After spending significant time with so many struggling couples I can see that far too many people are not understanding what a healthy relationship really looks like.
Essentially the way people are thinking is leading them to a disastrously unhealthy relationship and they are totally unaware of what they are doing.
Understanding what a healthy relationship looks like is so critical because firstly it gives a couple a better understanding of the gap between where they are and where they need to get to.
Secondly understanding the real goal and then moving towards that healthy relationship will have tremendous physical and psychological benefits that will positively affect many areas of their lives, not just a better connection.
Unhealthy relationships can put a real strain on our emotional health and our physical wellbeing and so now more than ever we must be moving toward becoming a stronger healthily team.
Why do so many people end up in unhealthy relationships?
For the most, it’s not their fault, really good people can get it very wrong without knowing or meaning to.
Far too many people are not aware of what they need to understand if they are going to make their marriage last.
They will need a new understanding of themselves, their partner and a how-to implement tools that help them to navigate a world they never knew existed.
The problem really starts when the couple starts their relationship and are really happy to be together. Thanks to a cocktail of natures attraction chemicals couples, in the beginning, don’t have to do very much to be happily connected.
Sadly that cocktail of chemicals doesn’t last and within a couple of years (for some sooner) the couple is on their own with very different feelings that can range from confusing to worrying to have I made a mistake.
Couples will find their initial attraction is replaced with other feelings as the relationship changes, such as resistance, self-protection, resentment, loss of emotional connection in the more extreme cases emotional disconnect and a growing desire to be free.
Essentially love and passion can start to be replaced with a focus on more security-based needs.
The couple is unaware they are entering the next stage of their relationship a stage that so many are ill-prepared for.
What can mask this process of disconnection is busy lives such as children and careers. Busy lives mean that couples are not aware of the problems they are heading towards.
I see a couples disconnect as normal.
Until I was educated in the skills that keep a couple connected I was as lost as everyone else.
When I see couples in crisis I don’t see their disconnect as the truth of their relationship. I see their disconnect as the truth of what they have been focused on and have been doing.
Most people are focused on the wrong things and are creating actions that create more disconnect, again without knowing.
Steps needed to create a healthy relationship.
A healthy connection is based on two people living together with common goals. Essentially they are a team building the life they both agree they want to live together.
Before this can happen they must be connected in such a way they keep their attraction for each other alive.
To keep their attraction alive they must create a foundation that feels emotionally safe and know their partner has their back no matter what.
Couples who don’t need to focus on whether they are safe or if they matter to their partner will naturally move their focus towards wanting to support their partner.
Essentially it’s critical that both people have created a foundation of protecting their relationship and each other.
Even healthy couples experience conflict. The difference is they learn and grow when differences occur. They know how to handle the conflict so they keep attraction and love alive.
This means that both people feel they are the most important people in each other’s lives.
This foundation of security frees both people to really be themselves in their marriage, they don’t need to protect or defend themselves, this shift of focus is critical.
Being free to be who you are in your marriage is really important because the loss of connection to your true-self will disable your ability, or desire to meet your partner needs and that’s catastrophic.
When a person starts to protect themselves or cannot be themselves in their marriage it will be very challenging for them to keep their love alive.
So being free to be yourself, knowing your partner has your back, knowing you are number one in your partners’ mind allows us to relax and focus on our partner needs.
Relationships that are successful only happen when the individuals stop focusing on themselves and start looking after their partner’s critical needs.
Some of those critical needs are rooted in what creates an attraction for your partner and some are in what naturally drives the person. Everybody has different emotional drivers and your partners’ will be different from yours, which is why they sometimes act in confusing ways.
Unless you know what drives your partner it will be very difficult to positively influence them.
Essentially couples in healthy relationships have learnt how to positively influence each other for the good of each other, not their own self-interest.
Successful relationships are not about ‘ME’ it’s about adding significant value to each other so you can be happy on your way to the life you both want.
A healthy relationship is also about two people that can effectively communicate.
The critical part of communication is not about being clear and listening well. The most critical part is how to translate what your partner really wants or is trying to say when they speak. Men and women really don’t translate each other well and so circular conflicts are very common.
In essence, healthy relationships are far easier to be in than ones that struggle with each other.
A couple struggling is a sign that a change is needed and that change should be to understand all the above and more.
Couples and individuals that want to understand what they are capable of are taking a deeper dive into all these critical areas of focus.
One couple I was working with had simply grown apart. Business life was stressful, children took up much of their time. External pressures were compounding and their relationship was dying and they didn’t see it to start with.
One day a conflict too many meant she knew she felt different about him and he agreed they had lost what they once had.
He was sceptical that anyone could help in his mind sometimes love just dies.
He came along anyway.
All of the areas above were expanded so they could see the truth as to why they had lost connection and over a few weeks new understanding had created new behaviours and this meant new feelings.
At the end of their course, he said he felt that the relationship felt easier to be in now. He said, of course, I know why we were suffering now but the shifts were so easy to make it really doesn’t feel like hard work anymore.
That really is the point relationships are not supposed to be a labour. If it is then you’re doing it wrong.