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Communication, Couples Therapy, & the Weekly Walk

Communication, Couples Therapy, & the Weekly Walk by Eric Rosenblum, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I give homework to couples therapy clients after our first session, and it’s usually pretty basic. I might encourage couples to establish a weekly meeting where they divvy up domestic tasks and discuss finances. If sex is an issue, I might encourage couples to spend some time with one another physically, but agree beforehand that they’re not going to have intercourse (this can take the pressure off, as well as engender its own kind of eroticism.) Homework might be as simple as encouraging couples to offer one another more physical affection or to be more mindful of the tones they use around the house.

The homework I give that is most reliably effective, though, is to encourage couples to schedule a weekly walk of 30-45 minutes during which they talk about their relationship. I think the weekly walk is reliably successful because it’s scheduled, low-pressure, quality time for couples to spend without distraction; it’s a mutual gesture towards putting positive energy into their relationship; it's outdoors and in public, so the chance of an argument breaking out is significantly reduced; and it’s free. It doesn’t cost a dime.

The best part about the walk is that it’s a relaxed way to communicate about fraught and heavy issues. Too often, couples try to talk about serious topics when they’re feeling anxious—sometimes, one partner wants to have a serious talk about the future right at a moment of panic. Couples may try to discuss important stuff while one or both of them are at work, when they’re driving to dinner, or right before they go to sleep.

These aren’t good times to have serious conversations.

Choosing a good time to discuss a difficult topic is similarly important with parenting. A lot of times we might choose to talk to our kids about their behavior right at the moment that they’re misbehaving. Generally speaking, though, the best time for us to talk to kids about their misbehavior is when everyone is feeling good. That’s when we’re most likely to see and hear each other.

The weekly walk is the perfect time to discuss challenging topics with one’s partner.

I believe it’s important to find new and creative ways to elevate one’s relationship. Starting couples therapy and taking a weekly walk are similarly valuable in that, by initiating both, you’re acknowledging that relationships are hard, and harmonious ones take a lot of effort and attention, as well as learning and experimentation.

I often joke that if everyone would just take a weekly walk with their partner, I would be out of business as a couples therapist. I sometimes believe that to be true.

About the author

Eric Rosenblum, LMFT

Therapist, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I work with clients who are seeking to deepen the intimacy in their relationships, feel more connected and confident in themselves, and create meaning in their lives.

  • 🎯 Direct
  • 💙 Warm
  • 😃 Humorous
  • 🎨 Creative

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