Is your relationship or marriage on rocky ground or in danger of falling apart?
When it comes to saving your relationship, you may believe you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get things back on track, so you can be happy together again. Possibly, your partner feels the same way.
But how dedicated are you, really?
Do you just say that you’re dedicated, but your actions aren’t matching your words?
So many couples I’ve counseled would come to me for help, sometimes in desperation or as a last-resort effort.
They’d already spent hours and hours discussing their problems with each other, and were even willing to spend many more discussing them with me. They’d tell me what they wanted from their partner. They’d agree to make changes on their end.
They’d tell me (and their partner) how important their marriage is to them, and what they were willing to try.
But then I’d see them doing things or saying things that make me wonder, are they REALLY dedicated to change? Are they REALLY committed to making their marriage work?
They would say one thing, but do another. They would make promises, but fail to follow through.
The truth is, it’s not enough to say you’re committed to your partner. It’s not even enough to say you love your partner with all your heart, and that you’d do anything to stay together.
In order to have a successful, happy, loving relationship, your actions must match your intentions.
And that means, you have to have CONGRUENCE.
There’s a story that circulated on the internet once that I’m going to cite here to demonstrate the epitome of what can happen when you have congruence between intentions, values, and behavior.
It’s about a woman whose husband came to her and said, “I don’t love you anymore. I don’t want to be in this marriage and that’s final.”
The woman said to her husband, “I don’t believe you. You do what you have to do, but I’m going to keep my wedding vows.”
She told herself, regardless of what my husband decides in the next year, “I’m not going to go off and start dating, or file for divorce. I’m going to be true to my vows and my values within the confines of what life has given me.”
The husband moved to another part of the house for the first six months, during which time she didn’t see him hardly at all. Over the course of the second six months, he would come and go, and she would see him more often. But after about a year and a half she looked out the window one day and saw him mowing the lawn.
She thought to herself, “That doesn’t look like a man who doesn’t care anymore. He looks like he’s actually invested!”
She was right, and ultimately, they got back together.
Now, is this a one in a million example? Probably. The truth is, she held on to her values. She said she would be the best partner she could be, and she would demonstrate that with her behavior.
I know this story is a bit extreme, but it really speaks to the importance of congruence. Here’s why:
Not only will congruence guide you into doing the right thing for your relationship, but it will CLEARLY communicate to your partner that you are, in fact, deeply committed. When your partner can see your behavior as well as hear your words of devotion and commitment, they are more apt to be motivated in changing their own behavior, too.
Just like in the example above, when the man saw that his wife was quietly staying devoted to their wedding vows by not dating and not moving out, he really started to believe that she was, in fact, willing to do anything to keep the marriage intact.
Maybe that softened his resolve to leave and inspired him to give the relationship another chance. Maybe he realized he was more loved by his wife than he previously thought. Maybe he saw the value in being married to a person who was able to hold on to her values and commitment despite little encouragement and validation over the course of a year.
We don’t know. We can only speculate what transpired in the man’s mind in this story.
The point here is that you can hope and wish all you want for your relationship to heal and to have your partner act lovingly toward you, but if your actions aren’t in congruence with your intentions, you stand little hope of getting what you want.Heal Your Marriage
Imagine if this woman said she loved her husband and wanted to stay married, but began dating other men.
Or belittled her husband every chance she got, taking her anger and resentment out on him.
Her actions wouldn’t bring her husband closer, they would only fuel distrust, resentment, and disappointment.
She wouldn’t be in congruence, and the relationship would likely end for good.
How can you know if what you are saying and what you are intending is in congruence?
You can start by examining your behavior objectively, as if you were watching yourself on hidden camera.
What is your behavior communicating to your partner?
Is your behavior congruent, in line, with someone who loves their partner, is committed to the relationship, and dedicated to making it the best it can be?
Maybe you assume you’re doing the right things to nurture or heal your relationship, but in reality, you could be doing the complete opposite of what it takes to make a relationship work.
Compare the actions you’re taking every day with this checklist of love-affirming, connection-building actions. Would your partner agree that:
How did you do? Do you see yourself as being congruent with what you say you want in your relationship, or do you see that you need to work on how you behave around your partner?
If you conclude that you need to work on it, I have something I know will help you do just that.
What can you do to put your intentions into congruence with your actions and what you hope to experience in your marriage or relationship?
Do you know what tells your partner “I love you” more than anything else?
These are GREAT questions, that I’ve spent 40 years researching in order to find the best answers for couples.
I’ve reviewed countless relationship studies and literature on what kinds of behavior predicts longevity and happiness in relationships. But it was only when the research findings matched my clinical experience with real people, that I really paid close attention to what I was uncovering.
Once I’d collected what I considered the most effective, highest-value skills and tools for creating a resilient, happy relationship, I put it all together into my video program, Wake Up In A New Marriage.
Throughout the program, I ask you to contemplate heuristic questions. “Heuristic” means they are designed to teach you something just by reading and contemplating the question. In Class 4, I’ll ask you 5 questions that will make it crystal clear to you what is missing from your actions and behavior, if you want to be in congruence and make your relationship work.
The program will also reveal many simple but powerful strategies that will help you reconnect with your partner and therefore heal whatever relationship issues you’re experiencing right now.
If you have a lot of “problems,” and have spent a lot of emotional energy trying to solve these problems, this program will help you, not by eliminating your problems, but by showing you how to stay in love and connected DESPITE your problems. When you’re deeply in love and devoted to each other, you’ll be able to get through just about anything, and your problems will cease to feel so overwhelming.
If you love your partner but have grown apart, this program can show you how to rebuild intimacy, spark passion, and revitalize your communication skills. You’ll learn how to tune into and “show up” for your partner, so that you’re not just hoping for a better marriage, you’re doing the things that actually CREATE a better marriage.
Step-by-step, day-by-day, you can make progress toward a more loving, more fulfilling love. I can show you how here:How to Reconnect
Good intentions are certainly helpful if you want your relationship to be close and to last a lifetime.
But you must also be congruent with your words, behavior, and actions, otherwise all you’re doing is indulging in wishful thinking.
Wishing and hoping will only get you so far. I’m glad to be able to get you the rest of the way there.
May you have an extraordinary day,
P.S. When you want to improve your relationships, it’s always easier to add positives than take away negatives. What does that mean? That means that instead of focusing on eliminating problems, or getting your partner to stop doing something, it’s better to focus on building a loving connection, so that the negatives just dissolve—effortlessly and over time.
Don’t be stuck in a no-win situation with your partner because of an issue you just can’t seem to solve. Try this different approach through the skills you’ll learn in my video program—and watch your love blossom.Add These Positives