In today’s post, I’m going to share why couples are struggling to solve their marriage problems either on their own or with professional help.
You will learn what doesn’t work and why and then I’ll share the only route to couples success.
So if you’re a couple struggling or you have been for help and it’s not worked this is for you.
I want to set the scene with a typical approach many people make when they need help.
They are unhappy with their partner and they want the professional to fix their partner for them.
Notice their emphasis is on what their partner has to change the very thing they have no control over so their starting point is already making their life very hard.
Many people spend a lot of time demanding change, not seeing the very basic fact that this process of “demanding change” doesn’t work to create the change they want.
Of course it might be important for their partner to make changes, but the only way that change will happen is if they agree the change is either a good idea, or the change is their idea.
Below I’m going to show the approach most are taking and why it doesn’t work and then I’ll share the approach that I see working every day.
The wrong approach
Most people are full of stories about how awful their partner is and they want them to change, but the process of change they are trying to use is to blame their partner, criticise them or make them wrong.
Many people simply won’t let go of this need to blame and judge. These people simply will not get the life or relationship they want if this is their approach.
Most people know that if they themselves are blamed or criticised by their own partner it doesn’t usually create a positive effect, and certainly doesn’t motivate them to want to change for the better.
So if we all know it doesn’t motivate us to change if someone approaches us this way so why do they think it will work if they do it to their partner?
Also if they do attend professional help many people want that professional help to take their side so they can prove to their partner how wrong or bad they have been, how likely is that to motivate change?
None of this works of course, change will never come from a place of someone needing to protecting themselves from blame or being judged.
All self protection creates is a greater need to protect.
Some have even tried brute force if you don’t change I’ll divorce you.
Demanding change through force may work for a while, but I can almost guarantee they will slip back to their old ways as the change is forced, not agreed or understood.
In simple terms demanding change through criticism and blame is the worst way to get someone to see the upsetting challenges a person faces, all it will do is get their back up and make them dig their heels in deeper.
Here is what does work to create lasting change
I have been working with a couple recently who have been great clients to work with, he is well-known in most households in the UK and she is a housewife and mum.
They both understood the mindset that would give their marriage the best chance of success, they had a head start because they had seen the results for themselves with their own friends who came to see me 3 years ago.
My old clients saw their friends (these new clients) were in trouble and recommended they came to see me.
Before they came he told them my service was very different and so they were intrigued.
He told them he had tried other counselors and therapies, but he really liked the approach that rebuilding his marriage was really about “Individual Personal Development” for him and his wife.
It’s wasn’t about the past or childhood, it wasn’t about two people paying someone to watch them argue it was about empowerment and personal growth.
What this meant was the focus wasn’t on how awful they both were.
The focus was on helping each person become a more valuable partner.
He told them both what he had learnt from me.
He learnt how to become a highly valuable partner to his wife and how to translate what she was saying to him so he could align with what she was experiencing in her world – he said he had no idea what was going on for her before.
This helped him become a positive influencer for her and this created connection she could feel and this built confidence in him.
He shared he used to trigger her to become upset, now he triggers her to feel the emotions she wants and now she feels safer and more connected to him.
Now he knows how to embrace and deal with their problems rather than being confused, upset, and run away from them.
She hated when he used to run from any problems, she felt so alone and abandoned.
His newfound confidence brought out a different energy (spark) in their relationship and she, in turn, rediscovered herself, something she had lost over the years.
She was now free to bring her gifts to the table.
This process was about two people working on themselves to become more effective partners.
No one demanded a change, no one helped the other to feel awful they simply both took personal responsibility for themselves and the changes they wanted to make.
When someone complains they lose their power
People that try to change their partners’ behaviors by demanding or trying to prove how awful they are, will find that process never works, never has, and never will.
It won’t work because at best you’ll get is a submission with a side-order of resentment, or you’ll end up in an unhappy (lose-lose) compromise.
Plus waiting for a partner to change puts them in the driving seat and someone in charge whilst unhappy and not on your side is not going to take the relationship to a good place.
Regain the power by becoming a positive influencer is the only answer
Helping couples to become successful is about teaching them powerful skills to deal with the many situations life will throw at them.
Plus it’s not about changing them, it’s about helping them to become more effective individually.
Confident people that understand are going to be naturally happier people.
Their historical problems are simply a sign a change is needed and that change is about two people become more effective.
My clients are very smart people they understand that waiting for their partner to change is futile.
They know if they want a better life they know they must also become the change they are wanting to see.
This process works great for problems like.
- Loss of love
- Loss of passion
- Trust problems
- Circular conflicts
- Family issues
- Getting your partner back
- Helping couples through separation
- Discovering if divorce is the right choice
- and many personal problems such as depression, stress, anxiety.