I talk to a lot of my clients about relationships. For my own part, I have been with my man for 25 years now. Please, don’t try to decide how old that makes me, we were young, verrrrrrry young! Now, granted, he is the best man in the world (so far) but that doesn’t mean we haven’t had to learn how to make it work. They always say that relationships take work – the only problem is that they are not exactly clear on what that work would be or how we should do it.
Well, now that I am a wize old owl in the relationship department, I have a couple of ideas. As I share them with you, I have to be grateful to my clients, who remind me to take care of business in my own relationship too, when they come around with problems in theirs.
Never, Never try to change your partner – this is key.
Yes I suppose you have heard this before, most people have, but what they think that means is that their partner has no right to expect them to change, not that they shouldn’t try to make their partner a better person!
The fact is, people never change for someone else. That is not to say that they don’t change – they do, but only when they actually think that they have a problem and are personally motivated to fix it. You thinking that their procrastination, prissiness, perfectionism, penchant for prawns, whatever should go to make them a better person, doesn’t mean that they agree with you.
Ultimately you have to weigh up your relationship and partner as a whole. If the bad is to bad for you to ignore, that person is not for you.
Get out before you waste your life and theirs tying to make them into someone they will never be.
If the things you love about them out weigh the things you don’t love, great. Focus all of your attention and love on those aspects of your partner, and let the other stuff go unmolested. If you spend your whole life trying to “fix” those other things, all they will ever get from you is the “your are not good enough” sound track. Bitching and wining about petty things does not make for a great relationship! It makes your partner feel as though they are never good enough to love. You will start to feel that they are not worth loving too, because your focus will always be on the things you don’t like. Ignoring those not so important aspects, and focusing on the things you love, is what makes a great relationship. Growing up is about accepting the fact that no one is ever going to be perfect for you.
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Choose a partner with a similar set of values to you.
All sorts of value issues could amount to a deal breaker for you. If you are frugal and your partner is spendthrift, this could be a deal breaker for you. If you believe in faithfulness and your partner does not…., if you are risk averse and your partner is a risk taker….. All this means you need to know yourself well, and know what your deal breakers are.
Relationships do take work.
The problem with that statement is that no one ever tells you what that work is – If you want a great relationship, you need great techniques to work with.
Some of my best ever techniques are:
5 love languages is brilliant work. (this is my best and easiest ever) Read the 5 love languages by Gary Chapman or do the Cloud 9 Love languages spa day and workshop.
Imargo technique, and learn to do active listening. Read Harvel Hendricks “Getting the love you want “, visit the web Harvillehendriks.com or visit an Imargo therapist for relationship counseling.
Understanding when something is your rule not theirs. This was such a revelation to me. From Anthony Robins “Awaken the giant within.”
Read Bryon Katie “Loving what is” I loved this book.
If you know what the work is that needs to be done, it is relatively easy to do it. If you are casting around in the dark, unsure of what to do, don’t be surprised if it does not do any good.
Maintain your own persona
You are not 2 halves of a whole, whatever the fairy tales may say. You do not complete each other. When you meet your partner you have interests, passions, and friendships that fulfill different aspects of your personality. That is a very big part of what makes you interesting and attractive. If you give that all up to sit at home with your “other half”, it wont be long before you are both bored and asking “what ever happened to that woman/man I fell in love with, they were so vivacious and interesting.
Carry on doing the things you love, with the people you love, even if it does not always involve your partner. That way you will always maintain your enthusiasm for life, and there will always be something to talk about.
The idea is to fill your own spirit/ life, so that you have plenty of love and life to overflow into the lives of others, not to empty yourself for them.
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When you are brewing for a fight, consider your big picture.
In the big picture you have for your relationship, is there constant fighting? Take some time to think about what the big picture is, and what is important about that for you. Is there any fighting at all? Take a breath, and be proactive instead of reactive. You can not have a happy relationship by choosing to be mad about things that are really not that important in the bigger scheme of things.
Choose not to be screamingly mad, about the little stuff.
In fact, choose not to be screamingly mad about anything. This does not mean your opinion does not count, or that you have no right to your feelings, but decide how to behave or react with the big picture in mind, not the little irritation. Mostly this means taking a moment to think:
- What about this situation is making me so angry.
- What is the underlying emotion for me? Since anger is the way we feel when we want to protect ourselves from what we don’t want to have to feel.
- How can I communicate my needs or feelings in a way that will more positively impact my relationship at this time, and if I can’t, what can I do to diffuse the situation now, so that we can communicate about this at a time when we are feeling less emotional.
- What do I need for myself and my relationship right now, and how can I ask for it?
Laugh at yourselves.
So you are angry, does that mean you can’t joke about it? It is what it is, accept that, and let it go. More often then not, you are mad at your partner because you want them to be or do or say something that they can’t, won’t or don’t know they are supposed to be, do or say. It goes back to trying to make your partner conform to your ideal instead of accepting them exactly as they are. Also check out what I said about your rules above. If you are willing to laugh and joke about the things that you keep getting stuck on in your relationship, you can communicate much more easily about them.
Your relationship may not last forever.
We all grow and change. Sometimes in a way that keeps us interesting and desirable to our partner, sometimes not. It is OK to not want to be together anymore. Even the closest of friends move on, do you have to have world war 3 break out before you can let each other off the hook?
Know what you needs are, and be responsible for yourself.
I met a woman who said “your husband should make you feel like you are the most beautiful woman in the world, don’t you think so?” Let me think about that for a moment ….errr NO. What I think, is that the fantasy that someone else is going to make you feel something you don’t already feel within yourself, is pure illusion, and asking for failure.
To feel confidence, self worth, unconditional love, respect etc…. This has to be sorted out within yourself, it is not for your partner’s responsibility to create this in your life. Do you want to be a lover and partner, or a child? If you are still thinking that your partner should complete you, think again. You complete you, they come along and enjoy the rewards of a complete you. Lucky them!