What it takes for Relationship Success
Relationship success is not a secret formula. I have been a Relationship Specialist for nine years.
I have counselled so many couples that have found themselves lost in their relationship and lost hope of what they thought a relationship was supposed to be. We all have an idea of what we believe a relationship should be like. These ideas may have developed through our parents, friends, movies or books.
I see a lot of clients who will ring up and ask me to “fix” their husband or “fix” their wife. When things don’t go according to plan or according to a preconceived notion of what a relationship should be like, then someone needs to change.
Exactly what needs to change is different for each couple. These changes could include communication, intimacy, quality time, anger management, past emotional baggage, traumas, phobias, financial issues, infidelity, careers, parenting and the list could go on and on.
What I have learned through my client’s experiences and through years of continuous professional development is:
“Just because you’re doing things differently, it doesn’t mean that you’re wrong”
What I mean is, just because two people have different ways of handling a situation it doesn’t mean someone needs “fixing.” It’s more a case of adjustment and acceptance rather than “fixing” or changing someone. Flexibility is the key to a successful relationship. You need to be flexible in how you think, feel and behave.
You Need To Be Flexible
It is really important that before you start a relationship with someone, that you have a good relationship with yourself. Here is the eternal question: Who are you? When I ask clients this question I get a lot of answers like:
- I am a Plumber
- I am a wife
- I am a Mum, Dad, Son, Daughter
- I am a Lawyer
- I am an Entrepreneur
- I am a Builder
- I am a Hairdresser
- I am a Teacher
- I am confused
- I am Angry
- I am Hurt
- I am lost
The answers reflect what the client does or how they feel but it does not answer the question of who are they?
This question is a really deep, soul-searching question. In order to answer this question, I would like you to consider this: we’re all born with positive intentions and we’re all born with love.
It may not feel like it due to personal experiences or situations you may have endured however, the truth is, we are all born with the same energy, or love and light.
Answering this question can help you understand you’re not your job, you’re not your career, you’re not what you own (materialistically), you’re not your health, you’re not your age, you’re not your problems.
You are more than that! The simpler you’re able to answer the question, the more profound the answer will be for you. Take the time to consider the question and consider the answer to “Who are you?”
What Are You Bringing To The Relationship?
A relationship is a joint venture between two people. It requires participation from both people to have a relationship. Each person is responsible for bringing something to the relationship.
What are you bringing to your relationship?
- A good, positive attitude?
- A good sense of humor?
- Good problem-solving skills?
- A good balance between work and home life?
- Encouragement and praise?
- Affection and intimacy?
- Support and guidance?
- Fun and adventure
- A good understanding of what you like
- A good understanding of what you dislike?
- A set of values and standards that are working for you?
- Do you find it easy to make life decisions
- Positive beliefs about yourself and life in general?
As I mentioned before, clients call me to “fix” their partners all the time. However, each person is responsible for themselves. Rather than focus on what is “wrong” with your partner or what they need to “fix” why not focus on yourself. Why not look at how you are in the relationship.
If you’re able to do that, if you’re able to focus on yourself then you are 100% in control of making changes right now!
If you know things need to change in the relationship, why not start with something you can actually make happen? Why not start with something you can put your time and energy into and something you will know for sure is working?
If you start with yourself, then you will need to know as much about yourself as possible. The more information you know and understand about yourself the easier it is to make things work in the relationship.
Why does this make it easier? It’s easier because you know what you like and what you don’t. You know what makes you happy and what doesn’t and you know what you need and what you don’t need.
The first step is to know and learn as much about yourself as possible. The second step is to share what you know! You can’t expect your partner to tune in and mind-read you. Well actually, that happens all the time but think about how much room for error there is when you expect someone to just know things about you.
When you expect people to pick up your moods and guess what they could do to help you through situations, it makes it really difficult to get it right. The more you know about you and the more you share this information, the less conflict you will attract.
Another benefit is when you have any conflicts in the relationship, you’ll be able to explain your thoughts, feelings and your needs because you know what they are!
If you go into a relationship without any idea of who you are and what you want, imagine how much harder it is to deal with situations when they arise.
It’s harder because you are working through issues, emotions, and thoughts. At the same time, you’re expecting your partner to have answers, understand the situation and what you’re feeling and thinking. You want them to know what to do about it, right now, in order for you to feel better! How exhausting is that!
When two people enter a relationship they are bringing a lot of stuff with them about their past, their upbringing, culture, religion, spirituality, friendships, traumas, careers, achievements, failures and perhaps baggage from past relationships.
When conflict arises in the relationship people think the issues are because of the relationship or because of their partner. However, many issues in relationships are just a reflection of the difficulties you’ve experienced in your life.
Working on Yourself
What I mean is the issues that arise in a relationship can actually be a shadow of the same issues you’ve already experienced somewhere else, with someone else in your past.
And when the issues come up in the present relationship it can make you overreact, or become extremely emotional because you’re not only dealing with the current issue, you’re also dealing with the situation that happened in your past that may still be unresolved.
This is why it is important to know and understand yourself and have a good sense of who you are. It’s important that you work on yourself through life to resolve issues that have not yet been resolved. It’s important to make peace within yourself over situations that have caused you to feel hurt or upset.
It’s important to learn and grow as an individual and it is important to be flexible and to do things differently when you need to.
You’re bringing so many things to your relationship without even realizing it consciously. You’re bringing knowledge, life lessons and understandings about yourself and that adds great value to the relationship.
The ability to be flexible and the ability to focus on yourself and who you are in life will build a strong relationship with your partner but it will also build a strong relationship with yourself.
It will help you believe in yourself, trust yourself, love yourself, forgive yourself. It will help you be in control of your choices in life and in control of how you react and how you feel and think.
If you’re able to work on yourself and focus on what you can change in life then you will go through life with a lot less conflict. If you don’t choose to work on yourself and you choose to focus on your partner and what they need to change, then you may be waiting a long time.
For example, if you’ve ever wanted to lose weight because it would make you feel good about yourself you might not have done anything about straight away. Maybe it took a long time before you did anything about it because you had to talk yourself into it and it took time for you to build your motivation around it.
Then you realized it takes a lot of effort to make changes. Imagine how much harder it is to go through all this just because someone else wants you to do it.
A person with a low self-esteem tries to change the other person. They will look to find all the problems they believe their partner has and will focus on those issues. They believe when their partner changes, the relationship will be better and they will be happier.
A person with a poor sense of self will always believe they are right and their partner is wrong. They will not be flexible in their thinking and they will be hypercritical because the more they can focus on their partner’s faults, the less attention will be drawn to their
No one wants to be wrong and no one wants to the bad guy. A successful relationship requires both people to work on themselves to be the best people they can be. You want to be bringing the best you possible to your relationship.
Relationships shouldn’t be hard work but they should include consistent effort from both partners. A relationship is about going to be as good as what you are bringing to it.