Catherine Morris, MFT - Psychotherapy for Couples


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Communication 101:
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Your Relationship is a Team?
How about that!

You probably don’t consider your relationship as being a team. When you think of the word “team” what comes to mind are likely sports teams. However, when you and your partner come together in your relationship a team is exactly what you are. For this reason, it is important to understand the dynamics of a relationship team in order to strengthen your bond with one another.

A couple working together as a team is a lot like two people beginning a business. At the start of a business the two people are excited about what they are building and have a vision for the future. They’re each aware of their talents, values and desires as well as the talents etc. of their partner. Plans are made with an expectation of responsibility and follow through. Each partner is aware that there will be difficulties and obstacles and that adjustments will need to be made along the way. A business cannot be successful if there is not a built in requirement for ongoing communication.

While it may be a bit of a stretch to compare a relationship with a business venture it is true that when couples consider their relationship in terms similar to those used in business there is a stronger foundation. Ultimately this leads to smoother sailing when difficulties arise.

Fostering teamwork creates a relationship that values collaboration. Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. In a teamwork environment, couples understand and believe that thinking, planning, making decisions and taking actions are better when done cooperatively. A couple operating as a team will direct individual accomplishments toward the objectives that nurture and allow the relationship to flourish.

Characteristics Of A Successful And Healthy Relationship Team:

  • Trust is a solid foundation of the relationship
  • Productive conflict is acknowledged as a natural part of the relationship
  • A Commitment is made to the relationship
  • Each partner’s values are aligned with the goals of the relationship
  • Visions, goals and outcomes are clearly defined
  • Each partner is accountable for their actions in the relationship
  • Mistakes are readily admitted
  • Mutual respect is shown
  • Each partner is given the benefit of the doubt
  • Help or assistance is asked for and graciously given
  • Each partner asks for what they need and want
  • Partners rely on each others strengths
  • Apologies are offered and accepted when necessary
  • Interactions are lively, engaging, and loving
  • Potential problems are identified quickly and a resolution that is acceptable to both partners is sought
  • Effective communication skills are used to negotiate agreements and make decisions
  • A safe environment is created in which each partner feels willing to be vulnerable
  • Partners are open to resolving conflict
  • Each partner listens to what the other is saying
  • Effective and clarifying questions are asked when something is not understood
  • Each partner has integrity ‑ being true to their word and doing what they say they are going to do

Working together as a team will help you and your partner to begin to build the kind of relationship that is important to each of you. Good teamwork allows you to dismantle the distance that may have grown between the two of you and find your way back to each other. Problems that seem insurmountable appear smaller when you are working in tandem with someone to solve them. Using effective communication and negotiation skills will allow you to come together to create a team that helps you attain the extraordinary results that your relationship deserves.

If you and your partner are stuck in a holding pattern and think you might benefit from learning to work as a team, contact me for a FREE phone consultation. I can be reached at 650 289-9972. You may also email me at Catherine@catherine-morris.com with your questions.


Office located in downtown Menlo Park, California. Serving clients in Palo Alto, Stanford, Atherton, Woodside, Redwood City, Mountain View and Los Altos.