Some men get stuck when it comes to improving their relationship.
Many blokes avoid the issues altogether, deny there is even a problem or wait for their partner to try and fix it!
This sounds like a rather cynical view of men and relationships in general.
However, a startling statistic coming out of the research by relationship expert Dr John Gottman describes that, on average, a couple wait 6 years before seeking help!
That’s a long time!
There are numerous ways couples try and improve their relationship.
They organise date nights, negotiate equal shares of domestic and parenting roles, buy gifts etc.
Are these really enough or is there a more comprehensive way to solving the problem?
When relationships get really stuck, most blokes, indeed, most partners, struggle to resist their desire to fix their partner or demand their partner fixes themselves!
This can lead to further conflict or at least keeping relationships stuck as partners become more and more defensive.
Becoming aware of your contribution towards unhappiness in your relationship is a significant step to break any impasse.
An obvious suggestion is to talk about your worries, thoughts and feelings with your partner.
If you’re like many men, however, this idea is usually met with one of the following:
“ I don’t have the time to talk. Our lives are so busy”
“ What on earth would I talk about? What would I say”
Inevitably the longer you wait, avoid or deny there is a problem, the likelihood is that things get worse.
What follows is a 4 step guide to prepare you to start talking with your partner.
If you could create the kind of relationship you want to have, what would that relationship look like?
The purpose of this first step is to help you reflect on what’s been lost and what could be gained or retrieved in re-establishing the kind of relationship you want.
How and why did you and your partner get together in the first place?
What were those character traits, values, or behaviours that drew you to them in that first instance?
What new traits, behaviours and attributes that you have grown to love in your partner since you met?
Here are some examples of the kind of relationship partners want:
Take some time to make a list of your own.
What is required of you to create that relationship?
Here’s where it gets interesting!
How do you contribute towards a happily connected partnership?
How does your style of communicating determine the mood in your relationship?
Think for a moment about your communication style, emotional and physical needs and expectations. Do these help or hinder the kind of relationship you want.
How do you initiate ways to get close with your partner? Or are you waiting for them?
Here are some examples to consider.
Time to be honest with yourself! Make a list of your own.
How motivated are you to improve your relationship? What might be your blocks?
Motivation to change really boils down to how much desire, effort and time you are willing to put in.
All relationships are a work in progress, including yours!
However, do you know your own personal blocks or obstacles that may be a major hurdle to changing your relationship?
Here are some examples of what kind of blocks can get in the way:
What are your blocks?
4. How do you help your partner feel loved and appreciated?
How do you show the love?
Are there practical things you do? Or, is it the physical affection you offer?
What about the ways in which you communicate?
Expressions of love and appreciation are important to sustain in committed relationships.
Here are some examples:
List all the ways you show love and appreciation of your partner.
This is just the beginning!
After completing the above questions, ask your partner to follow the same 4 steps.
Then create some uninterrupted time to discuss each of your responses.
It’s likely that you may need to talk more than once about your responses.
Try and avoid a debate or argument. The conversation needs to be calm and non judgemental.
It’s a discussion that requires empathy, curiosity and care. It’s all about how your relationship can move forward.
Take the steps, and let me know how you go!