The following list is typically what I see is missing from the couples I meet in my sessions everyday who are at crisis-point and are looking for answers or a safer direction.
Their challenges can range from loss-of-love to affairs, from discovery of escort services to family issues, from loss of trust to power struggles.
You name it and i’ve seen it!
What’s interesting is these couples are all very unique, they are all driven differently and operate very different value systems and they all naturally have very unique childhoods.
Given these differences every couple has to have from me a very different approach to help them gain the answers they require, but the core practices listed below that help maintain healthy relationships are not present in a large percentage of these couples.
So I thought it might be worth while expanding on these points so you can take a look at how many of these are present or not in your relationship.
1. You must put your partner first
This is a fundamental problem for any couple. If any person feels that something is more important than them in the relationship for many this can become a really big issue.
This can be a mum, work, family, golf, friends or even you.If your partner feels they are 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th on the list there is a good chance there is going to be a problem.
2. Repair the relationship fast
Every couple will have issues and so conflict is inevitable. What most people do is enter the battle field either aggressively or passively.
The challenge with the way most couples deal with conflict is they are building resentments over time and this is like relationship cancer and bit-by-bit they become more distant.
Couples must learn the skill of how to grow closer from their conflicts and this means both people have learnt how to let go of all their issues and turn their focus to fun, passion and love.
This is a major must and most couple do not know how to do this.
3. Know who you really are
Almost every person I meet at the point of crisis has lost a sense of who they are as they battle with their relationship challenges.
This is a profound reason why so many people make terrible mistakes and leave perfectly good relationships only to regret their decisions after its too late.
Relationships problems create significant vulnerabilities and so this puts one or both people into self-protection mode. This is a sure-fire way to accelerate towards divorce.
It’s critical for individuals in relationships to have a healthy connection/relationship with themselves.
If a person has an unhealthy connection with themselves then of course their marriage will always be a battle.
To coin a phrase you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.
4. Masking their real challenges
Many people develop challenges in their relationship that mask the real deeper issue. To be fair these people are usually unaware of what they are doing.
For example: Someone could withhold love in the relationship as a means to protect themselves from vulnerability. Vulnerability for many is deemed as bad, but in reality is a critical requirement of any successful intimate relationship.
So many people are trying to control love in their relationship totally unaware that doing so will kill it dead without fail every time! – You have been warned!
5. Learn what drives your partner
Every couple I meet are totally unaware of what really motivates their partner. Most people are trying to motivate their partner by using what they would like because it’s all they know.
This approach is likely to fall on deaf ears and then create conflict or resentment.
So it you think your partner is driven the same as you then please think again. What drives someone is a mix of needs, beliefs, values and models of how they think the world works for them in every context they find themselves in.
To become valuable to your partner you must uncover what drives them and why. Without this information connection and communication becomes challenging for both people.
6. Understand your roles
Like it or not, nature has designed men and women differently with totally different strengths weaknesses and very different operating systems.
So this means that couples need to learn how to understand what is of natures design and what is someone being problematic.
For example: So many couples really don’t know how to actually communicate in a way which makes sense to each other and so they end up in a transactional relationship which is missing critical emotional connection.
It’s critical couple actual learn how to really hear each other – this lesson is like learning a different language.In terms of key roles: Men are usually unaware that his job is to protect her and if he doesn’t she is like to become closed to him (being open to him is her role) and this can have a significant effect of their sexual connection.
7. Have a reason to be together
So many individuals in crisis have no shared future in their minds, no clear goal or purpose.
What I see is couples get excited about being together and about their journey through life and in the context of their relationship they board their ship excited about their future together and then sit in the harbour going nowhere year-after-year.
Their lives progress, their careers grow, the children grow-up, but their relationship has been dying and no one noticed – until someone says I’m unhappy – I’m not in love with you, or I’ve met someone new who excites me now.
It’s critical to plan your relationship so you can keep it fresh and alive- and yes I know as couples do in my session, they tell me they have a plan, but when we really get into it they really don’t have a vision they can both get excited about.
A vision they can’t stop taking about.
There are of course many other factors that I see as trends that are leading couples to divorce, long before they are aware it’s coming.
If you recognise one or more of these challenges in your relationship it important to take action quickly because relationship challenges have a horrible habit of sicking around and eating away at one or both people with disastrous consequences.
This is why I encourage couples to protect their relationship before the serious stuff really hits the fan.
In my opinion couples are waiting far too long to get help and they give themselves a very scary mountain to climb.
So if your having challenges no matter how small take action don’t wait because the challenge is telling you something needs to change.
For those that say my partner won’t come along – come on your own, the difference you can make is significant if you take action quick enough!