In today’s post, I’m covering successful relationships and how they differ from what most practice.
So, if you are struggling, this one shift could change your life forever.
Remember, the divorce rate is about 50%, but this number doesn’t mean the other 50% is necessarily happy.
In fact, most of us know couples who are still together who are bored, miserable, struggling or having affairs.
After spending two decades helping people to understand their crisis, I want to share what I have seen that really makes the difference in a couple’s life together.
What I am about to share is a foundational pillar that allows the couple to thrive regardless of the usual daily challenges that all couples face.
People who SUFFER the most constantly practice the following behaviour and then wonder why they are struggling.
The problem is this…
They don’t put their partner first…
Not only do they avoid putting their partner first, but they tend to put themselves or something else first instead.
To be fair, some people do try to do this, but they either don’t do it in a way that is valuable to their partner, or they are inconsistent.
Just so we are clear, pleasing is the worst model of putting your partner first because fear is driving that need to please. I have many clients who suffer from this problem.
The reason pleasing is ineffective is because the mission is to please a person so they get back what they want. This model puts their need at the centre, which is why it always fails.
Putting yourself or something else first is guaranteed to stress and kill the connection, and in many, it kills connection, emotional security and sexual connection.
Not putting your partner first means you are not part of a team. You are creating two separate energies, not two joined energies, which is a highly inefficient model.
If anything is more important than a person’s partner, they must expect trouble, and I mean lasting trouble.
This can be work, money, parents, hobbies, friends and even children. Yes, even children, because you must present a success model to the children so they run a healthy model with their partners in the future.
Not putting your partner first is almost guaranteed to have a profoundly negative effect on any couple’s marriage.
If you don’t put your partner first, they will feel uncertain, insignificant and unloved.
As these are critical needs for any person, this will eventually lead that person to seek those needs outside of the marriage.
They won’t consciously do it. It will just happen.
When a person doesn’t feel that they matter to their partner, this will eventually help them to self-protect in some way.
That process is how emotions get switched off.
It’s so important that the relationship meets each person’s needs for there to be a deeper level of security, connection and intimacy.
Putting your partner first rebuilds trust and paves an easier way to experience fun, passion and adventure together.
Essentially, putting your partner first will FREE them to be who they really are, and this is critical!
Staying connected to our true identity is so important for our psychological and physical health.
It helps us to feel at ease with ourselves, thus avoiding dis-ease. That’s right, emotional challenges do have a physical impact.
Disconnection from ourselves is deeply upsetting as it creates stress, depression and anxiety, so it’s critical to get it right.
When I met Cloe, my number one mission was to understand her so I was able to put her first in the way she needed, and there were many factors to understand.
I decided to make her the most important part of my life.
In fact, back when we first met and still today, my mission is to keep learning her as we age and our life inevitably changes.
What’s interesting is that even though many of my hours are spent working with clients, understanding her enabled the time we spent together to be of high value.
I have a couple I’m working with who have very busy with separate filming schedules, so when they are together, those times have to count – this couple learnt how important this one point is.
It’s not quantity. It’s quality.
What’s interesting about this practice of putting her first is it’s helped Cloe to ask me how she can be better for me.
This is a contrasting message from the many couples I see. My consistent actions towards Cloe created natural reciprocity in her to want to be better.
This is a sign of a healthy connection. “I feel so good about me when I’m with you. What can I do for you?”
If a couple has natural reciprocity (which was my mission with Cloe) by adding massive value to each other, it significantly adds to the depth of their connection.
This naturally creates a greater desire to spend more time together.
The reason couples stay together is they love how they feel about themselves when they are together.
If a person is trying to get through to their partner and makes the situation about them at that moment, they are also not putting their partner first.
Not feeling a priority causes a whole variety of problems for every couple.
Stacked resentments, emotional detachment or self-numbing, are common.
Nothing good comes from this practice of NOT putting your partner first, so it’s another critical skill to learn if you want a lasting connection.
Naturally, asking anyone to put their partner first when there have been years of upset has its challenges.
BUT here’s the thing: Couples that DON’T learn how to do this will struggle as what’s wrong will always be the focus of their relationship.
Many people will consider putting their partner first to be a lot of hard work.
My answer to this is not putting your partner first is so much harder, and it never gets easier.
This skill is learnable and has to be done in a way that is good for each person and their future.