OWN’s dating reality series Put A Ring On It is back! The third season of the hit show features a new batch of couples who are at a crossroads in their relationships, deciding whether or not they should get married or end their relationship. In a particularly spicy move, the show has the couples date outside of their relationship to see what areas need strengthening to make their relationship better. xoNecole caught up with the show’s relationship coach Dr. Nicole LaBeach who says that fans can expect more of the same messy drama and “more couples trying to figure it out.”
Here’s Dr. Nicole’s best advice on how couples can improve their relationships.
xoNecole: What is it about dating outside of the relationship that brings clarity to couples about their own relationship?
Dr. Nicole LaBeach: [It’s] not just dating outside of the relationship, it really is [about] having a coach to help the couple figure out the answers to the questions that they've really been seeking to help them make a different move in their relationship. A lot of times our couples have thoughts in their mind, “Is the grass greener on the other side?” “If I would've done this differently, maybe this would've been a different result.”
What the dating of other couples gives them the opportunity to do is push those limits. To see are you really interested in watering your grass over here and making this grow and flourish, or is your intentionality to do something different? And if that's the case, then maybe this is not the opportunity for you to build forward in the future.
xoNecole: What are the biggest problems you have noticed couples face when trying to commit to marriage with one another?
DN: Communication. That's the big one. How they communicate, how they resolve conflict, what’s their recovery time is in resolving those conflicts. And can they really build together and give each other enough room? Because it's really about both people being able to be a part of what is the winning relationship. So, can they make enough room for each other and can they communicate effectively with some of life's greatest challenges and the simple ones and still be together in the process?
xoNecole: What is your advice for couples who want to communicate better?
DN: A lot of times our communication patterns have been learned from different relationships, often [from] our family of origin and different places that sometimes serve us very well and sometimes don't. It's our job to recognize that listening is very important and listening to hear and understand, not just listening to respond. So often when our mate is trying to communicate something to us, we've got an instant choice to make: do we really wanna hear what they have to say, or do we wanna hear to defend our position?
In our show what we get to do is help couples recognize that self-criticism will cause harm [and] criticism to their partner and criticism to themselves in communication will cause harm. Defensiveness will cause harm in the communication of the relationship [as well as] stonewalling [which is] where you just shut down. There are couples that shut down and for a couple of days, they are not on the same team. They're not talking to each other. They're not relating to each other. That will cause harm or even contempt. Research has shown that [these] things in communication can really be the make or break a couple being able to move forward in [the] long term.
"It's our job to recognize that listening is very important and listening to hear and understand, not just listening to respond. So often when our mate is trying to communicate something to us, we've got an instant choice to make: do we really wanna hear what they have to say, or do we wanna hear to defend our position?"
Courtesy of OWN
xoNecole: You’ve been a relationship coach for some time now, what made you want to branch your expertise out with this show?
DN: One of the things I love about the show is that the couples realize when they go through the process that this is really about the choice that they need to make to decide if they wanna build where they are and see it flourish. Are they really deciding that this is not the opportunity for them and they need to do something different? And I love that part. I love giving couples the opportunity to be nurtured, to have the hard conversations, and to champion them in the process so that they can make a winning decision for their relationship.
xoNecole: What is your advice to couples who are watching this show who are still undecided about whether they should take the next step in their relationship?
DN: Watch the show and talk during the commercial breaks. One of the things that we've heard a lot from our audience is that yes, in one space you are looking at it, you're peeking into the relationship of other couples, but the things that we talk about on the show are conversations that every couple has the opportunity to talk about in reference to their circumstance. So make the commercial breaks count with some popcorn and snacks and then return from the commercial break. So you have something else to talk about in the next break.
The new season of Put A Ring On It airs on OWN at 9 p.m. EST / 8 p.m. CST.
Featured image courtesy of OWN