For two decades, I’ve watched a steady stream of highly intelligent people, industry leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, judges and lawyers come to me after spending significant time trying to solve their relationship problems without success.
Many have tried to help themselves initially and then tried the usual circuit of professional help.
The challenge these people have, no matter where they turn, is they are not seeing the real problem they are facing.
They are not connected to the ROOT CAUSE!!!
This error of judgement can be catastrophic for any couple because they can conclude their problem is incompatibility.
In many cases, I discover they are not incompatible at all; they are simply trying to solve the wrong problem(s).
You see, most couples are trying to solve either the presenting problem they see or the problem from their limited perspective.
A couple I saw a few years back were experiencing this very problem.
They spent years trying to fix the wrong problem, nearly resulting in their divorce.
So this couple had tried a couples counsellor and a couples therapist.
They said they liked both people, but after two years of trying, they were running out of hope, and they were exhausted and saw my service as the “Last Chance Saloon.”
Their words, not mine.
When they came to me, I asked them what they were struggling with.
They gave me the usual list.
They said they had worked on communication, understanding each person’s issues, and they had developed more empathy for each other, but no matter what they tried, something still wasn’t right.
In essence, their reason for being together had gone, and they were living parallel lives with no spark.
They agreed with the previous therapist they had gone as far as they could with her.
So they came to me to see if I could see the problem.
The instant problem I saw was their energy with each other had completely gone; yes, they were now exhausted, but this was far more than that.
They were going through the motions, but there was no connected energy.
Relationships are all about energy, and when it’s gone, the couple must have changed something.
So I asked them this.
When you first met, who was masculine and who was feminine?
They had never been asked this before and had no idea what it meant and how to define it.
As they discussed this new focus with me, it was clear when they first met that each person had a very defined masculine and feminine role and energy.
This was part of what attracted them and created their spark – it was their unique attraction-based life force.
Then I asked them, after their years of struggle, who was NOW masculine and who was NOW feminine?
What they discovered shocked them, and started to explain why they had made little real progress.
They had swapped, and the swapping of roles had killed their attraction dynamic.
They never knew…
Because of this energy swap, they were now just friends and not very good ones due to their stacked resentments and exhaustion.
They spent years blaming each other when, in reality, each person played a significant role in this profound shift.
When they started couples work years before, they were so focused on the historical conflicts and the hurtful things each other had said they were missing the ROOT CAUSE!
They were focused on the results of their symptoms of not having the right masculine and feminine energy.
They were NOT focused on fixing the masculine or feminine energy, and for them, this meant the problem persisted no matter what they did.
To make matters worse for them, neither had any idea this was a problem a couple could have.
So, for years, they were focused on what they knew rather than the root problem.
What I hope you are seeing from this couple’s example is unless you understand the root problem you face, then you can fix as many symptoms as you can find, but the core problem will always remain.
There are many root problems a couple could experience that will block their ability to live a free, connected life together.
When looking to solve a couple’s problems, before they start any work, they must put two stakes in the ground.
The first stake is where are they really today?
The second stake is where do they want to end up?
The first stake is important because, like this couple, they had no idea about where they really are today.
Some people have the perception they are worse than they really are, and some are much better than they think they are.
Unless you understand the root problem, you simply cannot create the right start and end point path for a couple.
The wrong starting point is like trying to navigate a journey from London to New York when you’re really in Paris, and you don’t know – all this will create is ongoing frustration.
The starting point is mission-critical – it’s why I run initial meetings with couples so we can agree on what the process will contain.
It’s where I uncover what’s been right in front of them all the time.
When the couple has the right starting point, what they then need is the strategy that will give them the best chance of getting to their desired end destination.
This is where experience really counts because with hundreds of possible options for creating change in any human what five change decisions must be made first to maximise the couple’s chances of success.
Where do we start and why?
You see, this is why, after seeing thousands of couples over nearly two decades, I have never run the same 12-step program the same way for any couple.
Every program is different because every person and the dynamic they create with their partner is unique to them.
So, if you are struggling, please remember that the problem you are experiencing is highly complex and if you are going around in circles it’s likely that you are focused on fixing the wrong problem.
All most couples need is a broader knowledge base of what is influencing their feelings and behaviours and new skills to correct any unhelpful changes.