I heard a scary statistic a few months back that a massive 50% of marriages fail. This statistic blew my mind, what is happening? What is causing this huge statistic. With less people even choosing to make a commitment of marriage it is curious to think that this statistic is even still relevant.
As I personally approach my 10 year wedding anniversary, I can’t imagine even the prospect of myself and my partner separating. Now you may be thinking that I am just one of the lucky ones, but in all honesty there was a time when this was not the case and my own personal relationship would have been an accurate representation of these statistics. There are so many variables which may be effecting these stats but for the purpose of this particular blog I am going to focus on the areas you can improve on in your relationship in order for it to reach deeper and deeper levels of love and commitment, no matter where you are currently starting from.
A little about my story to give you some perspective: About 6 years ago when my children were just babies both my husband and I openly said that if it wasn’t for the kids we would go our separate ways. There was distrust, no respect, crappy communication and a desire to simply get away from all the drama that day to day life seemed to bring. It was tough and the only thing we held onto was a desire to not give up without knowing we had tried our best, if even just for our children. To try and fix things we even decided to move interstate hoping that having more support with the kids may help so we could have more time to reconnect. As much as we grew closer the problems were never resolved.
I guess we simply continued because it was easier and when you don’t communicate there isn’t much to argue about. I felt awful within myself and about myself and I knew it was all taking its toll on my husband. Personally I was severely depressed to the point of being suicidal, this wasn’t a new problem but I hadn’t admitted it was a ‘thing’ for me. I was completely disconnected from life and just wanted all the heartache and pain to go away. Life in general had been very complicated and with no sign it was ever going to get easier.
Now this sounds all doom and gloom, but as you have probably guessed there is one hell of a light at the end of the tunnel, even though at that point I didn’t even know the light existed. It was around 5 years ago that every thing changed it was still in chaos but I was moving forward as I started to discover who I was. The benefit of taking this journey of self discovery was developing the most amazing relationship with both myself and my husband which left me knowing I am loved, cherished, equal, respected and not wanting to go anywhere. Knowing where we have come from within myself and also our relationship personally leaves me without a doubt that everyone has the ability to have the most amazing, deep, committed and meaningful relationship too. If your not there yet, there a few simple things that can help you to create this in your life too.
The Key to the Most Loving and Rewarding Relationship Starts with You.
Respect is one of these areas which should be a given in any relationship and form part of its’ foundation, on which everything else is built. Unfortunately whether it’s due to a lack of respect for yourself or your partner both are affecting your relationship. Depending on where you are emotionally with your partner will depend on how much of a gap there is. If there is a considerable gap for you right now, start with bringing understanding without placing your own judgement of your partner and where they are at in life. Try not to allow negative judgements to come into play because these won’t allow you to move forward. If you want things to improve you first need to make space for understanding, which in time will turn into respect and trust. In doing this consistently and without expectation for it being returned, healing can begin. If you are thinking why do I need to be the person to lead the way? Well, if not you then who and if you want this relationship to work, then someone needs to be the bigger person.
If you approach your relationship without expectations of the other person you create so much space for true commitment to appear. If you’re expecting to get flowers every week and your not getting them you’re automatically going to feel angry towards your significant other. Therefore, if you’re feeling angry or disappointed you will be less receptive to notice anything they are doing, to show you they care and love you. Here is where we start to understand love languages and the book “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, a hugely popular book may be a good place for you to begin. When you start to understand your love language, you can then communicate it to your partner and they too can do the same. The Benefit is you both end up receiving the version of love which sets you on fire and it comes in the form you like to receive it, guess work gone. Additionally, it’s also here that we need to understand what standards and expectations we have set for the person to meet, are they actually reasonable? Or have your expectations grown due to them not being met overtime?
Work on Your Communication
In any relationship with problems there is the requirement to take ownership of where you are and discuss where you want to be. When you can communicate your desires of what you want in your relationship you and your partner know what you’re aiming for. This is also a great opportunity to talk about whether the expectations you both hold are actually realistic. It’s in this space that you create, that you can clear the air and many issues that have been plaguing you both. In saying that, this is not an open invitation to bring out all the dirty laundry it is best to deal with only a few issues, maybe 1 or 2 at a time. Keep in mind this is not a race but a long dance of discovering who you both are and what you are wanting and requiring from the relationship.
Additionally, listen with the intent for them to feel heard and understood and you are allowed to receive the same. In listening to your partner it’s here that you respect their opinion and how they have felt or viewed any given situation and I assure you when your partner is on the listening end it makes a big difference for both parties to have been heard. You must understand how they have experienced the situation so you can rectify your end of the problem (there are two sides to every story, yours is just one of them). Don’t jump to conclusions, you have no right to tell them their feelings are unjustified, just as you wouldn’t want them to make you feel unjustified in your feelings. This is where respect plays a big part which is what the listening with the desire to understand is really about.
As the saying goes, life wasn’t meant to be boring and the same is also true within relationships. The ability to bring fun and laughter into any relationship including with your kids and even friends is one of those often overlooked areas of relationships. Life can be hard, its brings a multitude of challenges which assist us to grow and become the fullest expression of ourselves. The more stressful your life is the more important play actually is. I am not saying you need to go out and tackle one another but play can simply be taking notice or being aware that your partner is having a hard time and making an effort to lighten the mood with a jokes, my partner is exceptionally good at rambling off a bunch of terrible dad jokes. It’s also important to note here that again communication is key. If you’re stressed in anyway this can change your behaviour and not always for the better. Again to be able to understand what is going on for the other person is not just simply consideration but helps you to be their support person or rock. Together my husband and I aim to not take life to seriously, remembering again that life isn’t meant to be serious but fun with memories that last a life time for us and our kids. Release your inner child and allow yourself to be silly, fart in an elevator, dance in the kitchen or whatever you need to do to realise there is more to us than the mask we show the world. Allow your true, loving, joyful self to shine.
In all honesty the biggest thing that changed our relationship from terrible to incredible was the change I made within myself. I firmly believe that the love we now share would not be possible without the deep love that I developed for myself. The saying that you cannot love another until you first love yourself has never rung so true in my mind as it does now. It is truly incredible to have the respect, love and appreciation for myself and my story that has allowed all of this to be possible. I am incredibly grateful for all that my husband put up with during my years in the darkness, in all honesty I made life hell for him and I take full ownership of that. I am grateful every single day that he stayed by my side through it all, so that we can now stand stronger than ever before. With each year that passes we become better and better as we discover that the love for not only ourselves but for each other has new and deeper levels to explore and discover. I hope to always grow so that these new levels and doors open for a greater level of discovery, honesty, rawness and pure love to shine.
Discover who you are and watch your entire world transform as you demand not only from yourself but from the world around you everything that is actually available to you today and everyday. The added benefit of all of this is demonstrating to my children what a healthy relationship looks like, even though my eldest thinks us giving a good kiss in the kitchen is the most revolting thing ever, she is witnessing first hand real love, a love that I truly hope and believe will last my lifetime.
It is through discovering who you are, embracing that and striving to be the best version of yourself that you can be, that having an amazing relationship becomes a bi product. One does not exist without the other. I feel blessed every day to be able to help women just like you to do this very thing, it is my purpose and passion , it is the job I never need a holiday from. And I cannot wait to hear how these tips have changed your relationship and the doors of possibility that have opened for you.
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