When intimate relationships break down, the effect is ‘mega’; most of it is not good. The stress of a marriage breakdown is even greater than the death of a loved one. The expense doesn’t help either, with the average cost of divorce being around $40,000. Yet most times, this doesn’t have to happen! Staying together is not rocket science.
There are six things you can do, which, when done concurrently, can get a you a happy result, no matter what.
1. Listen, listen, listen and when there’s no point listening anymore, keep listening because that’s when the stuff you really need to work on is going to come.
The golden rule of listening is – if you are talking then you are not listening. If you are figuring out what you’re going to say next, then you are not listening.
2. Talk about how you feel. Tell your partner how you are affected by what they say, BUT do not tell them what they are making you feel. How you feel is your responsibility not theirs. For instance, let’s say your partner says something like, “You are always telling me what to do and I don’t like it … I don’t ever tell you what to do so why do you think you can tell me?”
To which you might say something like, “That’s not what I mean to be doing and it’s certainly not my intention” … or perhaps you might say, “I agree and I didn’t realise I was offending you.”
What you DON’T say is something like, “That’s rubbish, I never tell you what to do. In fact, you’re the one telling me what to do and that makes me feel really pissed off!” The fact is, telling your partner they are wrong, and then following this up with a counter-attack is not likely to get you and your partner working together. I’m sure you have experienced this already!
3. Go deep inside yourself; this is where the answers are hiding. Down there are heaps of unresolved emotions from your past, usually from your family of origin experiences. The problem is where to start; there will be millions of possible ways to go. Your challenge is to make the correct choice, otherwise you could spend much time and money successfully dealing with emotional blocks, that in the end, make little or no difference to you.
4. Use intuition to guide you. With so many possibilities it’s important to get to the exact, specific and precise place to resolve what needs to be resolved. Allow intuition to guide you properly, and you can be working through the blockages that are making the most difference to your life, about 100% of the time.
5. Take responsibility. This is the opposite of laying blame and finding fault. Taking responsibility gives you the opportunity to be focused on what works. Resist the urge to work on fixing problems. Sure these are holding you back but it is virtually impossible to get what you want by focusing on what you don’t want.
6. Stay together and work together. Despite how obvious this one is, when the going gets really, really tough, so many people decide to split. If you have issues around trust, abandonment, rejection and acceptance then working together with your intimate partner is going to feel hugely challenging. Nevertheless, that is what need to do. Stay put and work it out together, and in so doing, take the risk of exposing yourself to the one person in the world who can hurt you most … the love of your life!
These six strategies: listen to each other, talk to each other, work on the deep stuff, use intuition, be responsible and work together, are a package. They can bring any relationship to a happier place, regardless of the outcome.
How can divorce be a happier place you might be thinking?
Most divorces happen because the partners do NOT know how to stay together. The angst, destructiveness and conflict are strategies that don’t work. Things like blame, excuses, justifications and denial almost never produce happy outcomes.
Does that mean you have to stay together in a state of no-conflict to find this happy state? Not at all, and yes there are couples who should NOT stay together … perhaps about 10% only.
The couples who use the six strategies outlined above, mostly stay together. The ones that split up and go their separate ways do this amicably, because they do it in a way that is personally resolving, and the relationship improves as a result.
THE GOLDEN RULE: If separation and divorce is not an improvement to your relationship, that’s probably because there are better option/s for you.
So Be It!