If your relationship has been struggling for a while, you’ve probably tried a number of things to improve the situation and feel happier and more connected to your partner. In our experience from working with couples, even the best intended efforts can fall short when key ingredients are missing. Here are the three things we find to be absolutely essential to making a lasting, loving change:
1. Tell Yourself the Truth – Are you bitter, feeling angry, hurt or carrying resentment towards your spouse? If you are, any of those things will prevent you from giving fully to the relationship. You may not realize it, but you are actually withholding love, compassion, understanding and the chemical energy the builds connection.
None of us is perfect, and we all do things from time to time that disconnect us from our partners: argue, defend ourselves unnecessarily, put the relationship last behind other priorities, get self- absorbed, and unintentionally neglect our partner…
Now that you’re being honest, stop doing anything that is getting in the way of deepening the love and connection with your partner.
2. Take 100% Responsibility – While it might seem logical to take 50% responsibility for the relationship, in our experience that’s a recipe for disaster. That usually means you are keeping score of what you did and he or she didn’t do. Are your efforts based on what you think your partner is or isn’t doing? Do you wait for them to go first because they owe you?
Decide today what you want your relationship to ultimately be like. What do you want the day to day interaction with your partner to feel like? What type of deep connection do you want to experience with them?
Own your vision and take 100% responsibility for making it real. Don’t wait for your partner. What you do will inevitably shift the way he or she responds to you.
3. Be Courageous – Nothing great in your life will happen if you are living in fear, and the same is true for your relationship. Are you afraid to give fully because it might not work, afraid of initiating connection and being rejected, or in fear of trying something new because you don’t know how your partner will respond? You tell yourself that things aren’t really that bad… right?
Or are you just stuck, and numb?
It takes courage to create something special. It takes courage to ignore the nonsense that other people tell you about relationships. It takes courage to dump your story about what your partner did or didn’t do. And it takes courage to create a deeply connected, loving relationship.
We can sit all day hoping for our partner or our relationship to spontaneously change, but in the end, we can only control our own actions. Your relationship will always reflect what you decide to do, and what you fail to do. These decisions will always create the future Happier Relationship or unhappiness of your relationship.
*We will be inviting you to join us soon for an upcoming live webinar on the Secrets of Happy Marriages, Thriving through the Holidays and answering many of the questions you have sent us. Stay tuned.