Imagine you and your partner have the relationship of your dreams. Close your eyes now. What does it look like? Picture it.
Now think about what it is in your current relationship that you don’t like. Do this now. Close your eyes and think about all the things that bother you, from small annoyances to more serious issues.
Which was easier for you? Picturing the relationship of your dreams, or thinking about the issues in your relationship?
I asked one of my coaching couples, Jon* and Sarah*, to do this recently. When I asked them to think about what they wanted to achieve from Relationship Coaching, after much consideration they each came up with one thing. Jon, to have more intimacy. Sarah, to feel happier. Both great goals to have, but both intangible. When I asked them to each expand on what the words “intimacy” and “happiness” meant to them, they struggled to come up with anything other than vague ideas such as “feeling more positive” or “being more affectionate”. But when I asked them to focus on what they each felt was going wrong in the relationship, they were off! Each of them had a long list of specific complaints. Jon – “We don’t have enough sex”, “we don’t have enough physical touch”, “we don’t spend time together”, “I feel criticised”. Sarah – “We argue all the time”, “Jon never helps with the housework”, “We’re always tired”. And so on.
It’s often much easier to focus on the negative than it is on the positive in relationships. On what you don’t want, rather than on what you do want. Why is this? Why do we get stuck in focusing on the negatives?
I think one of the reasons is that we have become so distracted by modern culture, and so disconnected from ourselves, each-other and Nature, that we seldom take the time to really feel grateful for what we have, or what is going well in our lives. We have our routines and list of tasks to get through every day. There is just so much to do! We become functional machines.
When things are going well and enable us to continue with our day-to-day lives, we take them for granted. If things are not particularly problematic, we have the view “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
So in relationships, we often only notice or give our full attention to issues or things going wrong when we reach crisis point. When we can no longer function as a couple. When it’s broken and needs fixing.
Now imagine applying that logic to your health. Would you honestly think it a good idea to just eat a poor diet, drink too much alcohol, not exercise enough or generally not look after yourself, and just take medication when you develop Type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure? What if it was too late, and the damage had been done? This is what effectively happens when you don’t look after your relationship. Without regular care and attention you develop bad, even damaging habits. Resentments build up over time. You drift apart or clash constantly.
Eventually, you notice all the problems in the relationship, or “symptoms” of the disconnection, and not the good and positive aspects of the relationship. The good things get forgotten.
But all the good things are often still there, if you just reconnect with each other and remind yourselves. And if you were to reconnect daily and pay positive attention to each other, you are far less likely to forget.
Couples often don’t want to “rock the boat” by tackling the issues in their relationship when things are going fairly smoothly. Which is understandable. But my question is this – would you rather things just be maintained as “fairly smooth”, or would you prefer to have a joyful and harmonious relationship based on mutual understanding and compassion, being able to resolve conflict effectively? I know which I personally prefer.
Understanding the benefits of looking after yourself and your partner in the here and now, and as a constant process, to nurture the health and vitality or your relationship, and be responsive to your own and your partner’s needs, as Nature intended, makes so much more sense. As a saying, I much prefer this: “Prevention is better than a cure”.
In Nature, wherever you direct your energy and focus is effectively where you go. You set your internal compass to it. So, if you focus on negativity, you get more of it. If you focus on positivity, you get more of it. Again, I know which I would rather have!
So my message today is really two-fold.
If you pay regular and positive attention to your relationship, two things will happen. Firstly, you prevent smaller issues from becoming bigger problems because you tackle them early. Secondly, focusing on your relationship in a positive way enables you to feel grateful for each other and you notice the good things.
So try this exercise now to help you focus on the positives in your relationship. Ask your partner to do the same. I want you to imagine you have the relationship of your dreams. To help you do this, answer the following questions about exactly what that would be like:-
- How would you and your partner feel?
- What would you both be doing differently?
- How would you both be acting differently?
- How would you be communicating with each other?
Then take your answers, share them with each other, set your internal relationship compass to them, and make them your focus!
And I would love you to share your results with me!
Always remember, nurture your relationship and feel it thrive!
P.S. If you would like my help and guidance to manage the conflict in your relationship in a positive way, click here to download my FREE Communication Guide for Couples. This guide has further tips for effective communication that you can use with your partner RIGHT NOW to enhance your relationship.
P.P.S. Coming soon – If you would personally like my expert support to learn the EXACT techniques and steps to resolve conflict effectively without hurt, anger and frustration, you will soon be able to sign up for my Compassionate Conflict for Couples E-Course. At just £99 it is incredible value for at least 8 hours of coaching, and the first 10 people who sign up will receive a bonus 1:1 coaching call with me, absolutely FREE! These places will go fast and are strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.
If you would like any further information about this course or want to be notified as soon as it is released, or have anything else that you would like help with, I would be delighted to hear from you. Just PM me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t wait to hear from you!