Marianne Williamson, spiritual teacher, says all our behavior is either an expression of love or a cry for love. Take a moment to consider that.
The last argument you had with your partner-your behavior represented an expression of or a cry for love. Your partner’s behavior also was an expression of or cry for love. Will you pause for a moment and try to discern what was going on?
Story: The last fight I had with my husband was about shoveling goat droppings. Let me explain. There was an old building that had been used to house goats. This building was going to be used for training and it had to be cleaned out. He thought he’d have his team to help, but circumstances didn’t allow. He felt compelled to go forward with the clean up and I disagreed. It ended up getting a little heated until I realized it wasn’t my choice. My anger about the situation was actually an expression of love for him. I didn’t want him to do the job with minimal help. The way I actually expressed myself didn’t sound like love. It sounded a like anger.
How do you express or cry for love? Speaking a more honest message to your partner means that your message has a better chance of getting heard. (Isn’t being heard the whole purpose of communication?)
Recognizing good intentions behind your partner’s behavior is a sign you want to know them more. We all want to be loved, understood and known. When you show you see deeper into your partner’s motivation, they begin to trust you and feel they can be more vulnerable.
Sometimes don’t we assume the worst of our partner? What if you assumed the best? What if you assumed your partner is expressing or crying out for love? Assuming the best about your partner will improve your relationship and you’ll feel better about your partner too.
How would your relationship be different if you looked at your partner’s behavior with curiosity about how they were expressing or asking for love?
What if you actually shared your expression of or cry for love with your partner rather than hiding it with anger or some other emotion?
Tell me in the comments below.
Research into emotions has shown that fear is the most powerful emotion. We’re biologically wired to fight, flee or freeze when fear activates us. That activation occurs outside of the rational functioning of the brain.
For example: We see a coiled up garden hose; our fear response is activated automatically before we discern that it is not a snake.
Our fear is also activated by emotional triggers. A situation holds a ghost of a past experience and our subconscious recalls, then reacts in a like fashion. This may represent learning that’s not appropriate for the current situation.
Recognizing fear takes some self awareness. If you’re having an uncomfortable feeling whether you call it anger, annoyance, anxiety or fear, take a closer look at it. Ask the 5 whys.
For example: I’m feeling angry at my partner right now. Why? Because I wanted him to stay home tonight. Why does that matter? Because him staying home means I enjoy his company. Why does that matter? Because for us to be close, we need to spend enjoyable time together. Why does that matter? I want us to be close so that I feel safe and secure. Why does that matter? I don’t like to feel rejected.
You can find out lots of interesting things about your thoughts and feelings by playing this game with your emotions.
Fear triggers much of our discomfort in relationships. It may be demonstrated by anxiety, withdrawal, anger or shutting down. All of these responses are more likely to put distance between you and your partner. Fear can be very damaging or it can be a tool for growth.
Sharing our fears makes us the most vulnerable and connected with our partners. It gives our partner the most honest view of us. It allows our partner to soothe and comfort us. Not only does that feel good, it makes us stronger as a couple.
Don’t let fear stand between you and your partner. What fear can you share today? If you don’t feel safe, then start small until you’re sure your partner can hear and respond.
What is your greatest fear in your relationship? Let me know in the comments below.
If you practice continuous improvement (and I think you should!), then you have the ability to turn this around slowly but surely. If the truth is-I'm a size 14, or I'm so unhappy I could cry, or I'm so angry, I could scream-then doesn't it serve your relationship with yourself best to be honest about how you feel?
In the quest for personal improvement, you can shift to a statement that is still true, but less emotionally charged. So instead of I'm a size 14, you say, "Right now, I'm a size 14 and I'm making healthy choices (if you are!) to change that."
Instead of I'm so unhappy I could cry, try "I'm very unhappy at this moment and I'll try to smile instead of cry."
Instead of I'm so angry I could scream, try "I'm very upset right now and another feeling will be along soon."
