There are three critical foundations of any relationship that you must master if you are ever going to stand a chance of keeping a passionate connection alive.
Day-to-day, their connection needs to trigger pleasure; they need to conflict well, and they need an agreed future that’s compelling.
The first foundation is about Connection in the NOW – no matter what is going on.
If a person cannot see the mechanics of getting one hour right or a day right, how will they ever build a year, a decade or a life together?
What we need: From moment to moment, we all need to experience a trend of liking how we feel about ourselves when we are with our partners.
We all need a win-win connection model where each person has a trend of attaching pleasure to being with their partner through the ups and downs.
Sounds simple enough, so why is it so hard for so many?
Why it goes wrong: Most people don’t understand enough to achieve this simple model.
They struggle because they assume their partner has the same emotional needs and the same routes to attraction and sexual connection as themselves – they don’t.
They assume their partner communicates for the same reasons as them – they don’t.
Many assume a loss of alignment equals a loss of love – it doesn’t.
These profound misunderstandings can make people feel disconnected from their partner and, ultimately, themselves.
This disconnect leads many people into a fear-based system where they become their focus, and self-protection becomes their behavioural model.
Some then believe they are not loved or cared about, leading them to fear they are not enough, which is a profoundly painful fear for many people to experience.
These catastrophic misunderstandings on both sides lead people to self-protect, which is the process of losing connection with myself when I’m with you – in essence, it is not a good feeling that can lead to stress and depression, anxiety and then fatigue.
The result is they judge each other behaviours, and they feel bad or wrong, and this leads them to behaviours such as stacked resentments, criticism, punishment, and withdrawal.
This shift in energy is why the next part is equally important. When things go wrong, the relationship has to be reset correctly.
The second foundation is about the difference between good and bad CONFLICT models.
The mission must be to see conflict as a healthy part of two passionate people being honest about their life perspectives and differences.
Note: People who don’t argue tend to have poor sexual connections.
What we need: We need to feel safe so that when things go wrong, we can reconnect and feel more love, connection, and understanding.
We need to know that our conflict isn’t leading us to the end of the marriage.
People who threaten the end of the marriage make it real for the person receiving the message, and the brain automatically changes as a result, so it’s not a safe practice.
We need to know that when things do go wrong, we both know how to put the marriage back on track.
This has the power to turn the usual blame and judgment into a place of personal responsibility, understanding and compassion.
Why it goes wrong: Most people are too triggered and fear-focused to see what is really happening.
Under stress, some please, some blame, some nag, and some control, to name a few.
It takes about two years of negative repatterning to change a person from a loving connection to start turning off the necessary connection-based chemicals, such as dopamine and oxytocin and replacing them with stress hormones.
This is a catastrophic process that compounds the problems leading many to decreased libido, at least with their partner.
This leads a person to no longer love how they feel when they are with their partner.
They won’t find them attractive, and if love is present, it’s a past love; it’s no longer a feeling of being in love.
As you can see, it’s essential to build a successful and connected now, and on top of that, we must know how to have honest, passionate exchanges that lead us to more understanding and a deeper connection.
Many couples have a terrible NOW and conflict badly, and so it affects the next part.
The next part is they must have a shared vision.
The third foundation is about the importance of the FUTURE.
We must also create a SHARED VISION and a knowledge of how to keep our connection alive as the years pass.
All humans like to forecast how they will feel before they step into any kind of future.
You’ll notice that people in disconnected marriages cannot see a future with their partners. For them, the future disappears.
What we need: Building a vision of something to step into or move towards will be critically important. We like to grow and know where we are going.
Once people get past dating, getting married, buying a house having a family, the mission for the couples tends to die.
Most people move their focus and vision away from the relationship and they focus on jobs and children, keeping the practicality of life going.
Why it goes wrong: It goes wrong because the vision is no longer about the couple, as other priorities have taken over, so we are together, but the pleasure is no longer about us.
So people become workers and mums and dads, not lovers.
These roles become the primary identities the couple get stuck in, and they are unaware the reason they are together is becoming weaker.
So when life changes occur, the couple is too disconnected to manage the change well; menopause is one normal change that rocks many marriages that lack strong foundations.
If you look at the volumes of my clients, many couples enter crisis when their children leave home, when a business is sold, or when they retire.
These couples are in trouble due to a lack of foundations.
A couple’s connection is always going to be stressed if they cannot get these three foundations working.
They don’t know how to keep husband and wife (lovers) energy alive as time passes; they don’t build a compelling future to step into.
They have a NOW that’s disconnected combined with a conflict model that only makes things worse; it’s easy to see why so many at his point give up.
At this point, their existence to be happy will, for many, have to be separate.
When couples learn the importance of these critical foundations, a crisis can be turned around for those who should be together.