As a counselor, I often meet people who love their partners, but who just wish their beloveds were a bit different. They tell me, “If only my partner were such and such, or did this and that, then everything would be better!”
I hear this in one form or another many, many times. I know when people come in they just want to feel better in their relationship. I also know if they knew what to do, they would do it. I understand that most people try everything they know before coming in for counseling, because everyone who has ever been in a relationship believes that they can fix their own problems. Who needs someone from the outside to weigh in?
Your Happiness and Relationship Wouldn’t Magically Be Better with One Small Change in Your Partner
But here’s the rub. Most people who want to fix their relationship believe that if their partner were only different on some level then the relationship would be just great. But you can see the problem with this, can’t you? One person holds the vision of what would make them happy and they need their mate to oblige.
This might work for a short time, but not for the long haul. Because the first thing I think about is, “What about your partner? Does he or she want to make these changes? Do they think that is all that is wrong with the relationship? What are their thoughts on what needs to happen?”
Relationships Are Better When You Can See Things From Both Sides
You see, most of us when we are in a relationship, just look at the union from our perspective. We don’t see our partner’s perspective. However, the key to a great relationship is seeing it from both partners’ perspectives.
It is very common to look and act and think from our own mind. Where are we taught to consider what our partner wants and needs and understand them at a deep level? If we all had this skill I would not even be in business.
You Can’t Directly Change Your Partner, But Make Them Happy and See What It Gets You
And this is the skill I am talking about. How about trying this on: instead of thinking your life would be better if your partner did what you wanted, why not learn your partner so you can make them happy and see where that gets you?
And if your partner learns to make you happy, then you have something that will last for all time. All of us want to be understood by the one we love. We crave to be known at a deep level and feel like we are adding value to our beloved’s life.
Learn How to Meet Your Partner’s Needs and Lead By Example
Only we don’t have the tools to really understand that. We mistakenly think that the key to happiness is changing what’s happening to us. Here’s what I believe and what I help couples learn: grow the muscle that understands your partner. They have their own wants, needs and desires that are likely similar to yours, but they are NOT the same as yours. They belong to an entirely different human being.
Take the time to understand how to make your partner happy. Ask your mate if he or she will do the same for you. And if you both practice this technique, you will be free of wanting them to change.
When we wait for change we get depressed because it is not happening. When we actively do the things our partner likes we feel hopeful and we make them happy. What do you want to feel? Seems obvious to me.
Want You and Your Loved One to Feel More Understood in Your Relationship?
Attend a Talk About Relationships
On the 2nd and 3rd Monday each month, you can attend FREE relationship talks from marriage and family specialists. Come learn how to create a good relationship and understand problems that get in the way.
Come join the conversation. No reservations needed.
- Mondays: 6:30–7:30pm
- 1232 E Wardlow Road,
Long Beach, CA 90807.
Read a Book About Relationships
If you’d like to better understand each other and meet each other’s needs, try reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It just might help you communicate more effectively and more openly, helping the two of you get in touch with what each of you are looking for. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.