Commitment makes the difference in a loving relationship, because loving relationships are not easy. The story that Hollywood has sold us is not real. Loving relationships open us up in a way that is beautiful, but at the same time this openness also presents a new challenge, we are exposed and very vulnerable to being hurt, and our deepest wounds are often brought up to the surface. Although this is a challenge, it presents an opportunity to heal. I suggest the purpose of a loving relationship is to help us to heal from our wounds.
Escaping through the Rational Mind
The most common issue I find in loving relationships is called disassociation clinically. This is choosing to move more toward the rational mind because our partner has said this, or that, or we are feeling uncomfortable in the relationship. But the rational mind is not the place you want to be in your loving relationship, you need to bring presence and the heart to your relationship, otherwise you cannot connect. Most couples go to their rational mind as a means to escape deeper aspects of what is actually going on in their body, but also heart to heart communication is not taught at school.
If you are in your rational mind in your relationship, this analysis of your partner or relationship is a defense to a degree, or an attempt to move off of uncomfortable feelings. Reactive communication has little enjoyment to it in a loving relationship, it does not feel safe, it does not feed you, you have an elevated stress response and if it is not resolved the relationship can move to greater levels of communication reactivity, eg. disagreements, arguments and fighting, none of which are enjoyable.
Attacking with Words or Actions
If you are attacking your loving partner, or even someone online, it is an attempt to move off of some uncomfortable, painful emotion or feeling that has control over you, an emotion running through your body. Even perceived righteousness is self-absorbed. But the body is very powerful, so when we get emotionally triggered it can be very difficult to calm down and act kindly or rationally. Upset and anger are not easily calmed down by the rational mind, they take time to leave the body. But remember attacking your partner or someone online really has no use, it will not resolve anything long-term. It is just discharging your feelings. If our partner or someone says something we don’t like that we personalize, we need greater levels of emotional mastery before we respond. We need greater levels of emotional and relationship intelligence, so we can respond maturely with communication, but we are all learning about this at this time I suggest, me too sometimes.
Invest in your Relationship
What do I mean by this? A professional athlete has a team around him or her. A nutritionist, a massage therapist, coach, psychologist and more these days. They are supporting the growth of this person, 100% supporting this athlete to develop and refine their skills to reach their full potential. This is not unlike the attitude we need to have with our loving relationship, but most people are not thinking like this, they are thinking about buying a new BMW, or 2nd home, and not thinking about investing into their loving relationship with the best professionals and education they can find. Many want to invest the smallest amount possible into professional support, like using insurance to pay as little as possible. This is one of the reasons so many loving relationships fail. If you want to succeed in anything you will need to invest into your personal growth by learning from great professionals and leaders to develop your understandings, knowledge and skills. Your loving relationship is no different.
Here is my approach. I am a professional coach because we need to work at it, we need to improve, we need to develop new skills, look at what’s not working, and see where we can get better at it. We need to develop greater levels of relationship intelligence or we will see more disagreements, conflict, more divorces and more broken families. We need to rebuild society and our loving relationship is a great place to start to impact society more positively.
After working with thousands of people I know that my coaching sessions have more of an impact when I provide education in between sessions, study suggestions from the best people I have worked with, and I send emails with short digital videos or digital assets to help people in between sessions. Education may in the future replace counseling, therapy and coaching too, but right now ‘coaching is the second fastest growing industry in the world today’ says PricewaterhouseCoopers. If your relationship is in difficulty and you do start working with me, I often make study suggestions to clients, because great education helps too.
Invest More Deeply
If you goto the gym daily, you get better at it after a year. You develop, you become stronger, you are more familiar with what it takes to accomplish physical conditioning. But most people don’t succeed at the gym, ever, in their lifetime. They are not committed to putting the work in. They are living in their rational mind and don’t commit or invest themselves deeply into succeeding with their health or physical conditioning. Many people I first start to work with I ask: what are your relationship goals? Most people usually don’t have any in my experience. We have to give of ourselves to excel at anything, we cannot do this in our head, we have to put our heart into it. We need to set and accomplish goals. I cannot tell you the amount of people who come to me and say I went to see a counselor and they just listened, it didn’t really help. This is because we need to invest into getting better, to improving! If you are expecting to work with someone really great at what they do, it is highly unlikely they will be under $80 an hour, after accepting insurance. It is just too expensive now to run a company and to live and build a life with a family and keep your kids educated in a good school. The cost of living now impacts us all.
We commit to so many things but not to ourselves, or our loving relationship. We just expect our loving relationship to work, it just doesn’t work like that.
The Age of Quick Fixes
Most people are busier than ever before, and I see more people more fragmented than ever before. We can only really do a few things really well at a time, and your relationship with your loving partner needs to be one of them. Think about your week, how many of the things you are doing do you really want to keep doing? Draining your energy, leaving you on empty with nothing left to give to your loving relationship. Commitment is not an easy thing to do, we have to be able to say no to some of the things we are doing, in order to excel at others and our loving relationship.
Plan a Future Together
The average life expectancy is between 70 and 80 years of age, and if you think that a third of that time is spent sleeping, your time is very limited. If you are like me, 50, and I live to 80, I have only around 10,950 days left. I need to make the best use of this time and plan wonderful things to do with my loving relationship in this limited time too. This is a committed attitude. Coaching is not therapy or counseling, we need to set goals, we need to do things that are important to us. We also need to establish a vision for our loving relationship because having a vision is something to work on, together.
A loving relationship does not succeed by chance and guessing at it, it comes from investing into it and deeply committing to it.