Today’s post is going to be a little different, I’m going to be sharing one of the key focuses I use to help couples reconnect even after years of disconnection.
One of the things we need to change in these couples is the way they think about their relationship, themselves and their partner. This needs to happen because they won’t be aware that their historical thinking is part of why they are in trouble.
So I’ll start with this thought…
If you were in New York and lost and someone handed you a map of Paris could you rely on that map of Paris to help you to make good decisions and take you to were you want to go in New York?
It’s obvious this simply wouldn’t work yet not understanding this concept is leading couples to rely on the wrong maps and this is leading so many to divorce for the wrong reason.
If we expand that map concept to the human mind. Each of us from birth has been creating a totally unique map of our existence so far. So our thinking (our internal map we use to understand the world) is influenced on many layers such as our unique history our beliefs, values, needs etc…
We also have our own unique understanding through the maps we have built of what a good relationship really looks like.
The problem with our own maps is they are based only on one perspective and so when we try to understand other peoples behaviours we are going to have to use our own map to decipher what their behaviour really means and if you do that the chances of being wrong are very high.
What I see very clearly is couples are practising this concept in varying ways and it consistently leads the couples to stack resentment against each other but for the wrong reasons.
When I speak with couples about how to really translate their partner behaviours they can start to see clearly why they were both really suffering.
This process can be a real eye opener for all the couples.
One layer of confusion is the massive differences in how the sexes operate differently within an intimate relationship.
Your partner is going to be nothing like you and so their behaviour will at times be confusing especially if you use your own map of understanding to translate their behaviours.
When I work with couples I’m essentially working to expanding their map so the couple can accurately connect with what is really going on for their partner so they can stop protecting themselves from their partner and start being supportive to each other.
One gentleman in a marital crisis came for my help. He was 71 and his wife was 65 and he married her when he was 25.
He said to me “I have been with my wife over 45 years and of course I know her well but after coming here and learning her map I realised that I really didn’t know her at all – which was shocking, enlightening and sad at the same time.”
Sadly this gentleman had been using the wrong map (his own) to understand his wife for 45 years so of course, they were emotionally disconnected.
I had to share with his wife that her husband really wasn’t translating her well at all BUT he was never just going to.
She discovered because her internal map of his behaviours was also wrong (she was also using her own map to understand him) she had expectations of him that he didn’t even know should be a focus.
So she always felt let down – their historic thinking really wasn’t enough to support the relationship.
Getting to their age and feeling their life together could end was frightening for them.
He told me knew he wanted to protect and provide for her but because he had no internal map of how to achieve the emotional connection and security she needed she always felt disconnected from him.
He thought that getting a good job and being a good man and a good provider was all he needed to be a good husband for her.
He didn’t know what else he could do and that’s the point and the problem for everyone, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Understanding your partners’ map is critical if you are going to stay on the same page and so many couples start well but end up on very different pages with devastating consequences.
What is obvious for one person is not going to be obvious for the other. Men and women are not the same at all – nature has designed us differently for a reason. The key to a successful marriage is to understand those differences and build on your unique strengths and become a team.
I’m currently teaching couples how to build accurate maps to understand each other…
- Couples in crisis are learning how to stop their divorce.
- Couples who love each other but have lost energy/passion for each other find out why and how to fix it.
- Couples who are looking to marry and want to make sure they do it for life learn how to become valuable.
- Couples who are having mixed results dating each other discover why they are having problems so they can decide if marriage is right or wrong for them.