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What you do and fail to do will always be reflected in the outcome of your relationship.
Marriages fail all the time. It’s not because of a lack of love.
It’s because of a lack of other things including connection.
Based on my work and personal experience with individuals and couples over the last decade, it’s mostly because we really don’t know what to do when it comes to keeping love alive.
How was the passion and loving connection in your parent’s relationship? Was their happiness something that you always wanted to duplicate in your own marriage? For most of us the answers is a definite NO.
Many people including the traditional couples counseling model points the finger at lack of communication as the real problem in relationships. I don’t believe this is true at all and I do not spend any time working with couples on how to communicate more effectively. To me, that’s a big waste of time because you never get to the core issues that are causing the relationship to struggle if you focus on communication.
It’s not a communication problem… it’s a connection problem…
And in my experience communication will continue to suffer until you repair the connection.
Here are the 7 Breakthrough Strategies from my book The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle. They are the most effective way that I have found to create real results in repairing connection, and restoring love and passion, consistently, year after year:
#1 Tell Yourself the Truth? What are you doing that is hurting the relationship? Stop doing anything that you are doing that is not supportive to building connection. A little honesty goes a long ways here. We have all done things from time to time that have not been helpful to sustaining love and passion.
#2 Check Your Vision. What do you want your relationship to ultimately look like? How do you want to feel when you are together? It’s important to know what you want, not what you don’t want. Most people just wing it day by day, without any idea of what they are working towards together. As a result, they get caught up in the stressors of the moment, instead of the pursuing a vision of what they want their intimate lives to be like. The more clear the vision, the less stressed you will be with insignificant day to day issues.
#3 Correct the Polarity – The right balance of masculine and feminine created sparks of attraction early in the relationship. Because people often change behaviors over time due to stress, it impacts the connection. You attracted your partner in the beginning because of who you were and how you behaved towards them. If you were to go back to the beginning of the relationship and begin now to interact with each other that way, things might begin change… and possibly surprisingly quickly.
#4 Attention and Appreciation – Some things are easy to do, and just as easy not to do. Show your partner more appreciation. Give them your attention when they need it. Give them your reassurance about your commitment instead of subtle and not so subtle hints of your unhappiness and leaving. We all want and need to be appreciated, and have moments of focused attention, so that we know we are important. Your job is to get good at giving what is needed in the moment.
#5 Button Pushing Push Back – When couples push each other’s buttons arguments tend to escalate. Have you ever been there? You said something, and they responded back with a “tone”, and you got defensive, and then said something back, and before you knew it you were in a real disagreement with hurt feelings. The fastest way out is to remember that Vision. What was your vision again? That will allow you access to your heart so you can soften up, and bring more playfulness, fun, silliness, and surprise back into your interaction with your partner. Stop taking things so seriously, including yourself. You’ll be more fun to be around.
#6 Tropical Storms – Bottled up emotions will come out. Particularly if they have been held back and stuffed down for a period of time. Men and women have very different emotional experiences which affect connection. Can you have heartfelt understanding for whatever your partner is going through? Can you remember to completely focus on them when they need you? Can you tune into what’s really going on without taking it as a personal attack? Because only a small percentage of it is really about you. The rest…is their own stuff. Next, give them what THEY need, not what you think that you would need. How aware of that are you?
#7 Me First or Maybe Not – Who is going to initiate the repair or improvement of your relationship? Are you waiting for the other person to give to you because they owe you? If someone doesn’t step forward first and initiate, giving to meet their partner’s needs, then things will never change. Many couples are silently waiting for the other person to do something to fix the marriage. Nothing ever changes that way and the disconnect builds and builds until it’s a chasm the size of the Grand Canyon. Take 100% responsibility for the relationship today by giving to your partner first. There will be times when that isn’t easy, do it anyway because your vision will never happen until you do.
Help is available…
You will find my book The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle, helpful in understanding how to use these strategies to turn your struggling relationship around, or to improve your marriage even if its decent. Relationships are lost the easy way. It’s easy to neglect your partner. It’s easy to put anything and everything else ahead of the relationship. It’s easy to forget it’s not always about you. It’s easy to take it all for granted. The consequences can be devastating to your happiness and the happiness of everyone you care about.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that it can’t get any worse. If someone doesn’t step up and DO something different, it can and will get worse.
Most people will never be truly happy until they get the relationship part of their lives right. It’s that important. Decide today what you want to do about that for yourself.
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