There are probably lots of people in your life you say you love; parents, cousins, siblings, children, friends, neighbors. If we think about our community, we might feel close and loving toward many people. But if you look closely, they don’t all feel the same.
Humans are funny beings. We are extremely well equipped to tell instantly when something doesn’t feel right. We know immediately when we don’t like something. And we are experts at understanding what we need to stop when something bothers us so we can feel better.
We use these skills almost automatically, especially when we are in a relationship. We are the first ones to tell our partner, the one person we love the most, exactly what we don’t like about what they do or didn’t do.
As a relationship guide, I spend a lot of time simplifying the most important elements that make a good relationship. The more I teach, the more concise it gets. And I think I have it boiled down to just three parts, three important ingredients to help your relationship thrive.
While they are few in number, the steps might be considered challenging as they require a lot of thought, patience, and trust. The thought part is you thinking about the parts and actually deciding to make yourself do the work. The patience is not expecting to get things right all at once, to be able to allow yourself to develop new positive behaviors in the time it takes. The trust is so you will believe in yourself when you doubt your progress and remind yourself that you can indeed do this.
By the time we are grown up almost all of us have figured out how to get what we want in life and how to get things that we don’t like to stop. We usually learn these skills when we are very young, starting with our first empowering word: “NO.”
As an adult we find out partner and then we use these same skills to continue the process of getting what we want and stopping what we don’t want.
But for many couples the habits and skills we bring into a relationship often create difficulty with our beloved…
I was thinking about acceptance the other day and was realizing that this is a practice that might take a long time to get good at, especially when we are talking about relationships. You see, all of us pretty much like who we are. We like how we think, how we behave and act. We like our ways.
And many of us get really perturbed when our partner doesn’t agree with us. They might do something different than what we learned growing up. Or they might like something arranged differently then how we prefer. They might even say things we would never say.
While self-soothing is an important skill to have, not every one knows how to practice it. Even so, anyone can develop it. That’s important because using self-soothing skills can not only improve your life, they can also enhance your relationship.
I was recalling a conversation I had recently with a friend who was sad about a situation in her relationship. I was feeling the depth of her suffering, her pain at not being understood or left out or feeling ignored. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was experiencing, but I did sense that she was very sad.
So many relationship challenges have a common root.
As individuals we learn a lot about how to be humans. It starts from our early days in our family. We learn how to talk and walk and feed ourselves, go to school and play with others. We are taught everywhere; parents, teachers, laws, religion, family, friends, everyone is a teacher.
We get good at interacting with life. We learn how to rely on ourselves to get our homework done, to babysit siblings or neighbors, to make our own food, to clean our rooms and to be a functioning member in a family system.
But do we learn how to be good partners?
Wondering how to stop arguing with your spouse? You’re not alone.
Couples often tell me they are so tired of having continuous arguments about the same thing with the person they love. They say those arguments always end up the same way, both people exhausted and nothing gets resolved. They want to fix the problem but they just don’t know how.
This is a very common problem for people in relationships and marriages. So why does this pattern occur? Let me explain.
Communication in marriage takes some training. Many expect that our empathetic bond with our mates means they’ll always be aware of our needs and be ready and willing to fulfill them, even if we say nothing. Nope.
It’s a funny thing about humans. If we are in a relationship, when we are hurting the most, all we want to know is that we matter to our mate and that we are loved. So why is it so hard for most people to get what they desperately want in their time of need?
In the beginning of our relationships it’s easy to imagine a wonderful life together. You remember this moment, when you see everything you think you will need to make you happy; house, yard, picket fence, two children, or what ever your dream was. You remember your vision. It’s the one that belongs just to you and it’s perfect.
When we meet our “right” person, all of our dreams of a wonderful life together start swirling around in our head. We think to ourselves, “Wow this is the one. I will just fit this one into my dream. Wow they fit! How amazing is that!”