Does it really take two to tango?
Yes and no.
A strong lead can help even the most amateur partner feel that learning the moves is possible. A weak lead will do just the opposite.
The same goes for relationships. Yes, it does take two people to have one, but if just one person is leading strongly and confidently, the couple will eventually master the dance of relationship.
That’s why, if you’re feeling that your relationship is not moving the way you want it to, I want you to know that you have more power than you think to turn things around.
It’s true…even if your partner isn’t dancing his or her part, even if you really wish he or she would just change.
And it’s actually much easier than learning the tango.
One of the most powerful ways to transform your relationship all by yourself is by noticing the negative thoughts you have about your partner and then changing them to positive thoughts.
There are several reasons you should try this.
First, thinking negative thoughts is stressful—to you. It just doesn’t feel good to have negative thinking—it wears you down, puts you in a bad mood, and can interfere with your sleep.
Second, negative thoughts are actually contagious. One study had two rows of people walking in opposite directions. One row was instructed to think negative thoughts. The researchers found that just walking past someone thinking negative thoughts was enough to negatively affect the other person. This is why living with someone who’s negative is stressful.
The only way to stop negative feelings is to be pro-actively positive. How you think about your partner affects your relationship. It’s also less stressful to think positive thoughts, so why not do it for yourself and your relationship?
There’s another important reason you want to change your thinking about your partner…
John Gottman, the famed relationship researcher, has said that the greatest predictor of divorce is contempt. Here’s my definition of contempt: being wired for negative. In essence, you have decided something about your partner, and it’s not good.
Have you made up your mind that your partner is inconsiderate, mean, stingy, obsessive, incapable? Are you convinced everything is their fault or that they have some character flaw you find absolutely intolerable?
“I don’t even feel like you like me” is something I sadly often hear from couples.
What has happened in every one of these situations is that the person has let negative thoughts about their partner run rampant. They’ve ignored what their partner is doing right and focused exclusively on what’s wrong.
Then the mind keeps looking for reasons to justify the negative thinking. Before you know it, you’re on a deathly downward spiral.
To get out of this quicksand, and quickly, you need to re-orient to a positive mindset. Here’s one way to do that:
Gottman also found that every relationship has about 10 problems they can’t fix. That’s right—even truly happy couples have certain issues that never go away.
What’s more, if one of those problems gets fixed, another one tends to pop up: a child will be creating stress, a parent needs extra care, finances take a hit.
Without this statistic, you may think that the problems in your relationship mean you’re in a bad relationship. You may think that if you have an issue with your partner, it means there’s something wrong with him or her or that you don’t belong together.
But what if you took the positive perspective and realized that, perhaps, the issues you have with your partner are par for the course with having an intimate relationship. What if, instead, you choose to look more closely at the ways your partner rings your bell?
When we understand that problems are normal, our problems don’t need to be omens for failure. They aren’t “dooming us” to unhappiness or putting us on the road to divorce. Instead, they are just part of being a couple.
More importantly, they don’t need to feel so frustrating or painful, if the connection between us is strong.
When you learn to focus on the positives, connection strengthens between you and your partner, and things that once bothered you aren’t even such a big deal anymore.
This kind of positive thinking separates couples who make it from those who don’t. Even after challenges and conflict, they’re able to find the gold in their partners, and this in turn allows the good feelings to override the negative ones. In other words, they’re actively re-orienting their minds to what’s right in their partners. Positive thinking becomes a habit—even despite friction—and this is what makes their relationship fulfilling.
If you like how your relationship is going, don’t do anything differently. But if you want things to be better, you alone can create more change than you can imagine.
A relationship is like a rubber band.
If one person creates tension, it affects the entire relationship. One person can make the relationship tense, one can make it relaxed, and when one person leaves, then—like a snap of a rubber band—it hurts.
This is where your power comes in. If one person moves in the direction of the other, it relaxes the relationship.
Doesn’t it feel so good when your partner moves toward you?
If you’re willing to be that person, and begin by changing your thoughts about your partner, you really can wake up in a brand new relationship.
I know that changing your thoughts about your partner can feel impossible when there has been so much pain—and when there might even be evidence that your partner behaved in ways that may have warranted your negative feelings.
But again, no relationship is without challenges. The couples you’ll meet in my program, Wake Up In A New Marriage, can attest to that. You’ll hear from partners who have weathered dark moments that could have broken them, but they’ve learned that by re-orienting their thinking to the positive, they’ve healed the pain and created an unshakable connection.
I’ll take you step-by-step through finding the positive in your partner—and expressing it, too. You’ll see why staying positive about each other is key in repairing, maintaining, and strengthening your connection—and in keeping contempt out of your bond.
It’s all part of what I call “showing up” for your relationship. Showing up means being committed not just to being there for your partner physically, but being committed to finding the good in him or her. This is what everyone wants in their relationship. Without it, tension and growing apart are sure to follow.
But when even one person commits to showing up, then like the rubber band, the entire relationship moves in a new direction:Wake Up In A New Marriage
When you commit to stepping up and leading with positive thoughts, you dance your relationship to a whole new level.
May you have an extraordinary day,
P.S. One person alone can make a real difference in a relationship.
When both people are working at it, you go from ordinary to extraordinary. My program Wake Up In A New Marriage teaches you everything I’ve learned, over the last 40 years, about creating lifelong love.Extraordinary Love Awaits You