In todays post I’ll share the one thing everyone that comes to see me is doing that’s almost guaranteed to make their relationship worse.
The fundamental challenges that I see in so many people who’s relationship is struggling is their desire to focus on themselves and what they are not getting.
This is a serious problem because the moment two people are focused on what they are not getting the relationship starts accelerating towards a more permanent disconnect.
People are tending to focus their energy on what their partner is doing that’s bad in their eyes or on what their partner should be doing (in their eyes) but is not.
Essentially their focus is on themselves and their own missing needs.
This level of thinking that’s ‘ME’ focused is guaranteed to lead the relationship into a negative state and can lead both people to become a mirror of self-interest and self-protection.
This outcome is a disaster for any relationship because it results in no one adding value to their connection and so the relationship stops growing and starts dying.
The rule of thumb for success in any walk of life is in a persons ability to add value.
I remember listening to a billionaire being interviewed. He was asked for the secret to becoming a billionaire. He said it’s simple “solve a billion-pound problem”
The wealthy know that adding value in a meaningful way to their customers is a foundation for their success.
This fundamental understanding and practice for success is true in every walk of life.
In contrast, a person sitting with high expectations of those around them whilst adding very little value should not expect much back.
This is a fundamental law of the universe and is one of the fundamental keys for a successful marriage/life.
The common argument I get back is they have done that.
Some believe that they have been giving a lot for years and their partner is either selfish, mean, lack empathy or they are just incompatible.
Of course they might be right but…
The problem these people face and don’t see in so many cases is they think they are adding value to their partner, but in reality, their actions are massively missing the mark and as a result, their partner is also living in a painful emotional deficit.
Everyone is very different and unless you have both spent significant time understand those differences it’s likely that the differences are seen as failures or problems.
The key to being in a successful relationship is when they start seeing the differences as strengths, but that will take a fundamental shift of understanding and mindset.
Other people are putting lots of effort into giving their partner what they want, but are unaware of the negative impact of pleasing their partner as a means to gain a reciprocal trade.
They believe you must give to get back, they are totally unaware this pattern also doesn’t work.
The give-to-get pattern creates a cycle of expectation and disappointment because the person they are giving to is totally unaware of what the pleaser expects in return.
This disappointment over time can turn into resentment in the mind of the pleaser.
The only method that works for couples that should be together is to contribute to your partner not as a trade, but because what you give to them is a symbol of your core identity and who you are.
It’s staggering how many loving and caring people are no longer connected to those values when they are with their partner.
So why are so many people so self focused are we just selfish?
The simple answer is no – people become self-focused when they are confused or misunderstood and if practised over time it leads them to self-protection.
The problem is so many people are protecting themselves from a partner who is not trying to hurt them.
The hurt is coming from a lack of understanding on both sides of how to understand and add value to each other.
Your partner is going to think and feel differently to you about the same things and unless you both understand these differences and what they mean you will both incorrectly translate what your partner is wanting and trying to say to you.
For example: When a problem strikes men and women have totally different reasons for communicating and so even before they say a single word to each other they are disconnected, their words just make the disconnect worse and so both people cycle into self-protection.
What I help a couple to achieve is how to effectively translate and then add value to each other.
Essentially the job is to help replace judgement and blame with love and understanding.
Remember passionate loving relationships that last are not found they are created.
Far too many people feel that they need to find a new life and a new lover to experience the love and passion they want.
This is a mistake many make and regret for years.
What they are unaware of it they are just bringing the same lack of skills from their last relationship into the new one.
This is why divorce in second marriages is significantly higher than divorce in first marriages.
Successful relationship building requires education because couples are not designed to understand each other or be the same as each other.