When I work with clients on their relationships, we’ll go over their thoughts, beliefs, and actions, starting out with the ones they think are holding them back (and then what they’d like more of). Have you thought about how many of your thoughts and behaviors have become habits that have become so ingrained in you, you aren’t even aware they’re having a big impact on your life?
Your habits could be sabotaging your ability to have a great relationship.
People can become so focused on what’s wrong in their life and love, that they miss the bigger picture. Like the camera lens, they focus on one particular area to the exclusion of other areas. Much of the time, people focus on the other person in the relationship as the one who needs to change.
Change starts with you, my friend.
This is an article for those who:
- Are in a relationship, but you want a better relationship
- Are single and want to meet your soul mate, but you’re not sure how to find the one
- Want healthier and what I call “connecting” relationships with friends and family
Having quality relationships adds to the overall quality of your life.
According to a 75-year Harvard study, having quality relationships not only improves the quality of your life, but helps you live longer, too. Yet so many people don’t know how to have a quality relationship with others. It’s not your fault: We aren’t taught how to have good relationships.
We go to school to prepare for our careers, but there’s no school for relationships.
Instead, we fill in the blanks. We go to our “default mode.” Do any of these sound familiar?
- We unconsciously do what our parents did and we model our relationships after what we saw growing up.
- We unconsciously act out the childhood lessons we are still hurting from.
- We want to “change” the other person.
- We get so involved in other things outside the relationship- like our jobs or children- that our relationship often goes neglected.
Uh oh! Keep doing those kinds of things, and no wonder most relationships are doomed to failure!
There’s so much available to you when you’re in a loving relationship:
- the opportunity for growth
- to heal
- to feel unconditional love
- to have fun
- be authentic
- be vulnerable
- feel safe
However, if you do not feel safe, or unconditionally loved, or connected- you end up keeping your relationship and partner at an arm’s distance. There’s a space where you could have more of connection and intimacy.
Being vulnerable with your partner, helps create space for more intimacy and trust.
The default mode you’ve come to rely on when it comes to being in a relationship, becomes habitual. Your behaviors, thoughts, and feelings about the relationship and your partner become entrenched over time. They become a habit. But, like any habit, this can be changed!
For example, the lack of appreciation in a relationship is a habit- a habit that can be toxic. However, a shift in your behaviors- that you’ll, for example, take the time every day to say and do something kind that your partner will feel validated and seen- this will begin to change things. This is a new habit you can start- today- that will make a big difference!
Here are some ideas for creating new habits that will strengthen the bond in your relationship:
- Make a new habit of asking your partner how their day was; greet each other lovingly and begin the transition from work to home positively
- Compliment them on something; begin to notice the “little things”
- Pitch in on a task with them; do more things as a team
- Text them more; leave little love notes
- Ask them what some of their dreams or favorite things are- anything that gets you more into their world
Make a new habit of finding solutions instead of finding the problems in your relationship.
For example, instead of continuing to feel frustrated because your partner doesn’t take out the trash, do something different. Ask them to take out the trash and before they do, kiss them and tell them thank you. Reward them before they even take out the trash. Or, when they return, kiss them. Focus on bringing the intention that you love them and are grateful– it’s not about the trash, it’s about striving to be loving and fostering connection.
Or, you could tell your partner you feel frustrated when the trash isn’t taken out. You feel disrespected because you like to keep a clean home. After you tell them, it’s up to them to change their behavior, but you’ve had an opportunity to express what’s real for you without blaming them.
Often, couples get caught up in the “what” of arguments, and the “how” of arguing gets out of control and into default mode- that old habitual behavior that isn’t loving.
Taking out the trash can become a control/power issue. Sometimes, couples realize only too late that their relationship ended because of frustration over household chores. Yet, couples who’ve faced serious illness or even death, will often regret that the relationship deteriorated because of something that in hindsight seems so insignificant to them now that they’ve been given a different perspective- a different lens to look out of, so to speak.
Think about your relationship habits. Are there habitual thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or actions that could be sabotaging your relationship? What can you change- starting today- that will make a difference in your relationship?
If you’d like to learn more about creating a loving, healthy, long-lasting relationship, check out our relationship course The Ultimate Guide to Love & Relationships. There’s over 2 1/2 hours of video, worksheets, and expert guidance to help you succeed in love. Plus, you can do the course on your time, in the privacy of your own home. No babysitters, waiting rooms, or missed appointments.
Create new habits and learn how to love in a way that honors you, your partner, and the relationship. No more games, no more shame, no more blame…You deserve to have an amazing love life. Aren’t you worth it?