There are great tools/resources out there, take what fits and discern how this is helpful or not to yourself and the coupleship. One of the things I like in RCA is the twelve steps, and how the focus is on the relationship, great questions that dig deep into the past, family of origin, how we got to this place, and what the future can look like. You can go on their web page and get the information, and use the 12 steps as a part of a weekly check-in. You might spend 20 minutes or so on one of the questions. If anything, it's good structured dialogue and now each of you know something of the other you may not have known, in the understanding of the trauma and and healing process. We can all use the 12 steps for one thing or another in our lives. I also recommend the 12 steps, as is or modified as a means of establishing a personal or family mission statement.
Below is the 1st step taken from RCA, take a look and modify it, if you need to, and notice the questions. If you agree to do this, contract a time and space for each other, and start by asking each other if you can be accessible emotionally to one another, emotionally responsive and stay engaged.Agree to take a time out and get back together if either one of you does not have the capacity to hold this sacred space at this time for one another.
Ours is a fellowship of recovering couples. We suffer from many different addictions, and we share our experience, strength and hope with one another that we may solve our common problems and help other recovering couples restore their relationships.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to remain committed to each other and to develop new intimacy. Our primary purpose is to stay committed in loving and intimate relationships and to help other couples achieve freedom from addicted and destructive relationships.
We admitted we were powerless over our
relationship - that our lives together had become unmanageable.
We all have family-of-origin issues and a history of relationships. We may not have gotten what we needed emotionally, physically, mentally or spiritually when we were growing up. There may have been abuse (physical, sexual, spiritual, emotional), abandonment, or deprivation. We all bring "baggage" to the coupleship. The steps teach us how to look at our baggage and how to reverse the process of blame.
Both of us are responsible for the presence or absence of intimacy between us. As soon as each of us accepts mutual responsibility, we are ready for the First Step of RCA. Step One involves taking 200% responsibility for the health or disease of the relationship. Each person carries 100%.
Occasionally a couple may not have been far enough along in their individual recoveries to be able to answer the following questions, or they may have gotten into a fight or into dysfunction simply by having issues raised. If this were the case, we encouraged step work be done only in the presence of a sponsoring couple.
We also recognized that some couples came to our meetings having met after both partners had been in individual recovery for various periods of time. They may not have had a long history of coupleship dysfunction or other dysfunction. In those cases, Step One involved understanding old dysfunctional patterns with other partners. It also involved understanding family-of-origin issues, personality traits and other individual issues that might have affected the relationship.
Writing is very important. It is suggested that the couple take one pencil and one piece of paper and begin the process together. RCA is about the "we"-ness and "us"-ness of our relationship. In Recovering Couples Anonymous, we open ourselves up to a new way of thinking and living in coupleship.
Now that you have that piece of paper, make a couple decision. Who will hold the pencil and do the writing? Are you able to share, negotiate or compromise? Is there a power struggle? Are you ready to take the First Step? Now read aloud the "Safety Guidelines." Divide the paper in half with a line down the middle. Make a list. You are now ready to answer the following questions:
What dysfunctional roles had we brought from our families-of-origin?
What had our family-of-origin model taught us about relationships?
What were our individual experiences of abuse and how had those affected our ability to be related, to be intimate, and to be sexual?
How had our individual addictions affected our relationship?
What were the unmanageable issues we never seemed to resolve? (e.g., how we spend money, how we spend our time together, parenting the kids, dividing the household duties, where/how we celebrated holidays, etc.)
How had these issues brought us to anger and what were our patterns of expressing anger?
How had we felt hopeless about our relationship
In order to save our relationship, what measures had we tried that hadn't seemed to work?
How had we fought unfairly?
Having surrendered thus far, we were ready to take Step 2.