How to Stay Focused on the Good in a Relationship

When couples try and work out problems often they get derailed with the pain that sits between them and doesn’t seem to go away.  It’s not that couples don’t want to get closer; it’s just that they are stymied as to how to get around the hurt.  If one or both are carrying around some deep pain, how can the couple get together?

This is a situation people find themselves in, even when they are in counseling.  It’s one thing to understand the pain, resolve the hurt and move on, but sometimes it’s hard to even get to that first step.  So how do you keep two people, who believe they have something special between them, focused on the big picture?

I like to help couples see what’s good in their relationship; find five things that work, five things that make you feel alive, five things that you know to be true, five things that keep you in the relationship because they are good.  If you can find five things that are meaningful to you chances are you are willing to continue to work on the union and you will be able to see a big picture.

So what is the big picture? 

It’s the vision of what your relationship looks like when you are gazing at it through hopeful eyes.  Make sure
you add your senses too.  What does it feel like?  Are you safe and full of love?  What does it smell like?  Is it full of fresh air and forest, or salt and sand from a beach?  Where are you and your mate?  What age are you and your partner?  Maybe you want to write about this image.  Perhaps you want to paint it or draw with pencils.  How ever you may want to solidify your vision you should do so. This is your relationship.  It can be any color you want.  And your partner’s may be totally different.

Maybe that would be a good exercise too.  Both of you create your image of your partnership and then share the visions with each other.  You are both right.  You are both creators of your happiness.  See if there is agreement.  See if there is connection.  See if you like hers better, or his.  Be open to the other’s ideas.  Be grateful for their vision.  Be appreciative that they see themselves with you. 

Agree to work toward your collective visions.  Make a pact to walk the journey together.  These steps are not designed to remove all barriers.  Sometimes old hurts and resentments take focused effort to remove them.  Even so, in my experience, when a couple has a goal, some place to travel to together, they grow a sense of “us”; us on the road together, us building something together, us against the world together.

A sense of “us”, not two people in conflict, not two people separated by resentment, but two people undivided and together.

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