Just a reminder to those of you who may be having a difficult time in your relationship. Over the years in my role of Family Mediator, when working with couples going through the divorce process to divide up their property and assets, I would come across some couples who clearly still loved and cared for each other, and it struck me as tragic that here was a family which had broken up, often simply because the couple involved did not know how to change their situation. They concluded erroneously, I believe, that since they couldn’t find a way to change their situation, that it couldn’t be changed.
Most couples go through a period of huge growth at the beginning of their relationship, by firstly, becoming a couple, secondly, setting up a home and thirdly, creating and raising a family, but this takes a great toll on their resources in terms of time, energy and money. Not only do they become depleted, they often also stop growing, which in itself creates a feeling of dissatisfaction akin to loneliness, and thoughts of “Is this it?” They are like plants that have been kept in a small pot for too long, they become pot-bound, and desperately in need of space, sun and water.
Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, they cast about to determine what is the cause of their malaise, and usually finish up blaming each other instead of becoming allies. It is usually the case that because of their life stage, the individuals involved have either been working very hard for promotion, or been kept busy with child rearing and perhaps holding down a job as well. Without realising it they have become disconnected, and in fact, this is one of the main sources of their feelings of dissatisfaction and loneliness.
At this stage, the unhappy feelings and propensity to blame each other for them, lead to unsuccessful attempts to resolve matters, with the words “we need to talk” becoming dreaded more and more. Couples get onto this treadmill, and eventually get so worn out and despondent by going around in circles, that they decide that divorce is the only way out of the impasse.
If they can both stand back, stop blaming each other long enough to take stock and re-connect as a couple, both committed to their marriage and to each other, this can have a stabilising effect. It is most beneficial, if they can each make this intention explicit to each other.
The secret then, is to STOP focusing on what is wrong or problematic, and to clarify for themselves and each other how would they like their relationship and marriage to be. This is a time to make time for themselves as a couple, away from the children, to not just talk to each other, but to have generative conversations with each other. This means really listening with a view to gaining a heartfelt understanding of each other. It also means recognising that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and that couple relationships and families need to be nurtured with the nutrients of time, talk and touch.
From this position of re-connectedness, solidarity and alignment you can flesh out a couple vision for the future which hopefully can also support individual visions. Allow yourselves to dream dreams of the lives you would like to create for yourself and as a couple, and share these with each other. It is also a good idea to consider developing your individual relational skills such as assertiveness and communication and educate yourself about the many ways relationships can grow and develop over time. Another really useful thing to do is to invest in a few sessions with a qualified Relationship Coach.
To buy my E-book “Mend It Don’t End It” click here http://relationshipacademy.co.uk/e-books/
Wishing you Love