All relationships, even the best ones, have hard challenges within them. Another common mistake is that people think a soul mate is when everything goes smoothly. This is not the case at all. Even soul mate relationships will have rocky points to overcome. Once you understand the types of relationships that exist and how to work with relationship chemistry you will be able to move ahead and find the person that matches down to very toes of your soul.
We seek companions that embrace life with us in a deep and harmonious manner. The highest ideal of these deep relationships is often labeled as “soul mate” in our culture. The desire to find our soul mate often blinds a person to not see:
- What is required to balance the actual relationship
- A relationship might need to shift into something different than the ideal being held by both people.
The simple truth is people push themselves and relationships too hard. The most profound reason a person isn’t finding their soul mate is because of trying too hard. Mix this deep desire of wanting a soul mate with modern culture’s perception that anyone could be a possible soul mate and you get the all too common relationship disaster.
The first step before finding your soul mate, is to take a step back to explore the nature of our relationships. Understanding the chemistry and variations of relationship helps us to better balance out all of our relationships.
The first step in relationship 101 is understanding the types of relationships we have in life. People often limit their current relationship to only fit the patterns they saw when they were younger.
Worse modern culture only has a few patterns to work with. For instance: English has words for “soul mate” and “friend” but lacks any words for a special person who falls in between Friend and Soul Mate. I have added several new classifications: True Friend and Soul Companion. “Soul Companion” is a new term all together.
Lets start by reviewing the basic relationships most people experience in life. The first trap of relationships is to only limit relationships down to: Friend, Partner and Everyone Else. This really doesn’t help much because it forces people into categories that don’t cover all the different types of chemistry that do exist between people.
Staying Anonymous for Awhile
Most online dating services use a double-blind system to allow members to exchange correspondence between each other. This allows members to communicate, but without knowing each other’s email addresses or other identifying personal information. It’s best to use the dating service’s internal, secure messaging system until you feel as though you know the person to some degree. This ensures that when you do run into the inevitable creep online, you remain anonymous and safe.
Prince (or Princess) Charming may very well indeed be waiting for you online, but you should also set your expectations just a little bit lower. Most of your dates will turn out to be duds. That’s just the statistics! So it helps prepare yourself if you remember that going into the online dating process. Don’t believe that everyone who shows interest in you is worth your time. And don’t get disenchanted if your first date decides they don’t want a second. It’s easy to believe they are rejecting you personally, but it’s for the best. After all, you’re looking for a good, mutual match, not someone to swoon over. (But hey, if you find someone to swoon over, that’s cool too!)
Being realistic also means setting realistic expectations about geography. The Internet allows us to search for and communicate with people from all over the world, regardless of their proximity to us. Unfortunately, that makes a real dating relationship difficult once you have to translate it into the real world. So if you’re not willing to fly to Paris to meet Mr. Frenchie, then don’t look for anybody outside of your local community. Keep in mind, that 50 mile drive for the first date might seem like no big deal, but imagine doing that multiple times a week if things got serious. It can (and has) been done, but know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand.
Use Common Sense
It’s funny I have to write those words, but they are just so important. We sometimes feel like we’ve made an “instant connection” online with someone we’ve only just met. Some of that feeling is a result of the disinhibition that’s a part of being anonymous on the Internet today. So go slowly with new contacts and get to know the person via messaging and emails first. Then proceed to phone calls if you still feel safe, attracted, and curious. Finally, setup a first date when the time is right.
Don’t agree to do something just because it sounds like fun or exciting if it’s really not you. The point of online dating isn’t to reinvent yourself or to try out everything new under the sun. It’s to find someone you’re most compatible with, which means being yourself. So while it may sound romantic to agree to fly off to the Bahamas on a moment’s notice with someone you barely know, it isn’t very good common sense to do so. Keep your wits and instincts about you.
Proceed Slowly and Listen to Your Instinct
As I wrote above, you need to take things slowly, even when it seems or feels right immediately, or the other person is pressuring you into meeting more fast than you are comfortable with. Take things at yourpace. If the other person is a good match for you, then they will not only understand your pace, but will often mirror it! Always talk to the other person by telephone at least once before agreeing to meet for your first date. Ask for a photo (if they didn’t provide one in their profile) so that you can be assured of meeting the right person. Be on the lookout for inconsistencies in their history or any stories they tell you of their life, background, or growing up. Ask informative questions of the other person to ensure they match what and who they say they are in their profile.
Don’t feel the need to give out your phone number if you’re not comfortable doing so. Instead, ask for theirs and remember to put in the code for blocking caller ID before making the call. There’s no need to be paranoid about your privacy, but at the same time, it is wise to take simple precautions that will ensure you remain safe until you are completely comfortable. Some people also use a cell phone or even a public pay phone to ensure their potential match can’t get their home telephone number. Do what feels best and right for you.
Remember, you don’t have to meet everyone you communicate with online. Some people will obviously not be right for you and you can politely say so before ever progressing to a phone call or first date. Online dating empowers you to make choices that are right for you. So feel free to make those choices, even if you are typically unuse to doing so.
