Your relationship is not what you imagined it to be. Not even close.
You thought you had found the one person to spend the rest of your life with, but now this is feeling more like a sentence than a celebration.
The passion that swept you up in the beginning has fallen flat.
Your partner seems more interested in cuddling with his phone than he does with you.
If you have kids, life has become a matter of getting through the day. Sometimes, you feel like two ships crossing in the night.
You try to voice your complaints, but they’re met with either disbelief, defensiveness, or dismissal.
You know that you can’t keep the euphoria of initial courtship going forever, but surely settling into a relationship isn’t supposed to feel like this?
You look at other couples around you.
Other friends do seem to have it better—you notice the couple who still holds hands, and you wonder if your problems are really that bad after all.
But you have to admit that most people have marriages you’d never trade with, and you wonder if your problems are really that bad after all.
Should you just be grateful for what you have?
If you have a pattern of ultimately feeling dissatisfied in your relationships, it’s natural to think that the problem is you.
You wonder to yourself:
Maybe I’ll never be satisfied, no matter whom I’m with.
Maybe I just can’t deal with real life after the honeymoon is over.
Maybe I’m asking for too much, and so nobody will ever be able to live up to it.
Maybe I simply don’t know how to make relationships work.
Perhaps you’ve even heard sentiments like these from previous partners, leading you to conclude that maybe you really are asking for too much and that you should just get with the program.
That you should learn to shut up and put up.
Well, I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that you aren’t asking for too much. The bad news is that you’ve been asking for the wrong things.
But once you know what to ask for and how to ask for it, you’ll experience a level of relationship satisfaction you never thought was possible for you.
My clients often think they’re asking too much from their relationship.
But this is far from the truth. In fact, most often, they’re usually asking too little.
Talk to almost every successful couple, and you’ll usually hear them say:
“He makes me a better person,” or “She makes me a better man.”
If a relationship is doing its job, it’s making us ALL better people.
If you’re too rigid, and you reject your partner’s request to be more flexible, how do you feel good about yourself?
If you only base the health of your relationship on the way you’re feeling, how can you expect your partner to do otherwise?
And if you’re not willing to receive guidance from your partner, why are you in a relationship anyway?
You’re doing everyone a favor when you require your mate to be a better partner and when you make a stand for a better relationship.
When relationship stress goes down, so does overall personal stress. When your relationship is on solid footing and you don’t have to worry about it, you both have much more time and energy to focus on other things in life.
And when your partner knows you are always expecting the best out of her, it completely re-orients her thinking so that she makes conscious choices about how she wants to show up in the world.
Of course, you have to be willing to change as well.
No other venue will require you to grow into the person you’re supposed to be.
The key is learning what to ask for and how to ask for it.
When you’ve tried and tried to make things better in your relationship, you will experience burn out. You’ll wonder if the effort is even worth it.
This is the point where couples either bolt (only to experience the same or similar problems with the next partner) or they resign themselves to a “less than” relationship.
What they don’t realize is that the solution has been under their noses all along.
After working with thousands of couples for the past 40+ years, I know that most couples are asking for the wrong thing in their relationship.
They think they know what their issues are, but they don’t realize that these issues are only symptoms of one or two bigger foundational problems in their relationship system.
This is why they can spend a lifetime having the same fights over and over again and feeling perpetually dissatisfied.
Whether it’s about saving and spending, not having enough sex, division of household chores, or just making time for each other—most couples will never reach a point of agreement.
It’s like trying to fix the heater in your home without winterizing your windows. No matter how good the heater and how high you crank it, cold air will find its way in.
If it’s feeling drafty in your relationship, that’s not a sign that you can never be satisfied. It’s a sign that you should ask for more.
We all know what romance and courtship is supposed to look like. But what we don’t know is how to STAY in love and live “happily ever after”.
Once the high of falling in love wears off and couples settle into predictable routines, they’re sitting ducks for certain relationship pitfalls.
These pitfalls cause couples to end focusing on the wrong, superficial factors in their relationships while ignoring the deeper system that keeps relationships going strong.
As long as you keep your attention geared on the superficial factors, resentment and dissatisfaction gradually take the place of love and fulfillment.
On the surface, the issues don’t seem superficial at all. Lack of passion, feeling taken for granted, and constant criticism feel like serious issues for any couple.
But what you’re failing to see is that these are merely symptoms of a much deeper imbalance in the relationship system.
When you switch to focusing on the system and making positive changes from that place, everything changes.
When I would explain all this to couples who would come to me for counseling, most were surprised—shocked, even!
So much of the time, partners are afraid to rock the boat, or ask for much of anything. They don’t want to be viewed by their partner as perpetually dissatisfied or difficult to please.
I say, be MORE difficult, not LESS.
It was a huge “AHA” for them.
They finally see WHY what their relationship wasn’t as vital, supportive, or as resilient as they wanted it to be. They simply hadn’t demanded enough of each other, or known what to ask for or how to ask for it.
Once I showed them what their underlying issues were, and how to become better partners for each other, their happiness and connection soared.
That’s why I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost all couples can benefit from the clinically-proven, research-based principles on how to strengthen and revitalize their love.
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The dissatisfaction you’ve been feeling within you is not a sign that you’re defective or deficient. It’s an indicator that there really is so much more possible for you and your partner.
May you have an extraordinary day,