Updated: Sep 8
Is your relationship getting better or worse over time? Or is it staying at a steady flat-line
Do you feel you get to be your best self in your relationship? Or does it pull out more of your worst self?
Do you get to be more of yourself, or do you have to “cramp your style” in order to make the relationship work?
It’s typical in relationships that we start out on a high, bringing out the best in each other.
And it’s just as typical that after a while, we start to focus on what’s wrong and what we don’t like.
Future-oriented or problem-oriented
It’s typical we start out sharing wonderful physical and emotional intimacy in our relationship, and just as typical that after a while, intimacy in our relationship gets relegated to a much lower spot on the priority list.
We tend to start out being inspired by all the possibilities of who we could be together and what we could do. Our thinking is future-oriented while we appreciate every moment we share.
Over time, we often narrow our focus to what’s bothering us, what’s not working and what we don’t like. Instead of future-oriented possibility thinking we tend towards problem-oriented thinking while forgetting the love and affection we still share.
In the beginning, we give freely of our love, time, and attention. After some years, we tend to have more attention on what our partner isn’t giving us anymore.
These are some ways we create a downward spiral in our marriages and relationships. (More about how we create a downward spiral in this podcast episode).
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There’s always a choice
But remember, we always have some kind of choice. We might have all kinds of stressful circumstances (like a global pandemic!), but we still have choice and influence over what we are going to focus on and create more of.
Here’s a real-life relationship example: Thomas & Jackie had been together 8 years, at a crossroads whether to “go for it”, get married, or maybe let it go. Thomas had been doing some personal growth work and decided to be honest with Jackie about something he’d been lying about for quite a while (an addictive behavior). So he came clean about it, told her what he’d been withholding and about his commitment to be honest and accountable.
Now Jackie had a choice to make. Should she consider him a liar, as evidenced by him having lied? Or should she consider him an honest person she could count on, as evidenced by his coming forward?
It was a challenging choice for her, because trust in relationships had been an issue in her life. She might have preferred a different circumstance – such as no lying in the first place – but all the same, she had a choice in how to proceed.
Jackie chose to trust and to use the experience as evidence for Thomas being someone she could count on to tell the truth. They went on to make a beautiful life and family together, and they chose to build trust in their relationship.
There’s always contrasting evidence
Notice Jackie had evidence to support (at least) two completely different cases.
This is true in our own relationship too. Even as a relationship coach, over the years, I have given Sonika lots of evidence for me being a grumpy, judgmental man. I have also given lots of evidence for me being kind, compassionate and considerate man. I would hope more of the latter, but still, there’s evidence to support me being a great guy or a grumpy guy. Sonika has some choice in that matter, as do I.
Sometimes, when your partner is being irritating or you feel generally bad in your relationship, you might ask, “Yeah, but what if it’s the truth that he’s inconsiderate and selfish!?”
To which we’d say … Yes, there might be some behaviors to look at and work on. But where do you see him being kind and generous? What evidence can you find for that?
Watch the YouTube video of this post with Sonika & Christian
True right now vs true in the future
More than what is true right now, we suggest focusing on what you want to be true going forward. Just like Jackie could say (right up till the point Thomas came clean) that right now there reason not to trust in her relationship, but she chose to focus on what she wanted to be true going forward, which was trusting Thomas and building trust in their relationship.
In The LoveWorks Solution we aim to use all these relationship issues to fuel the continued creation of empowered relating and satisfying intimacy.
We don’t pretend there isn’t bad stuff happening or that we don’t have relationship issues to deal with. We come to each other with a willingness to see the best, and bring out the best, in each other and to grow together. Every time there’s a relationship issue, we use it to enhance intimacy and trust in our relationship. How? We use all the tools we teach in the LoveWorks Solution.
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LoveWorks: We believe relationships are meant to be an empowering, fun, passionate, safe place to grow, love, and learn. Where we get to be more of who we are, not less. We know it’s not always easy, but it can definitely be easier! With our unique and practical approach to relationship, you learn how to resolve conflicts quickly and enjoy fulfilling intimacy for the rest of your life. To learn more or contact us, visit www.loveworkssolution.com.