Transforming Relationships: From Stop to Start

Addressing problems in relationships requires more than shouting "stop." A better approach is outlining positive actions and understanding each other's needs

Building a Path to Happiness Together

It’s infinitely easier to see what you don’t want your spouse to do as opposed to what you want them to do.  Partly, that’s because we are all hardwired to pay attention to what’s painful more profoundly than what gives us pleasure.  Partly, it’s because it’s easier to verbalize to people to stop something – They’re usually in the middle of doing the darned thing.  It’s hard to miss it, so the most natural thing in the world to do is shout, “STOP.”

While it might be easy to say stop, it is next to impossible to actually listen.  Why is that?  Why can’t your partner get through their thick skull that that stop means stop?  The truth of the matter is stopping a negative behavior isn’t so straight forward.  First of all, just because you say stop doesn’t mean they actually trust you that you are being straight with them.  Bad relationships breed a sort of loving distrust for each other.  Often people respond in their heads, “Yeah, he says I need to stop but that’s because he doesn’t realize what I’m really trying to do.  He doesn’t get it.”  Secondly, whatever annoying behavior that’s driving you up the wall is probably serving your partner as some sort of life line.  Asking for your wife, “To just stop staying up all night on social media,” is probably asking her to give up on the only access to good friends that she has.  Lastly, asking the other person to stop can be a game of stalemate.  “I’m not going to stop going out with my friends because you aren’t going to stop work long enough to share a meal with me, anyway.” 

An easier, and much more rewarding, way to go is to tell your partner what you would like from them to do instead of what to stop doing.  Chances are, the fundamental problem they’re struggling with is the shame and anger they feel in being inept at making you happy.  Often, it’s that shame that’s driving them to do the things you want them to stop, anyway.  In some sense, “stop” is the middle man that needs to be cut out of the equation.  The more you set up a clear target of success for your spouse, the more likely it will be that they will know how to make you happy.

Yonasan Bender, LSW graduated from Hebrew University’s School of Social Work. He has his psychotherapy practice at The Place: The Jerusalem Centre for Emotional Wellbeing. To share your thoughts, experiences, questions, or a different perspective, you can reach Yonasan Bender at 053-808-0435 or email him by clicking HERE. To learn more about him and his work, click HERE.

The Place

The Place is where therapists, individuals and the community connect to create safety, strength and success. At The Place, men and women discover the freedom and safety to move past those issues which are preventing them from living life to its fullest. Our goal is to help each of our clients discover his or her own strengths as powerful tools in the healing process.

The Place is a multi-faceted clinic offering both individual and group therapy, support groups, interactive evenings and lectures, educational classes, and drop-in hours. Our comfortable, confidential, relaxed environment allows clients and their families to explore sensitive issues and create positive change. We believe that the key to mental health and emotional well-being is inside you.

At The Place, male and female therapists work independently or as a team to explore sensitive issues and facilitate positive change for individuals, couples and families from all sectors of the community. Some of our specialties include emotional eating, grief counseling, internet addiction, phobias, anxiety & OCD, childhood challenges, premarital counseling, couples therapy and intimacy issues, postpartum support, personality disorders, psychiatric care, and more. Connect with a caring professional in person at our comfortable Jerusalem offices, or by video, phone, and text. We’re here for you.

Contact Us

Phone (02) 581 8299
Whatsapp 054 260 1468

Social Media






Related Posts

More to Explore