This foundation is so critical every relationship will struggle on some level without it.
So when I was considering my life and its direction many years ago I was firstly focused on the type of life I wanted – life coaching for myself I suppose.
Thoughts about my life included being focused on the relationship I wanted, but to achieve it I needed to understand the answer to a critical question that would form the foundation of my marriage once I found the right person.
That person of course was Cloé.
Many people look at relationships from the perspective of what will I get and what will I experience if I marry you.
So in the early stages of dating, you will have needs and you want those needs to be understood and met so you are able to see what the future will be like with each other.
You’ll want the person to be kind and generous of heart, you want them to be predictable and dependable.
You’ll want the person to want to love you, be kind to you and desire you.
You want the person to make you laugh and help you feel good about yourself.
The list of course could go on.
BUT what’s the problem with this approach?
Well, when I was looking at my life and the marriage I wanted.
My question was not what am I going to get!
Doing this job has taught me that attaching my happiness to what others do and don’t do is a hit and miss affair.
Too many people live in a points-scoring, trading environment, and if you want to kill your sex life this route works perfectly to achieve that!
My question was if I want an amazing marriage who do I have to become to be of value or worthy of that relationship?
Let’s explore what I mean by this…
Wouldn’t this be ridiculous?
Imagine me sat at home tapping my fingers waiting for some fun to arrive. How about me waiting for passion to enter the room. Or what about love, surely any minute it will turn up, I’ll wait, shall I?
This is of course totally ridiculous to wait for others to bring me what makes me happy after all I am an adult.
To become worthy of the relationship I wanted I wasn’t focused on what I was getting and expecting from her.
I was focused on what I could do.
You can’t control others, but you can control how you choose to show up and what you become.
So I focused on the value I could add to the person I say I love by becoming what was important to me, happy, loving, fun passionate.
To experience the life and relationship I wanted I knew must become what I value, misunderstanding this concept is at the root of so many break-ups.
Break-ups occurs when a person loses connection with who they are and what they value when the relationship came under pressure and they practiced this for years.
What people struggle with is how to maintain connection with these critical values when negative events enter their marriage.
So many people tell me they don’t feel love anymore, but it’s because they stopped being the love they needed to be years before for some reason.
The key to helping people with these problems is to change the thinking so the person can maintain integrity of identity even when stress hits the marriage.
I knew I must become the fun, I must become the love, become the passion as this is what will bring real value to my marriage and keep my values alive within me.
The typical model people use sets weak foundations
So the first critical foundation is about contribution, it’s about giving not because of what you want back, it’s giving because it’s who you are.
Giving because it’s who you are, defines your character.
Giving with an expectation creates a weakness because it forms a self-serving trade not a genuine need to care for someone.
People who think you must give love to receive it are sat in the expectation of the trade and live most of their life disappointed.
This model of thinking creates disappointment because they don’t get back what they think they should get and in many cases they are not open and honest about their trade.
Imagine this trade being discussed.
So here is the deal (the expectation) I’m going to take you for dinner tonight (that’s me loving you) but the strict condition is I want you to have sex with me when we get home tonight (that’s you loving me) is it a deal?
Put that deal on the table whilst you are inviting her out and see if she still wants to go.
This is the key to success
Swop the expectations for authentic contribution and what you receive back will be significantly more than any trade especially when consistently practiced.
People don’t like to be manipulated, they like authentic care and kindness and in most cases this creates a natural reciprocity.
People that are looking at relationships from the perspective of what will I get, usually end up with very little.
BUT isn’t this true for life?
If you ask for money without offering value what will you get? That’s right, not much.
If someone goes for an interview and is only interested in the pay they will receive, what are the chances of them getting the job.
Billionaires knew they must add significant value by working out how to solve a billion-pound problem that people will value and buy in volume.
Contribution really is the key to life, but it’s not how most people think.
Learning how to do this effectively is what changes a couples trajectory and as a life lesson it has the power to change everything.
So if you want to experience more
Then learning how to do this will put you on the path of the life you were meant to live.
Tomorrow’s post is about a young woman who meets a very wise older lady and asks her for the secret to her 45-year marriage.
The secret she shares is a lesson to us all.