All of us in a relationship want to have a great life with the one we love. This is why we couple. It makes sense. We fall in love and believe this is the best feeling in the world. We attach to that feeling, but at some point, we are a little less thrilled with the relationship and our partner.
As a couple’s counselor and someone who is in a relationship, I know this first hand and I help people with this as well. It happens. That wonderful partner we have finally found is not as perfect as we had imagined them.
Relationships Take More Work After the Initial Stages
This happens because that amazing “Honeymoon stage” ends and then the real work begins. You are two different people trying to figure out a way to understand yourself and each other so you can have a great life.
I met a couple recently where the man was trying all the time to make his wife happy. She loved him but needed him to be different. He tried and tried and then became exhausted and just couldn’t try anymore. She gave up too, waiting for him to be different.
There is a lot of sadness when people decide to end something that began as so precious. And it happens. What can we learn about what we need to do to make the relationship work?
Soften the Way You Ask for Things
Here are some suggestions. First, learn to ask for things from your mate in the same way you talk to a beloved person. We often say to our mate, “Don’t do that,” or “I don’t want you to do that because I don’t like it.”
This makes perfect sense to the one who is saying it. They don’t like something and they make it known. But how the mate interprets this is also important. When we criticize what the mate is doing, they feel something. It might include, “I wonder if they love me?”
This is the residue when one is critical of the other. And second, to remain quiet about what is happening inside of yourself when you feel criticized does not help your partner understand you.
Discuss How You’ll Discuss Needs
Both people have to work out how they negotiate what needs to be worked out. This happens in all relationships. We have to become sensitive to how our suggestions and ideas land with our partner. If they get upset, that is information about how they might want you to speak something to them that would feel more inviting.
And this process between two people is something that gets refined over time. You get really good at getting what you want because you learn how to say it in a way that encourages instead of flattens. And your partner is not afraid to tell you how to say something either.
We live with our mates, not against them. Find your path. It belongs to you and your partner and with some awareness and understanding, it can be wonderful.
Ready to Communicate with Kindness in Your Relationship?
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to improve communication in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help both of you feel more connected, aligned, and loved. Give it a read.
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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.