Today’s post is important because many people are unaware of what they are doing in their marriage, which can make matters worse without meaning to.
So when I’m helping a couple out of their crisis, there are two critical objectives to put them on the right track.
- Getting them to stop doing what doesn’t work.
- Help them to start doing what does.
Today’s post is designed to illustrate what will almost guarantee a relationship failure.
Some readers may find they are practising many of them, and some may even try to justify why they are.
Listed below are the thinking and behaviours most likely to lead a couple into a marital crisis if practised.
- Control your partners’ actions so you are emotionally safe – A person who has been controlled will have lost their freedom, so they will, at some point, seek to take the control back. Many controlled people leave marriages without a warning or a word leaving the controlling person devastated and confused.
- Pick a fight – The easiest thing in the world to do – whatever the driving force behind the desire to pick a fight, this is guaranteed to backfire.
- Constantly testing your partner – Testing your partner never works out well and doesn’t provide the truth the tester is looking for.
- Character assassination – Share one disappointment after another about them and who they are; in the end, they will attach that negative energy to you and feel the relationship is hopeless.
- Become your partners’ judge – Judging is the process of self-elevating yourself above your partner. This process will only create a disconnect that will lead them to meet their needs elsewhere.
- Struggle to enjoy life – Stay in the darkness, always looking for what’s wrong. It’s hard to be with this kind of person. Some do it and don’t seek help. Some do this as a means to gain attention or sympathy. Whatever is driving this behaviour, it must change.
- Blame others for how bad your life is today – The moment anyone blames others for how bad their life is, they instantly become powerless to change it. So being right leads them nowhere with nothing to learn, so no growth.
- Meet your partner’s needs at the cost of your own needs and identity – Pleasing is a common pattern that always backfires because it has the potential to form a trade the recipient isn’t aware of. Most of the time, the recipient doesn’t get what they need, and the pleaser isn’t rewarded – so it’s a lose-lose situation.
- Find endless ways to criticise your partner – People who can’t succeed will, in the end, give up no matter how much they love their partner. All constant criticisms do is create negative attachments that mean their partner will go toward the part of their life they can be successful in.
- Assume your partner communicates for the same reason as you do – This is a significant problem as it forms part of the differences between partners that no couple I have met understands. In simple terms, emotional communication between individuals will have a different driving force that, unless understood, will take the couple around in circles. To make it more challenging, each person will not understand their own drivers, so they cannot communicate it.
- Mirror your partner’s emotions so they can’t have an independent emotional experience – How often does one person get upset and the other gets upset because they are? This pattern means they never get to the bottom of what’s happening and why.
- Blame others for how you feel – No one has the power to create your feelings. At best, they can trigger you. Any feeling you have is of your own creation. People who feel others are in control of their feelings will run fear patterns and struggle to feel settled.
- Brush problems under the carpet and hope they have gone away – Relationship problems rarely go away, so just because they are not being spoken about it doesn’t mean the problem isn’t affecting your marriage every day.
- Think your partner’s route to happiness is the same as yours – Many couples are unaware of what really creates happiness for their partner. So if you think about your partner’s happiness being the goal, how do you help your partner to happiness from any emotional state they are in? Sad, angry, frustrated, what’s the process to support them to happiness? To understand this, a person will have to understand the driving forces within their partner.
- Assume your partner wants the same future as you – So many couples tell me they have the same plan, so I ask them independently to share it, only to find it’s either woolly, very different, or nonexistent.
- Always assume the worst of your partner – This is a very wearing perspective to be on the receiving of. Many people think the job is to trust their partner when in reality, it’s to trust yourself to trust your partner.
- Find a partner you need to fix or change – This is a terrible idea and will, in most cases, it will be met with resentment. Remember, the only changes that work are those they decide to change themselves.
- Assume an affair is a solution for a failing marriage – Affairs simply complicate the problem and can end up a very expensive mistake. So many people end up in a far worse situation after an affair, so if an affair is on the cards, seek help because the pleasure does not outweigh the long-term suffering.
- Think that your way is the right way – Many people think their way is the right way. People that want to be right usually end up alone.
- Not being invested in what’s important to your partner – When a person feels alone and that their emotions don’t matter, they can find a way (without thinking) of not needing their partner. This is catastrophic for their connection.
- Make your expectations of your partner to be more than what you expect of yourself – In simple terms, this is the wrong way round and renders a person powerless as they sit and wait for their partner to perform, so they are emotionally okay.
- Assume your partner has bad intentions – This thinking leads people to self-protection, and self-protection is the thinking that leads people to divorce. You can’t keep love alive whilst there is a need to self-protect.
- Complaining life is boring – Many worry that other people are having a better time. It’s usually boring people are the ones that get bored.
- Mind reading – Either people think they have the skill to do this with their partners, or they expect their partner to be able to mind-read what they need. Never do this; you’ll either be wrong or will set your partner up to fail!
- Using certainty or security as the foundation for a marriage – So many people come to me with a story of needing a secure, predictable partner, but years later, with more maturity and self-confidence, they now wish the driver was love and passion.
- Focus only on yourself and meeting your own needs – People who are only focused on their own needs will either find a partner that wants to please them (most of those relationships end), or they will find their partner in the end emotionally disconnected.
- Be ungrateful for what you have – Many people don’t see what they have until it’s gone; most relationships have a mix of comfortable and uncomfortable situations. This is called life, so be careful not to live in the story of a bias, or you might believe it’s true.
- Taking relationship advice from friends – Friends will only give you their perspective and will navigate your problems based on their own fears, emotional distortions and limited knowledge. So never get advice on gold from a breadmaker.