aspects to open their mouths and prevent the exercise from taking too long.
The ones I give as an example are usually:
- the respect.
Then I just tell them, “There are only eight years left, what are you thinking?” And we continue with the list of the Decalogue …
- share hobbies.
- Sincerity / trust.
- mutual support.
- Individual project / joint project… (a patient said: “space, but also sharing …” It was an older couple … and it was their way of understanding it and claiming their space).
- Sexual satisfaction … (Many say “sex”, but having sex is not enough to be happy, it has to be satisfying).
- Complicity / Empathy … (the term “empathy” and its concept are increasingly well known).
The last two are those that seem less obvious in consultation.
- Sense of humor.
As for admiration, it is necessary to clarify the following. In couple therapy, falling in love is not very helpful, in some cases it can be a real problem. We don’t see this as a positive or necessary thing in the relationship. Neither do we despise her happily or gratuitously, for nothing.
Instead, admiration is the key to securing a good future in the couple’s relationship, even if there are major issues.
The last part: the evaluation
The next part of the exercise is shorter and I ask them to move on to work individually. I give each one a pen of a different exotic color and then I ask them to mark from 0 to 10 on the pair, as a team, the mark they take on each of the aspects mentioned. Let them remember that the two are evaluated as a whole … and write the score on the side of that aspect. I give them time to think and put their notes. If they have trouble understanding, I’ll give them an exaggerated example.
I ask them to pass me their folios once they have finished writing their notes. I look at their lists and notes, and send them back to their partner to see how they rate the whole. From there, we take a joint tour of all of their scores and explore every aspect in relation to them. this it provides us with a good basis for couples therapy.
The Happy Couple Decalogue is just a tool, and it will depend on practice and other variables to be able to get enough of it as it can take a number of sessions to complete. however, it is very useful because it gives rise to many other strategies and to assess the state of the problem.
The fact that the couple can assess their relationship as a whole is very helpful, and the way they handle this activity gives us a lot of information and allows the couple to be aware of the state of the relationship. each of these aspects.
In some cases, this helps the couple start to separate. Many others, to work in the most vulnerable areas. It offers endless possibilities, which is why I use this exercise frequently.