The beginning of the end
Have you ever been in an intimate relationship that started going stale?
Suddenly, you kept noticing the things you didn’t like about the other person. He started irritating you. Sometimes the words that came out of your mouth were destructive. The words coming out of his mouth were even worse. Because you were hurting, you started telling yourself that he didn’t love you, and so you hit back, viciously. So did he …
The two of you had climbed into a vicious spiral that took you downhill. Fast.
Before you knew it, it was time to say goodbye.
That’s how most relationships end.
The vicious spiral
The thing that scares me more than anything about the scenario above is how easily we slip into that pattern. I’ve heard it time and time again from clients in my coaching room.
I have been married for 22 years – I have experienced that vicious spiral too.
If you have slipped far into that vicious spiral, it requires HUGE amounts of energy to crawl back up and out again.
Turning it around
The good news is that it can be done.
When I have a client whose relationship is in this vicious spiral, I end each session by asking the client
- what they were attracted to when they first met their spouse OR
- what their partner did last week that worked for them OR
- what they believe their partner’s strengths are…
Once the client realizes that I am going to ask this kind of question every week, they start taking more notice of the positive things that are going on, so that they can answer me in the session.
Tell the other person what you love
Then I encourage them to start telling the other person, once a week, and eventually once a day, something they appreciate about them.
I point out to them, that if they are deep in the vicious pit, it could take weeks of appreciating the other, getting nothing back in return, until a shift begins to happen.
Hence the huge amounts of mental and emotional energy required!
A client of mine, who worked really hard at doing this, came in beaming the other day. Her husband had actually bought her tea in bed on Saturday and encouraged her to lie in and relax.
He used to do this when they first got married, but it had been unheard of in their home in the last few years.
When I inquired about the rest of the weekend, she mentioned that she had cooked his favorite meal – a Sunday roast with all the trimmings. They had had a pretty relaxed weekend, she explained.
Strange that, don’t you think?
The tide was beginning to turn for her.
And so it can for you too.
The value cycle is simple:
1) Continually focus on what is good and working for you with respect to your partner and your relationship.
2) Tell your partner what you appreciate about her/him every day.
3) Do things for your partner that he/she likes or needs or appreciates.
4) Once a month look at what is not working and take constructive action to change that.
When you behave towards your partner in this manner, she will feel good. When she feels good, she’ll react to you in a similar way. Then you’ll feel good. So you’ll want to do things for her that she likes….
And so the value spiral builds!
Believe me; having experienced both, the value spiral is a much greater place to be than the vicious spiral.
I am sure you know that too.
All it takes is some mental and emotional strength and resilience to turn the vicious into the valuable.
My special gift to PickTheBrain.com readers
What have YOU got to lose? Start right now.
Because relationships ARE life and I am so passionate about strengthening the bonds in relationships, and because I am grateful to Erin and PickTheBrain.com for giving me this opportunity to meet their special readers, I am offering PickTheBrain.com readers a free workbook called “Create that Loving Feeling”.
Check out the Loving Feelings page, drop your email address and I’ll let you know where you can download the work book.
Here’s what you’ll get: 10 tips for strengthening the bond in your intimate relationship. Implement these 10 ideas, and start experiencing that loving feeling again!
Thanks so much for reading my stuff and a very special thanks to Erin for accepting this guest post.
Don’t forget to check out Loving Feelings.
Kirsten Long is a coach who takes people on a journey towards Self Mastery. She is passionate about personal development and shares her experiences and insights on her blog www.coach4life.co.za/blog . Kirsten has been coaching for 7 years. Her innate ability to give clarity to situations stems from years of experience– with clients, students(she spent 10 years teaching), family (she’s been married for 22 years and has 3 ‘almost’ grownup kids), friends, colleagues, bosses… and of course, with herself!
Photo credit: ‘Spiral’ by Big Stock