Couples’ Relationship Self-Regulation Narratives After Intervention

Vilija Girgždė, Viktoras Keturakis, Jolanta Sondaitė

Abstract


Relationship self-regulation is a way for couples to work on their relationships by becoming reflective about them, by setting goals for improvement, and by following up with efforts to be a better partner. Reflection is an important process in relationship self-regulation addressed in this study. The aim of this study is to analyse relationship self-regulation narratives after a relationship education intervention. Ten married partners (age 33-43 years) participated in a four-day reflective experiential relationship education programme intervention. The study investigated couples’ experiences of working on their relationship after the intervention. Two focus groups were conducted and narrative analysis was used. Four common themes emerged: becoming aware of one’s inner reactions and re-appraisals, learning to be sensitive, noticing one's own habitual responses and making choice, and experimenting in the relationship. These themes are discussed by applying a couple relationship self-regulation conceptual framework. We revealed that relationship self-regulation emerged as a process of regulation of intrapersonal emotional reactions to partner. Reflectivity in relationship self-regulation may be defined as focusing on oneself, trying to understand one’s own feelings and needs, experimenting to meet these needs, and exploring resources. The research focuses on the study of meaning making and on the reflection processes of partners in couple relationship self-regulation.


Keywords


couple relationship education; intervention for couples; narratives; relationship self-regulation

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https://doi.org/10.5964/ejop.v10i2.643