Relationships are never easy… what starts off as pure magic can often end up with you feeling as if you really are sleeping with the enemy. So what happens?
In the beginning, we often see what we want to see and project our wants and needs onto the object of our desire. We ignore their many flaws as we go full steam ahead into their arms. At last, ‘The One’ our ‘Soul mate’ has come into our lives and our lives are full of romantic expectations.
Then, as the years go by, life can get in the way, your partner no longer seems to be perfect in between paying the mortgage and doing the washing up. What was once perfect and where there was once loving communication, now there is anger and heated arguments which neither party wants to back down from.
Making changes and putting things right is not easy when the going gets tough but with a little hard work and lots of patience you can bring your relationship into a new, exciting, love filled place. The way forward is not about being right or being in control, it’s about getting to the bottom of questions such as:
- How can we be together in a way that works for the two of us?
- How are we going to communicate and negotiate our needs?
- When we are deep in conflict with one another, how can we move back to a place of loving connectedness?
Each partner needs to be given the space to be heard and to express not only what they would like in the relationship but they also need the space to find out what the other person would like. When you need something in a relationship, it will help you to be aware that the other person may not know what is expecting of them, or what they need to do in order to fulfill your needs. Here, it is useful to ask: ‘What can I give you to help you give me what I want?’ This question empowers both partners and makes the process of communication team-work.
Needing to be right in your relationship is a fast track to misery. What is right for one person or the truth for one person may not be for the next. Forcing your version of the truth on to another or trying to prove you’re right when you both have a difference of opinion of what ‘right’ looks like, is a sure way to end up feeling sad, mad, and lots of other negative feelings. Ask yourself, is it important for you to be right or is it important for you to have the relationship you deserve? You are supposed to be a team so remember if one person wins and the other person loses in a relationship, you both lose. Fighting to be right will just make you feel as if you are in a war zone. So, if you find yourself arguing about who is right and who is wrong, well…. Who cares?! The aim of the game is to be happy not right!
A useful but simple strategy in relationships is to ‘keep the end in mind’, how would you like your relationship to be? What is the ideal relationship for you? What are your relationship goals? If you can bring yourself back to this place (the goals) in times of conflict you will start to approach things very differently. For example, if your goal is to create more intimacy in the relationship and you go around it by ‘nagging’ your partner or arguing that ‘they are not tactile enough’ you are going to push them further away and you will get further away from your goal. A simpler way is to let your partner know what your needs are and allow them to ask you what they need to do in order to help you get what you need (i.e. intimacy)… if you also go some way to giving them what they need you will have a healthier, more loving relationship.
Remember…. Love is a verb… it’s not simply something you feel… it’s something you do!