Each of these corrections subtly changes the energy of the statement. It doesn't make it any less true, just less harsh.
Play around with this. Employ that deep, inner knowing we all have. If you go too far with your correction, your gut will tell you so. It won't feel right. When you have it just right, you will know.
Let me explain further: Instead of saying I'm so unhappy I could cry, you might start with the opposite-I'm so happy I could dance and sing. Right away, you know this isn't right. Bring it down a bit: I'm so happy I could just smile. Yes? No? Try, I'm unhappy and I'll laugh anyway. Closer? Try this: I'm unhappy and I'll smile instead of cry. This might finally feel "right" or "true". Less emotional charge, so small improvement.
Practice truth telling with yourself. The more honest you can be, the better trust and confidence you'll have in YOU! That works better than any positive affirmation in the world!
If you have questions, I want to help. Email me, post in the forum, or check out my packages. I'll send you my five favorite relationship tips if you go here.
Continuously getting to know each other is one of the best relationship builders.
Most relationships begin with a high level of love, hope and commitment, a promise of joys to come. Convinced they will spend the rest of their lives together; several years later a civil conversation does not exist.
Why? What happens to erode the dreams after a few years? Relationships occur in cycles as everything in nature. Periods of closeness alternate with periods of distance. Growth is an expanding process, painful by its very nature. Research confirms that fighting is a sign of health in relationships. The process of fighting is the part that is detrimental or constructive.
Positive communication can improve a relationship and even breathe new life into a relationship that is considered beyond repair. Learning to communicate in a way that is direct, honest and non-judgmental will make even a break up more bearable!
I know your partner definitely needs to learn this! BUT the only person in the world you truly control is yourself. If you truly deal with your own behavior, I’m sure you will be kept busy! A commitment to change takes effort, introspection and willingness. The reward can be a level of intimacy only previously dreamed of.
This site is a collection of articles designed to help you and your partner build a more fulfilling relationship. If you like what you read here and would like to go deeper, try a package. Email me a question or connect over at the forum. Connect to the relationship of your dreams.
Self care is possibly our most vital life skill. There is a lot of struggle around this, especially……dare I say it……for women. Many of us very naturally nuture other people, but give ourselves the short end of the stick! Have you ever gotten annoyed because your partner goes to the gym after work while you pick up kids and cook dinner? Your partner knows how to take care of themselves! Beginning a practice of self care begins with a simple, yet daunting step. Stop and check in with yourself. Don’t resist! There are good reasons to do it.
Everyone needs to be taken care of. Your self care has to be a priority FOR YOU. It’s not on anyone else’s list! It’s wonderful when others do things to take care of us, but it isn’t their obligation. Self check ins let us know if we’re shirking our responsibility.
That self check can teach you so much about yourself. You’ll discover fascinating things about your reactions to events and people around you. Anytime you have a prickly feeling, it’s a good time for a self check in.
More importantly, if you don’t check in with yourself, how do you know what you need? Do you go around making assumptions about what people around you need? Bad habit! For others and for you. To be responsive to yourself, get to know YOU.
Story: A while back, I had a really busy month. I had family visiting one weekend, a family event one weekend, and a trip with friends another weekend. All these experiences seemed like great self care activities when I planned them and I was looking forward to them. Strangely, I noticed that after each one, I felt a little dissatisfied, not connected in a way that I expected. The next week, I had to take a 6 hour drive for a training class. An hour into the drive, I was feeling so elated I couldn’t ignore it. I checked in with myself and I noted, I hadn’t spent any alone time in over a month! I had been missing that! What are you missing?
If you don’t make self care your priority, no one else will. Beginning to check in, acknowledge and honor your needs is a huge deal.
I’m issuing a challenge. Stop right now and check in with yourself. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and shift from head to heart. What does your small, still voice say? Tell me in the comments below.
Deliberately choosing a path and finding the motivation to stay on it is a challenge. This presentation give you a little trick to build your motivation. Good luck!
