In 2012 I decided to run an experiment for a few months. I would stop working with couples together and would work with them individually.
I would not see them as a couple for the duration of their 12 week program other than the first meeting.
My thought was if I helped just one person shift out of the destructive pattern that would bring positive energy to their marriage and enable a significant shift for them both.
I wanted to see the effect of helping each person independently understand their own emotions and how to choose the emotions they wanted rather than be affected by their own limiting beliefs and ineffective patterns of thought and behaviours in reaction to their partner.
You see many couples become incompatible because both people become disconnected from themselves when they are together.
This process is emotionally painful and can give the impression the relationship is the problem.
Most people in crisis become highly reactive with negative energy and are disconnected from values they would say makeup who they are as a person.
So loving people would become mean, fun people would become grumpy, kind people would become rude, people that believed in freedom would become controlling.
The thought of this new approach of working with individuals was essentially stopping the person becoming so negatively reactive and help them see the choices they were currently blind to.
If you watch a couple in conflict you will watch them play out the same old patterns of how they do their conflict.
They seem in the moment to be unaware that there are other ways to deal with their problems as they become more and more unhappy with the conflict and both blaming each other for it.
They are out of control of themselves
This is behaviour without thought, essentially rendering the person out of control of themselves.
Imagine if instead of growing a pattern to be more destructive you could interrupt a pattern and move the conflict from destructive to constructive.
You see when most people enter a conflict they end up making the situation worse even if they started out with the intention to make it better.
How many couples are in an argument and have literally no idea what they are actually arguing about, these couples are consumed by their patterns.
Patterns are really about making life easier, but many people are using them to destroy perfectly good relationships.
I wanted to use this new process with the individuals I saw to wake them up to what they were doing and show them how to connect to themselves and add value to their partner to protect the relationship and create happier energy.
In essence the thinking had to change.
Imagine if a person stopped themselves going into defensiveness and anger to react to what their partner did or said and shifted their energy to be what they valued most.
What if one person changed their own pattern what effect would it have on the couple’s pattern?
The answer is it had the potential to create a totally different outcome.
Many people will tell me their partner is impossible to change yet they seem very successful at triggering their partner to become more angry, more upset, more negative.
It’s simply not true they can’t change their partner the question is what do you want them to change to and what do you have to change in you to make that change in them possible.
Imagine if someone learnt the process to interrupt their partners’ negative pattern and then discovered the process of adding value in the way their partner needed it.
You see the most important skill any partner can learn is how to become an energy of positive influence.
The energy of positive influence will build a significantly better connection and grow far a deeper attachment.
This is a skill missing in so many couples and is why so many people come to me for me to change their partner.
My message is if you want your partner to change if you want a healthier relationship then the change must start with you.
If you want the relationship to change then one person must make the decision to change themselves and this has the power to change the whole relationship.
This experiment back in 2012 was a huge success and has formed a part of how I work with couples ever since.
Not everyone is meant to be together and I see some that really should move on.
The majority, however, have the ability to create a significant shift by understanding how to use a new way of thinking that dissolves problems and rebuilds trust and connection.
I do this work with individuals and with couples so you really don’t have to wait for your partner to make up their mind to take part.
One gentleman I spoke to wanted to wait for his wife to do this program with him. He waited a year for her to be ready.
The reality was they sat in their problem for a year and she then filed for divorce because the problems didn’t get better and he could have stopped the collapse of his marriage by becoming part of the solution.
He thought her unhappiness was her problem he didn’t see that he was holding a key to the solution.