If there were a course called Relationships 101, what would it cover? There’s probably a course out there somewhere that’s called this, but let’s see if we can come up with some of the topics:
- How to communicate well
- How to honor your commitment
- How to honor each other’s dreams
- How to learn and grow as a person within a safe, supportive, and loving relationship
- How not to take each other for granted
- How to engage in 5x more positive interactions than negative ones
- How to avoid secrets, betrayals, and deception
That’s a pretty good start, right? All of the above, by the way, are based on the latest research (Dr. John Gottman, the leading expert on marriages, has something to say about long-lasting and loving relationships. I wrote a post awhile back on 7 secrets of solid marriages based on his work that you might also like).
So, now that we’ve established some of the basics of a healthy, long-lasting, and loving relationship–if there were a course called How to Ruin a Relationship, what do you think the material in this class would cover? Probably the opposite of what was listed above. So, here we go…
How to ruin a relationship:
- Blame, shame, and manipulate your partner.
- Cheat on them–emotionally and/or physically.
- Put down your partner’s dreams. Or, don’t even bother asking about them. Heck, you don’t care.
- Stay stagnant or actually regress in personal growth.
- Cultivate an overall feeling of a lack of safety. Be unsupportive and continually question the love between you. This creates an insecure bond and an environment that feels unsafe to grow and develop not only as a person but intimately as a couple.
- Take each other for granted. Don’t respect one another and lay off the affection between you.
- Have your interactions be 5 times as many negative ones as positive.
- Have secrets between you, betray your partner, or deceive them. Make it so the trust between you is little if none.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? And yet, I feel like I’m just getting started…
So, for those of you who don’t know, I am divorced and now remarried to the love of my life (that’s me and my handsome husband in the photo on the left). I didn’t want to repeat the dysfunction that occurred in my prior marriage and I have worked hard to have not just a great marriage, but an extraordinary one (even though you meet and marry your soul mate, you still have to maintain a healthy and loving relationship). I’m grateful for my schoolwork in marriage and family therapy, I know a heck of a lot of things that can poison a relationship, but knowledge is only part of the answer to keeping the love alive–you have to apply what you know.
In case you’re wondering (and well, maybe you’re not), I chose the featured image for this article of the couple on the beach because:
- They’re both looking in different directions
- They’re isolated to some degree on a smallish island
See how they aren’t focused on being together? They’re together, yet they aren’t present to one another. On the little island rock, they’ve become isolated as partners. These issues are prevalent for many of today’s distressed couples. It can be lonely if you’re married but not connected. It can be frustrating when you don’t feel heard or appreciated. All of the little things can eventually turn into big things if you neglect your partner and your relationship. It doesn’t have to be an affair that brings down a relationship–the little things over time can ruin it too.
Obviously, there’s so much more to this topic (I’ve got books upon books on this!), but I’m curious about what you think it takes to ruin a relationship. Have you ever had a relationship end badly? Why? Leave your comments below–I’d love to hear what you have to say!
If you know someone who can benefit from this or if you like this article please like or share this on FB, tweet it, link to this, and/or leave a comment. Thanks!
My passion is to enrich people’s lives by helping them create extraordinary relationships. I am a certified life coach, have a Master’s degree in psychology, and am a Marriage and Family Therapy Candidate. I am the author of Attract Your Soul Mate: A Simple Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life Using the Law of Attraction and Other Spiritual Methods (BRAND NEW!), Transforming Divorce, the Transforming Divorce Workbook, and co-author (with my husband Don Nenninger) of The Secrets of Loving Relationships, and The Art and Science of Parenting: How to Act When Your Kid’s Acting Out. Check out my Shop page for more information on these books and more!
Interested in coaching? Recognize some of your own behaviors in the list above (not the first list–the second!)? You might be a great candidate for relationship coaching! For more information, click here: RELATIONSHIP COACHING