If you decide you need more help, reach out by email, on theforum or try a coaching package. Get 5 videos of my favorite relationship tips here.
Wishing you a winning relationship,
John Gottman is the nation’s leading relationship researcher, spending the past 40 years intimately studying couples, their interactions and the long term success of their relationships. The great thing about this type of science is we can use it to guide beahviors and replicate the results of the studies.
The ratio of 5:1 was identified spontaneously through Gottman’s research and it can help you improve your own relationship quite easily. This may seem a little daunting at first.....and it can be quite daunting.
Do you notice a significant number of negative interactions in your relationship? Then I urge you to play this little game right away.
This is a competition with yourself. Don't focus on what your partner does or doesn't do. I know they all need to change. You've got enough to keep up with yourself though, I promise you! So, if you're up for it, this is how you play:
When you say something mean to your partner, say 5 nice things [one negative=5 positives]. If you leave your socks on the floor, do 5 tasks that your partner usually does. Some suggestions for positive actions are listed below.
Once you know, you can't un-know.
Notice when the negative interactions happen. It doesn't matter if they deserved it. It doesn't matter if they did something to you first. If you recognize there is a repair to be made for each of your negative interactions, you'll be less prone to act or speak without thinking.
Play of the Day: Use the magic ratio for one day. This one 'play' is a game changer! Let's talk about the differences it makes for you. Come on over to the forum and chat it up.
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Suggestions for positive interactions:
1. Do a load of laundry if you're not the one who usually does it.
2. Tell your partner something you're proud of about them.
3. Vacuum the carpet if you're not the one who usually does it.
4. Walk by your partner and give them a quick hug around the shoulders.
5. Pick up your partner's favorite candy bar and bring it home.
6. Take the kids to the park if you're not the primary caregiver.
7. Clean the toilet if you're not the one that usually does it.
8. Bring your partner a cup of coffee/beer/glass of wine.
9. Text your partner just to say I love you.
10. Plan a dinner or movie date and let your partner know.
11. Tell your partner something you appreciate about them.
12. Have sex when your partner wants to.
13. Make your partner's favorite dish.
14. Bring your partner a flower out of the garden (or the neighbor's).
15. Tell your partner what made you fall in love with them.
16. Compliment one of your partner's special abilities.
17. Tell 5 of your friends something you think is special about your partner.
18. Write a sweet or funny note to your partner and hide it somewhere they will find it.
19. If you have children, tell them something you like about your partner.
20. Give your partner a 6 second kiss.
21. Hold your partner's hand while they are talking to you.
22. Stop your partner and look into their eyes for 5 seconds.
23. Stop what you're doing and just listen to your partner attentively.
24. Give your partner oral sex.
25. Take your partner's car to be detailed.
26. Ask your partner to take a walk with you after dinner.
27. Offer to help with the dishes if you don't usually do them.
28. Ask your partner an intimacy building question and then shut up.
29. Plant a tree in your partner's honor.
30. Ask your partner if there's anything you can do for them.
31. Weed the garden if you don't usually do it.
32. Watch your spouse's favorite TV show with them.
33. Give your spouse a shoulder/foot/hand massage.
34. When you or your spouse come home, go right away to your partner and give them a hug and a kiss.
35. Do a radio dedication during a time your partner will be listening.
36. Gas your partner's car up.
37. Buy them an Amazon (or other store) gift card.
Enjoy being positive with each other!
While at first checking in with yourself challenges all our will, it does get easier. Practice when making a decision today. Ask yourself: Am I coming from a place of love for my partner? Am I coming from a place of love for myself? Do you get a gut check around either of those questions?
If your gut says you're on the right track, ask these questions: Is my decision based on wanting to change something about my partner? If yes, you're not coming from a loving place. Will I be resentful about making this choice? If yes, you're not coming from a loving place.
Remember, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.... 1 Corinthians 13:4.
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