One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life. ~ E.M. Forster
How long has it been since you and your partner had fun together?
Do you feel your efforts to improve your relationship just aren’t working?
Do you want to enjoy talking to each other again?
Do you feel it difficult to talk openly and effectively with your partner?
As a Life Coach I know that many relationship problems are the result of lack of communication skills, difficulty really listening to what each other are saying and the misunderstandings that result from this.
By improving your relationships you will improve the overall quality of your life.
Relationships are not always easy. It is important that you begin working on your relationship when you can see signs that things between you aren’t great. Do it before major issues take a toll on the relationship you’ve built with your partner. When the danger signals start to appear, the worst reaction is to push them off, to trivialise them and say they are unimportant.
Are you doing more complaining about it to others than actively working to change things? That’s what happens. People quit putting in effort. People moan, complain and bitch. People don’t do anything about it.
When was the last time you sat down to try and determine what the problem is? It’s up to you to question yourself to see where things are going wrong between you and your partner. Don’t just point your finger at them because you’ll always have three pointing back at you.
The first thing to do when things start going wrong is to take a sober and serious look at yourself. The natural tendency is to blame others, but blaming others and putting all of the fault for what has gone wrong on the other person is almost always unfair, inaccurate, wrong, and destructive. Anyone who sees themselves as being the victim of all that has transpired, and far beyond any criticism, is unlikely to make things better.
One must make a detached and objective analysis of their behaviour in the relationship. There are a number of questions that must be asked seriously, and must be answered with honesty and forthrightness. Have I been fair to my partner? Have I given my partner the attention that they deserve? Have I lived up to my responsibilities within the relationship? Have I gone out of my way to make my partner feel loved, appreciated, and respected? Have I shown in tangible ways how much my partner means to me? Have I taken the time to listen carefully to my partners concerns? Have I addressed my partners needs?
Frequently it is your communication style that is at the root of your relationship problems.
Have you ever felt that you and your partner must come from completely different planets? John Gray in his Book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus highlighted this situation. Communication differences between men and women often create stress and anxiety within relationships, often leading to misunderstandings and arguments.
Understanding the differences between how men and women think, speak and communicate, will effectively improve your personal relationships with those you love. Men and women interact and interpret things very differently, learning how to change your approach when conversing with the opposite sex, is of utmost importance for the stability and longevity of relationships.
Take a look at these and determine if any of them apply to you:
- Not listening – just waiting for your time to talk
- Only interested in yourself and your world
- Needy – always looking for a sympathetic ear
- Lack of awareness or anticipation of other’s needs
- Lack of honesty
- Unable to ask for what you want or need
- Not being yourself – creating a façade
- Being critical, sniping, using veiled barbs
- Being controlling or manipulative
- Using guilt to get your way
- Using tears or sadness to get your way
- Using aggression to get your way
- Being a victim
- Being negative
- Being a know-it-all
- Being competitive and constantly comparing
- Taking stress out on others
- Being moody, sulky or unpredictable
- Not being appreciative
- Trying too hard
Do you recognise any of these traits within yourself. Paying attention to your behaviour is so impoortant
In the process of reflecting on where and how things have gone wrong, it is also useful to look at when things started to go wrong. It could be a specific episode, an event, or even a non-event that triggered this downturn. Very often it is possible that one can pinpoint the moment of downturn in time, without being able to accurately describe the cause for the downturn. Pinpointing when it went wrong, why it went wrong, and how it went wrong, is therefore crucial to the rebuilding process. Admittedly, one can rebuild by forgetting what happened in the past; letting bygones be bygones and starting again. That can work, but it always invites the danger that whatever precipitated the original crisis might recur. It is better to try to find the cause of the problem, in order to avoid its repetition.
Getting down to the actual details of what is wrong may take you some time, but you may be able to sit down and figure out the big picture in a relatively short period, and this will help you to start getting things back on track.
But remember when you talk, be prepared to listen, and let yourself see things from their side too. Your relationship is worth fighting for, and getting things right. Don’t leave it too late.
“Love comes to those who still hope even though they’ve been disappointed, to those who still believe even though they’ve been betrayed, to those for whom love still heals, even though they’ve been hurt before.”
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Wow I tick all the boxes do i win a prize? super post Larry and in these stress filled times not a joking matter sadly.
So true what you write. The first look is within. If one cannot be honest within then how does one begin to be honest in any relationship. It is always easier to transfer the burden or blame onto the other and have them deal with the issue but in the long this very relationship will wither and die due to lack of Honesty and Sincerity.
We may still love but in due time those very words will loose their magic and charm.
As always Yogasavy an awesome comment. I hope everyone reads it. Thank you
Listening is vital, not only what your partner is saying but also what you say..
So true AG. We so often say things in the wrong way, they our partner hears not what we meant to say.
I’m crying…..please see and give me my way… Let’s communicate Larry….I’m here listening….talk to me……LOL…As always….XOXOXO
Bongo nothing will stop you or i blogging, putting our views, thoughts, feelings out there. We are always here, always talking, always listening … always wanting to help each other in any way we can
Have I gone out of my way to make my partner feel loved, appreciated and respected? Have I taken the time to listen….? Have I given my partner the attention that they deserve? All these questions are some of the common ones we fail to take notice of and reflect on ourselves… Oftentimes, relationships fail because of these… To be able to understand your partner’s flaws is also important. You must be able to accept his or her weaknesses and take pride of his or her strengths…. If ever I’m in a relationship, I also wish my partner to be open with me and to be able to express what they feel or how they feel for reassurance of each other’s feelings and ease out some doubts within…. Thank you Larry for this article….. 🙂
Okay Larry, I think I need to edit that part here: If ever I’m in a relationship, I also wish my partner to be open-minded and be able to express himself.(full stop)
I became long-winded that it resulted to so many mistakes and unnecessary inputs… GeeZ! I hated that… Sorry Larry, I ruined it….
Jorie it was/is an awesome reply. Thank you so much. We do need to ask those questions. Relationships are so important, but to often we treat each other as part of the furniture. Every business has an audit every year to make sure things are ok, so why not in our relationship. Ask the questions, find out if anythings wrong, and work on it.
Is it possible that if it seems one is trying too hard, then maybe they just aren’t giving what the other one needs and should therefore listen more, or the other is not being honest and is simply not interested?
JEAN. Whether we’re talking about our job, our family or even our social life, being able to be noticed and absorbed is crucial to our success and well being. Sometimes people hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. Maybe we just need to find common ground, a style that allows us to communicate and understand each other better. We may have doubts, suspicions in a relationship, where all that is at fault is we seem to speak foreign languages to each other
Hi Larry, first I love the opening quote by E.M. Forster, “One must be fond of people and trust them if one is not to make a mess of life.”
And your advice here is fabulous – all of it. Especially “paying attention to your behavior” and recognizing which traits belong to us (me). Valuable post!
Thank you Debra. It is so important that we find the time just taking a look at ourselves, asking some key questions.
Larry, this was an excellent post! Joel and I have been together for…ah, so long now I can’t remember the number of years. But, it always feels like we just met yesterday. We have always communicated openly, no matter how painful it is, we discuss it. We never go to sleep angry, and always remember the little things that each other enjoys. That is so important as lives get busier with children and jobs, that sometimes the little things are forgotten.
It’s also important to listen, and I mean actually listen, to what your partner is saying as well as choosing the right time to discuss sensitive matters. Sometimes, the timing can make or break a discussion.
Well, that is all I have to put in. Really enjoyed this one Larry. Good job!