As Mike* and Lisa* walked into my room, it was clear something had changed. They seemed lighter, they were smiling more, and they sat close together on the sofa rather than at opposite ends, as before. They told me that they had been using the communication skills I had taught them the previous week. As a result, they had been able to bring up things that the felt were too difficult to mention before. And crucially, they had been able to do it without any arguing or negativity at all.
They had been making more time to spend together alone, hiring a babysitter so that they could go out for dinner once during the week, and taking the children to Mike’s parents house for the day so that they could go for a walk and a picnic in nature. They both felt that they were really starting to reconnect, and had even started to be intimate with each other again.
I was delighted for them as the change had been huge.
However, one thing still worried them.
“How can we maintain this?” said Lisa.
“What if, when we stop seeing you, we lose focus and start to disconnect again?” said Mike.
Couples often wonder whether they will be able to keep up the good communication, new-found intimacy, and connection, once the Relationship Coaching ends. And in many ways they are right to be concerned.
The reality is that there are plenty of couples who run into trouble later on, even after successful Relationship Coaching, and end up back in their old, unhealthy patterns of communication. But that’s not necessarily because they stopped having 1:1 relationship coaching. In fact, right from the start, my aim is to get couples to a place where they no longer need my 1:1 support, by giving them the tools and skills needed to manage their relationship issues themselves.
So why does this happen?
It’s usually because they either stopped using the tools and skills I have given them, they stop making quality time for each other, and they become disconnected again.
Having a healthy relationship is a commitment. And you have to continually commit to the relationship EVERY DAY. This means not just communicating when things go wrong, or only making time for each other when you feel you have to because you haven’t done so for months, or even seeking professional relationship coaching just when things go wrong. You need to constantly maintain the relationship – even when things are good, to keep it that way.
Think of your relationship as a garden. If you neglect the garden, it grows out of control. Weeds take over. It becomes tangled, messy. It’s not pleasant to spend time in. You know you need to clear it, so that you can sit in it, enjoy it, and take in all the beauty it has to offer. But it’s hard to know where to start, and it can be a difficult and painful process where you might come away feeling fatigued, wounded by brambles. But once you have made that effort, and can appreciate your garden once more, if you weed it to keep it clear and tidy, prune it so that it’s flowers and fruits can reach their full potential, and arrange things within it in a pleasing way that you can both enjoy, it is a much more pleasant place to be for both of you.
I explained to Mike and Lisa the importance of maintaining their relationship for the rest of their lives together in a similar way. That they could do this through regular, effective communication, making regular, quality time together, surprising each other with thoughtful gifts or acts of kindness, attending for maintenance relationship coaching if they felt that any issues were building up.
I explained that conflict in a relationship is inevitable, as part of Nature. So they were bound to clash from time to time. But with the foundations of a healthy, functioning relationship in place, they would be able to manage this skilfully and confidently, and view conflict as an opportunity for connection and growth.
The most rewarding part of my job is seeing how much difference relationship coaching can make to the lives of my clients. There’s nothing quite like the magic of being privileged enough to be invited into this part of a couples’ journey with them, to guide them through their difficulties, and experience the transformation with them.
I still see Mike and Lisa from time to time, as they come back every few months for what they humorously refer to as their “relationship MOT”! And I am happy to say that 3 years on, they are closer than ever.
If you want to know more about relationship coaching and want regular relationship advice, make sure you subscribe to my blog, and click HERE to sign up to my Newsletter, where you will receive all of my blog content, news, and Nature-inspired relationship tips and advice delivered directly to you in one easy place every month!
Take care for now and remember – tend to and maintain your relationship and watch it thrive!
*Client confidentiality is always protected. All case studies are fictitious and for illustrative purposes only.