So I was talking to a lady who had entered my program because her marriage was in crisis.
The set-up: All people that seek help are in a bias that was emotionally driven by their own perspectives and needs.
To help couples reconnect broadening that perspective is critical.
So what do you do when you can see the way she was meeting her needs would collapse her marriage?
So her session started with her sharing a situation where she became upset with her husband.
It started when she said something to him and her husband hadn’t replied in the way she wanted and this triggered an upset energy in her because she didn’t feel cared for.
It wasn’t long before her upset led the couple into a fight, to be clear the husband had his own challenges, but the focus today is on her.
This lady was telling me this story so I could understand her upset, she wanted me to connect with how insensitive her husband was and how in the wrong he was.
She said, “I know how silly this sounds, but he really upset me and it’s typical of him”.
The problem with what she told me was it was full of thinking that would be party to destroying this couple’s connection and could take them to divorce.
Neither of them wanted that but they couldn’t see a way forward.
To help her I had to expand her perception of her experience as she was challenged by what she currently couldn’t see.
Simply put she was hurt by him but totally unaware that she was actually hurting them both too.
She thought he was at fault, she couldn’t see her part in the problem so I needed to help her.
Her thinking in this session was what I needed to change to give them a chance.
So I asked her if she had made it clear to her husband the trade he was in?
“What do you mean”? She replied with a confused expression.
I asked her a question “You had an expectation that your husband should behave in a certain way and you assumed he knew that?
“That’s right” she replied.
I went on “If you have an expectation that your husband should act in a certain way you are setting up a trade, if I do this you must do that?
The problem is your husband wasn’t aware of the trade because you didn’t tell him he was in one or what you expected from him.
So you suffered from four common problems and we’ll cover three today.
The trade you set up (your expectations), the assumption he knew what the trade was and three the rule you attached to the expectation.
The fourth problem is you were negatively triggered by your own rules, expectations and assumptions.
She now looked totally baffled, to be honest, I do expect confusion at this point.
So I explained.
When you expect your husband will behave in a certain way, that is you setting an expectation of him.
- The expectation: He must act in a very specific way for you to be emotionally ok.
- The assumption: He thinks the same as you and is aware of what you need.
- The rule: Your rule was he should care and look after you.
The problem comes when you don’t tell him what he should do for you to be emotionally okay.
So he was set up to fail and then blamed for breaking the rule of not caring.
I know your husband cares very deeply for you he just experiences the world differently which is why his reaction wasn’t as you imagined.
His thinking isn’t wrong it’s just different.
You see it’s not fair on him to create an expectation of him without letting him know the trade he is entering.
Of course, if you told him, he might not agree to the trade but at least he has a chance.
“BUT Telling him what I wanted would be ridiculous, I would feel silly he should just know” she replied.
“I’m sure you don’t really expect him to be a mind reader.
You see these trades and expectations don’t work, and no one should expect a partner to become a mind-reader, but so many do.
Plus in the moment of the trade you set up, you gave him all the power to make you feel good or bad it’s like a test no one could win.
So without him knowing no one was in control of the relationship at that moment it’s why you both became fearful and a arguemnet started.
That is what I call bad vulnerability for both people, because both people are in fear states.
The key is to learn how to bring out the best in him not the worst. Your expectations of him simply proved you didn’t understand him, which ironically is at the root of your own upset with him.
I told her “You are now on the first step to understanding what is really happening and the differences that you need to know to be able to support each other”.
Become the observer of your own thinking, remember just because you think it, it doesn’t make it true.
“Plus judging your partner isn’t a loving act so it’s important that integrity is practised if you want to be successful in the program so you must be committed to yourself”.
It’s interesting in relationships that many people have a greater expectation of their partner than they do of themselves.
This lady was on her path of discovering two critical points.
The quality of her relationship was firstly based on her ability to see the whole truth by committing to an identity within herself she would be proud of and happy in.
Fearful people don’t see the truth or the full picture they only see their bias that fits the story they are living.
Secondly, she used that powerful new energy to see her husband’s differences as strengths with a quest to bring out the best in him.
In essence, she learnt the most important lesson.
Her demands (expectations, assumptions, rules, judgments and blame) simply left her disconnected from who she really is (this would create pain and suffering in her) and successfully pushed him away thus compounding the problem.
It takes no skill or intelligence to keep looking for what’s wrong and is at the core of why so many decent marriages fail unnecessarily.
Successful marriages are built and rebuilt through having the courage to learn the truth.
You see a failing marriage isn’t the truth of that marriage it’s the truth of the individual’s ability to manage themselves and the marriage.
This lady on her own had the power to make a significantly positive impact on her marriage through understanding and reconnecting to herself whilst learning how to bring out the best in him.
What’s important is all these critical skills can be learnt so if you want to start your journey starts here