How do we restore relationships when they find themselves in trouble? First I’d like to talk about some of the causes of relationship trouble. I believe this can be most simplified in two categories:
A. Lack of Relationship Integrity
Lack of relationship integrity is much like lack of personal integrity where we allow ourselves and our partner to let betrayal, lies, omissions, and secrets become an acceptable part of the way we relate to one another. This includes the big things like affairs and addictions, as well as the small things like not keeping agreements made with one another and/or yourself.
B. Withholding Love
Withholding love includes acts of criticism, using hurtful and mean words/gestures, ignoring, being unwilling to recognize or solve problems, and physical abuse. Again withholding love can be very obvious – as in battery or physical violence, or it can be subtle such as contemptible looks or gestures.
For either of these categories, you will have to decide if your relationship is healthy and fulfilling, or if you are content and satisfied. The range of ‘healthy’ is up to you. I often suggest that couples read books about healthy relationships to see if theirs has some of these qualities. Often times our experience in relationships and our models are distorted and we think this is just the way it is. I had a young man in my office recently describing his parent’s relationship, and he said that they fight all the time and sleep in separate rooms, but this is just the way marriage is after 25+ years. Hmmm.
#1 Surrender the Victory
Surrender the victory means to give up the ‘right’ fighting, you know, fighting to be right. If you are fighting to be right someone has to be wrong, and when this happens the relationship loses. There is no true victory when you fight with your partner about who is right.
#2 Humble Yourself
A small dose of humility goes a long long way. By this, I mean letting your partner and your relationship be your teacher. Be in your relationship as a curious child – learning with humble gratitude about yourself, your partner and the nature of relating in a healthy way. If you can’t imagine humbling yourself to your partner, imagine humbling yourself to the power of love. Let the love between you both be the cliff in which you rise up to and then jump off of soaring to new heights fueled by this love. I know you can do it.
#3 Take Care of Your Emotions
Find alternative ways to identify and process your emotions. They are yours – your partner did not cause them. They are in you, and you have the responsibility to take care of your own feelings. Do not spew them on one another.
#4 Be Nice
This is so simple and it takes so little effort. To repeat an old cliché, practice random acts of kindness, but do it with your partner – without an agenda or an expectation. Just do it because you can and because you probably need to. We are often kinder to strangers than we are to our beloveds.
Please go to part 2 to get all the great tips, steps, and tools to start restoring your relationships. If this article peeks your interests and you want to know more please visit my profile and reach out with any questions. I'm delighted to help.