Finding a life partner is an interesting journey.
How many of you have found yourself in a relationship that no longer serves both partners to its fullest potential or, even worse, is negatively impacting your well being, their well being and perhaps even those around you? We’ve worked with couples around the globe and have found that the challenges we face in relationships are largely universal. Here is an open-ended list of the top mistakes we find couples making in relationships.
Clarity is key. You can’t fix something if you don’t know what you’re fixing.
Do any of these prompt resonance with you in your own relationships?
#1 Thinking you can change the other person
As great as it is to recognize the potential in the other, let them have their own experience! There’s a fine line between supporting the other person’s growth and bullying them into your way of seeing things. A truly effective way of creating an atmosphere of expansion and growth is to focus on the changes you can make inside of yourself to become a greater version of yourself and, as a result, inspire the other to follow suit. This will save you a whole lot of frustration that comes with focusing on what you believe the other needs to change.
#2 Trying to be the person you think the other wants you to be
Of course you want to be considerate of the needs and desires of your loved ones… but does that give you the right to be inauthentic? By allowing yourself to own your desires and live your values, you are setting an example for how you want to be treated. Be real, speak your truth in a compassionate way (we have a tool for this at the end of this blog post), and accept you will never please everyone. Follow your heart: Those who matter, will understand. Those who don’t, don’t matter. (<– Click to Tweet)
#3 Seeing yourself as inferior or superior towards the other
Check in on your own self worth, and be brutally honest to yourself. Where are you not owning your Divine self, your unlimited potential? What you admire in others are the very traits you are now owning enough in yourself. And what you despise in others, are reflections of parts of you that you are unwilling to recognize in yourself. Perception is projection, friends. Once you learn to accept and love your light and shadow sides, you can not only heal limiting patterns but also expand your ability to love.
#4 Taking the other person’s behavior personally
As personal as it may sound: it’s not. Remember: Perception is projection. It’s a choice to feel offended by another person’s words or behavior. This doesn’t mean we need to agree with everything another does, but we don’t need to make it personal. That person is just trying to get their needs met. Maybe not in the most loving or graceful or smart way – but that’s what they’re attempting. And, you just happen to be at the other end to receive the projection of their reality. You can take the emotional edge off by telling yourself a more empowering narrative the next time someone insults you. That angry, frustrated person venting at you is struggling… feeling pain. How could you respond in a powerful way? Learning to master the 4 Steps of Compassionate Communication (below is a free cheat sheet get you started) will support you in expressing yourself with honesty and allow you to help others tell you what is happening with them. This creates a positive atmosphere for conflict resolution.
#5 Not taking enough ME time
How are you going to be a force for good, a channel of love and light when your reserves are depleted and you feel worn out or frazzled? Taking time to replenish your reservoirs of energy with self care is essential if you want to live a healthy, loving relationship. All humans have the same basic needs, and it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re getting them met in the most loving, joyful and graceful way. By nurturing yourself in a healthy and pleasurable way, you are filling up your vessel and have so, so much more to give and share. Make a commitment to yourself to spend at least 20 minutes every day engaging in a loving activity for yourself.
#6 Taking life and yourself too seriously
LTFU! Yes, I mean what you read. Lighten the eff up, friends! Life is a journey you signed up for – a game to play… what if you came to learn how to love at the deepest level possible? Wouldn’t you want to enjoy yourself while you experience the glory of human nature in all its facets and share what you’ve learnt with others in the most loving and joyful way? When you stop seeing life as something that’s happening to you, a war to win… and learn to smile in the face of challenges, knowing you are just receiving an amazing opportunity to grow and expand your abilities, your whole life will go to next level. Really. Next time you feel triggered, anxious or stressed, remember you have a choice! How you respond to the challenge determines the outcome. So instead of just “reacting”, give yourself the gift of a Power Move to manage your state and come from a place of power and connection instead of stress. The Switch, developed by my husband, Dr. Roy Martina, takes less than a minute to do and has literally saved lives!
