I was thinking about the concept that most people in relationships and in their lives hold some great vision of what their life would look and feel like if it was only better.
I see this play out in many of the counseling sessions I have with couples. A couple will come in and they tell me what is happening in their relationship and how the relationship isn’t working. They might also give me a window into what they have been waiting for, their ideal partnership, the one that runs perfectly.
How We Get Stuck While Waiting For Things to Improve
It seems this is the way most of us are wired. If we don’t like something we imagine what it would be like when it gets better, and then we strive to reach the better. I think it’s just the way humans are designed to look at the world.
Except when we hold on to this pattern and many of us do, we stay stuck in this system. We are always striving to get somewhere we think will be better. What we miss is that we are in a mess and we have to figure out the mess, not move away from the mess to go someplace else.
But this is not what people who come to counseling want to hear. They usually want to have their feelings heard and validated because if the relationship is not working well, it’s likely that the partners have not been able to hear each other either.
And maybe that’s why we start there, just getting the feelings out and having them listened to. That process alone is very healing because instead of moving to a better environment we are actually meeting a basic, core need; the one that all of us long for, and that is to be understood.
Getting Better Takes More Than Waiting
Understanding each other is really where the counseling begins. But this is hard for couples to do at first because both partners have been starved to be listened to by their mates they just don’t have the ability to do the listening for the other.
That’s why counseling sometimes takes time. Each of us wants to know we matter to the other person. When this quality is missing in a relationship then people suffer. Some people feel unappreciated and unimportant, others may get mad.
Then behaviors reflecting those uncomfortable states begin, people feeling isolated and lonely, or lashing out at the other. Those behaviors are often projected onto the other person and then everyone feels bad. And this might go on for quite a while. That’s why people carry their wishes for better with them.
Understanding and Expression Are the Way Forward
But it is hard on us to dream about feeling better and to remain hopeful that we will wake up to something better. The mind gives us some relief when we think about better, but the mind can’t save us from our own sorrow. The way out is going through it, diving into the misery. Look at what you are missing in your relationship. Become aware of what doesn’t feel good. And if you can understand yourself at this level that would be great progress.
From there, learn to express to the person you love what it is you need from them. And when you can do this part well, you won’t be chasing a dream anymore, you will be living in one of your making.
Want to Stop Waiting for Things to Get Better, and Take an Active Hand in Improving Them?
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.
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Long Beach, CA 90807.
Read a Book About Relationships
Improving your communication and listening skills may help you and your partner understand each other. If you’d like to stop waiting for things to get better, and get the tools for improving your relationship TODAY, try reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help refocus you and your partner connect in ways that help you build a brighter tomorrow. 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.