The Relationship Blog

Couples Therapy Technique: Consider The “We” Part Of Our Relationship

The longer my wife and I are together, the more conflicted our relationship has become. Is this a sign that we’re not going to make it?

Dr. Bruce Derman: This question, “Are we going to make it?”, comes up in every single couples workshop that we do. We hear this over and over again, in our view, it’s due to couples getting caught up and competing with one-another, and emphasizing their own individuality. This served your individual egos in trying to prove that one of you is right, but it does not serve the relationship. What is missing is what we call the “we” part. And the “we” is only interested in the loving connection between the two of you.

Marla Gorlick: I was shocked when Bruce brought up, for the first time, that there were three of us in our relationship. I thought is this guy hearing a voice? Or is there a closet that I haven’t looked in, in his house. But then after a lot of conversation, it made perfect sense to me that there’s his needs, there’s my needs, and there’s the relationship’s needs.

Dr. Bruce Derman: The “we” is a separate entity, and needs to have its own place. It only cares about the relationship. It has no interest in winning, proving, or defending anything. It does not talk in paragraphs. It only cares about the loving mutual harmony of the relationship. When you as a couple can listen to the “we”, there will be much less fighting and much more of you being on the same page.

Marla Gorlick: We pay a lot of attention to the “we”, and especially when we get stuck with one of our needs trying to dominate the relationship. So where do you find your “we” you might be asking? Well it’s not lost. It’s right there in one question, and that is, “What would the “we” part of the relationship be saying to you right now, and what is it asking you to do?”

Dr. Bruce Derman: Perhaps your “we” is saying that you really need to listen to the other and hear them more deeply or you need to make a bigger commitment, or you need to slow down. And the more you can establish the “we” as its own living part in your relationship, you’ll feel much more inspired because you’ll be experiencing that you’ve created a bigger relationship that can hold the two of you individually and yet also support a loving, mutual, relationship.


For more information on couples therapy in Los Angeles & Woodland Hills, contact Dr. Bruce Derman PH.D. at or Marla Gorlick at

Author: Bruce Derman Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Woodland Hills and Santa Monica, California who specializes in working with people in all stages of relationships. You may reach Dr. Derman by calling (818) 375-7194.

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