#7 Not owning your desires
It’s fascinating how much effort we can expend to suppress our heart’s desires by telling ourselves we are unworthy or incapable of manifesting them. What if you used that same energy of thought into creating what you really want? “When our focus is on pleasing others in order to be okay, we neglect our own desires and needs. Often we end up feeling frustrated and under-appreciated. We start to begrudge those we’re trying so hard to please. But we are the ones putting on the pressure, not the people we begrudge.” (“How to Use Your Intuition to Change Your Life”, Dr. Joy Martina, Amazon Bestseller)
#8 Being unwilling to compromise in the name of love
Accept that most things won’t go exactly as you planned, and you’ll be a much happier person. Our stubbornness and attachment to HOW we think things should go can cause a lot of the frustration. Setting our goals with confidence and accepting that there will be detours and delays on the way (as change really is the only constant in life) and learning to exert behavioral adaptability will allow us to experience more flow and grace in life. Next time you feel in conflict with another person’s needs, take the time to check in with yourself (do The Switch to create a neutral state first!) and ask an empowering question:
- What is the most loving thing I can do for myself now?
- How can I gracefully create the space for cooperation and collaboration to find creative solutions?
- Why is it so easy for me to support the best outcome that’s aligned with the higher good?
#9 Not having clear agreements
Stop making assumptions. You have no idea what’s going on inside the other person’s head and heart… But still we all make SO. MANY. assumptions on a daily level because it’s how our (lazy) brain is able to make quick decisions that our survival can depend on. The beauty of being a human is that we have the ability to communicate our needs, desires and thoughts to each other in many different ways. We often teach the Love Languages as part of our trainings and especially when working with couples to support clear, compassionate communication and the free flow of love within relationships. An essential part of every healthy relationship is to get clear on the values and agreements you are both saying yes to. The clearer we are about what we are committing to, the more we are setting each other up for success. Far too often, we just tumble into relationships without ever getting clear on what either side’s expectations and needs are to feel fulfilled.
Our Tip: Make your next ‘Date Night’ the starting point for a playful conversation around agreements. What are your “musts” to feel safe and loved in a relationship, and where are you willing to stretch your boundaries? Take your time! These agreements are an evolving document. Don’t expect to find total clarity in the first session, and enjoy finding out more about yourself and the other along the way.
We suggest you also discuss creating a “safe word” to use in emergency situations. When this word is used, you both agree that everything stops and you both take a time out. Best is to agree on any unusual word you will remember that let’s the other know ”Stop! Enough! I need a break!”
Having this word in place, saved Roy and me many embarrassing and painful moments (especially in public situations) as it gave us the ability to “pull the plug” and deflate a potential disaster by taking breath and reconvening when the fire has died down.
#10 Not being willing to forgive
Holding on to anger and grudge only harms YOU. Stop poisoning yourself with repetitive negative thoughts around all the old stories of wrong doing and unfairness. Instead be willing to release past pain and see the painful experiences as opportunities for growth. Practicing radical forgiveness sets you free to live the life you were meant to be.
#11 Not having a vision for your relationship
You set financial goals, career goals, make travel plans… why not also create a vision for your relationship? Our brains need a clear goal of what we are going for to be successful in manifesting our dreams and desires. Additionally our unconscious mind (the biggest part of your brain that is actually running the show) thinks in pictures and feeds on emotions… so creating a visual representation of your life, and especially of your ideal relationship, helps you stay aligned with what you want and manifest your desires faster.
Our Tip: Make a vision board for your relationship and hang it in your bedroom. I love thrift shopping for big, fancy picture frames and glueing in a cork background to pin my favorite images on to for this purpose. But of course any poster paper
covered with inspiring pictures and slogans you cut out from magazines will do.
#12 No longer being curious
Curiosity might have killed the cat but in a relationship you never want to stop being curious about the other. Boredom is the #1 passion killer. Keep finding ways to surprise yourself and significant other. Stretch into your discomfort zone every once in a while by trying out new activities, even if it’s just taking a bubble bath together and listening to each others favorite tunes.
Like I said, this is an open-ended list. I suspect there are many more mistakes we could add to the list. If you have anything to add, let us know in the comments. Additionally, share with us the ways you’ve overcome these mistakes in your relationships.
As promised, here is that critical tool we’ve been telling you about developed by psychologist, Marshall Rosenberg, PhD, that we teach in many of our workshops including our upcoming Ignite Your Flame Retreat in Asheville, NC in February of 2019. Compassionate communication allows us to develop a skill in our relationship so that we begin COMMUNICATING rather than just talking.