1. Believing your problems will just go away
Many people are under an illusion their problems will just go away, for some because they always do (that’s the illusion) and for others because they have had enough of them so they stop trying. The truth is if a couple doesn’t deal with their problems effectively a hidden energy will form – I’ll explain.
Before I do explain at the end of this post I have details of my book that’s coming out.
For some, the problem is always there as they go round in frustrating circles. The reason these couples struggle is because the presenting problem is rarely the root problem which is why they cannot connect or fix it.
For other couples, their problems will exhaust them and in the end many bury them, but this will at some point become a problem too.
Many people are under the illusion that the moment the problem is no longer being discussed, the problem has gone away.
The reality is the problem is now going to be attached to resentment and that means it will stay front of mind and will grow bigger over time.
In fact it will compound significantly when another problem rises, which it will.
This process creates a person who will now be collecting and looking for problems over-time and this will at some point become overwhelmingly painful for them. This pain will be converted into suffering and will create a need to withdraw and a need to emotionally detach.
What you’ll notice is the person is no longer focused on how loving and fun the relationship is because the focus will have switched to all the negatives and this is all they will be able to see.
If your problems are persistent then please agree you don’t know how to deal with them and seek help straight away.
2. Becoming your partners judge doesn’t work
Everybody judges and in relationships, it’s very easy to look at a partners behaviour and judge them especially when you don’t like what they have done.
The problem is that judgement if shared will feel like an unwelcome criticism and this will create defensiveness or a need to counterattack, neither is helping the person focusing on the core problem.
So how do you become honest about what you don’t like without your partner feeling that you have become their judge?
The key to this is becoming the judge of what you are experiencing and what you are feeling and share that.
“You made me feel” doesn’t work. One strategy could be when you did XYZ you may not be aware that I felt _________________. This helps the person focus on you rather than them and it doesn’t assume they were trying to hurt you.
If they still focus on themselves and continue then you’ll need to discover why as this maybe be one of the root problems to deal with.
No one likes to be criticised so don’t do it, because it’s a practice that cripples a couple’s connection. In sessions, I help couples deal with this differently, but this needs a mindset shift on both side to be successful.
Without training the key is to share what you experienced when your partner said or did something to find out if they care about your emotional experience.
If you’re critical of them they will naturally move to defend themselves (this is not good) if you share your pain or suffering they will either care about your feelings which is healthy, or they will also judge which means they’ll need to learn this skill too.
3. Not caring about a partners feelings
Leading on from how destructive judging is, when a partner becomes upset and their partner becomes upset at them being upset, we know their partner has created a judgement that leads them to self-protect and defend instead of caring about their partners’ emotions.
It’s very common for a person to look for the reason or meaning as to why their partner is upset.
The key is who cares why someone is upset, what’s important is the person we love is upset, their upset must matter.
Essentially partners will have very different emotional responses to the same things so don’t move to judge their emotions, help them see that their feelings matter to you.
They have to feel their emotions matter!
If they don’t they will struggle to see the point of their partner.
The foundation of a successful relationship is positive emotional energy and CARE is a foundational focus.
4. Not understand your partner has critical needs
A massive mistake all couples I meet have is they have not made this a focus. You cannot influence your partner in the relationship and in their life, if you don’t know what drives them.
Needs not being met is foundational in many peoples reason to leave the relationship.
Your partner is different from you and they will need this to be understood and cared about. If you were in a meeting with me you’d discover your partner is like a different species.
Everybody is subconsciously focused on meeting their core needs and this will be their normal focus.
When you make it your mission to discover their needs and what drives them you will uncover how to influence them in a way that connects you both.
My wife Cloe, for example, is driven very differently from me, if I didn’t understand this we would be living a disconnected life and it would affect how we show up for each other and how we communicate.
Too many people are threatened by their differences, the key is to understand them and see them as a strength that way the person will feel loved for being who they are, not judged negatively for being different.
5. Trading with your partner to get your needs met
Because couples don’t understand how to meet each other needs they will both end up in a needs deficit and this shifts their focus to meeting their own needs and NOT their partners’ needs.
This is a problem as it affects the couples dynamic and attraction.
So they are left trying to find ways to get those needs met by their partner so they will start to trade.
Some trade openly and some create secret trades. The open trader will ask for something in return for something. The secret trader will give hoping their partner will give back and then be upset when they don’t.
Trading is understandable, but it’s doesn’t work because the focus of the trader is always themselves and that kills trust and passion.
In relationships the only focus that works is you meeting your partners’ needs because it’s who you are.
Giving to someone because it’s who you are is authentic and this builds connection and trust.
Giving to someone because you want something is a manipulation and will kill trust and this kills passion.
This is why when someone has to ask their partner if they are loved even if the answer is “yes” it doesn’t feel as good as them just saying it.
6. Controlling your partner never works
Many people try to meet their own needs by controlling their partner. This is a highly destructive approach from one adult to another.
It creates a parent child relationship which kills passion.
Healthy relationships are about two people freely deciding to be together and that freedom must be maintained.
Many people kill their relationships by trying to protect themselves and their own emotional problems by emotionally controlling their partner.
The biggest problem happens when a person has to change to keep the peace at home. The moment this happens a seed of a problem is planted and over time it will grow.
The key is to help someone become more of who they really are, that way they will love how they feel about themselves when they are with or thinking about you.
Make someone change their core self and resentment will build.
I’ve seen people totally change personality overnight after years of being subjected to being controlled. One day something snaps and they will take all the control back.
You see people only allow themselves to be controlled because they see it’s in their best interest at the time, the moment they wake-up that’s when they take control back and leave the marriage.
So healthy relationships are about freedom, it’s the letting someone go is what brings them back to you.
If it doesn’t then this is another root problem that needs to be dealt with.
7. Have no purpose for being together
Why are you together? What is your relationship for?
A relationship is a place to magnify the emotions you want. For some, this could be to achieve goals for others it could be to have more love, connection, fun and adventure.
People who don’t consider this usually don’t end up where they want.
So it’s important to understand the emotions you want more of in your marriage, because unless it’s clear to you, how will your partner know.
If your partner doesn’t know the emotions you want more of how can you be a team getting more of what you want together?
I hope these 7 points have helped you become curious about your relationship and why education is at the root of your success.
I’m going to be launching my new book so if your interested please sign-up to be notified of its launch here The Marriage Breakthrough Program Book Launch