First Dates Should Be in Public
This is a no-brainer, but sometimes, even the obvious needs to be said. Never agree to meet at the other person’s place or to pick them up. Agree to meet in a public place. Most people find a restaurant is ideal, as it gives you both something else to concentrate on from time to time to break up the awkward moments. It also ensures that both parties are on their best behavior, while still allowing you the opportunity to see how your match behaves in a public situation. Be an astute observer during that first date, and don’t drink too much (if you drink at all). The purpose of a first date is to not only see if there is a mutual attraction, but to learn more about the other person in their own words and see how they communicate their intentions non-verbally. By paying attention to all of these cues and information, you will learn a lot more about your match.
If you need to travel to another location on the date, always take your own car or transportation. Always arrange for backup transportation (e.g., a friend) if you’ve relied on public transportation for a meeting. Let a friend or two know that you’ll be out on a date and if possible, have your cell phone with you at all times, on and charged. (If you don’t own a cell phone, ask to borrow a friend’s for the evening, or purchase an inexpensive pay-as-go type from your local Wal-Mart or Best Buy). You hope these are mostly unnecessary precautions, but better safe than sorry.
A student asked this question about marriage:
I’ve been trying to focus on “no expectations”. What about marriage? If you’re trying to live life without expectations, how can you ever get married? Isn’t that expecting the person to stay with you? It’s expecting loyalty and devotion and sharing permanently. By getting married, you’re obligating the other person to care for you for the rest of their life. That kind of obligation brings so much comfort… Expectation seemingly gives a person something solid to rely on and believe in. It’s hard to turn that down.
How can you have comfort and no expectations?
How can you feel safe in a marriage without expecting certain things?
The difference of expectation compared to reality is where couples discover the challenges of their marriage. This is a very common problem and it often takes years to discover the discrepancies between reality and internal expectations. For example, a person thinking they are marrying a good person person only to discover over time they are married to someone with a dark side.It’s easy to simplify what you think of marriage into a nice ideal cartoon in one’s mind.
“Married” individuals do act differently from when they were a single person, for many reasons. Often, after the marriage occurs, partners can release stories they were hiding behind. People shift from being an “individual” to becoming the “couple” with all the social obligations that the marriage creates. A marriage mixes together the expectations of societies, friends & children. This creates a huge melting pot of contradicting expectations. It creates challenges that makes it hard to sort out your own proper path. This is a common problem when people from different cultures (or religions) marry. The different cultural / religious expectations from the marriage change the individuals so much that … both people can become unhappy.
What happens when you don’t drop your expectations of what marriage means? Then time erodes your relationship.
As you change, as your partner changes, what is required to maintain a healthy balanced relationship changes. The true source of most problems comes out from expectations of the marriage not changing with time. This ironically forms the anvil against which the relationship will break itself over time. Even worse are the situations where people stay in their marriage at all costs. These very expectations end up breaking people to the point where the marriage literally kills them from stress and unhappiness.
I have helped guide many people through the traps of false expectations that are often created in a marriage. If you want to have a relationship that truly lasts, drop expectations that wear you down. Instead change over time with your partner.
Spiritual divorce is an alternative solution for handling marriage problems.
Different options exist to guide relationships through their troubles and some answers aren’t obvious at all. One option I have created for my clients is Spiritual Divorce. This process has an amazing success rate for repairing friendships when they have reached a point of breaking.
What is a Spiritual Divorce?
On a high level, it’s about assisting a graceful separation between two people. How to teach two people to retain a friendship while taking time to grow.
Spiritual Divorce actually means two different things. The first definition is to approach a legal divorce with spiritual grace. To grow from the process rather than to fight and diminish in the breaking of divorce.
I actually use the term Spiritual Divorce in a different manner: Don’t start with a legal divorce rather start with a more gentle spiritual divorce.
The Problem with Legal Divorce
Legal divorce is for two people that cannot come to terms with their combine lives and require an outside baseline to physically separate them. The problem is legal divorce is very arbitrary, doesn’t take into consideration emotional aspects of life and in reality further rips people apart. It isn’t graceful.Other than dealing with death, divorce is the most stressful moment a person can face in life. After all how do you untangle two people who have spent years interweaving their lives together?
It’s possible to find a graceful answer more times than people realize. While you cannot stop a person from fighting if they truly want to fight, you can change how individuals approach the process to minimize the need to fight.
Spiritual Divorce represents one alternative path.
A legal divorce only considers physical ramifications of a relationship. A legal divorce lacks heart and often causes deeper damage between two people
Spirit represents how we move through life.
A spiritual divorce means to untangle two people’s life motions from each other so they have a chance to re-balance their personal lives. After addressing personal issues you can then revisit the baseline of a friendship. Many times it’s possible to help create a whole new relationship after addressing personal challenges.
Spiritual Divorce represents a gradual separation of how two people live with each other, but it isn’t a legal divorce. The goal is to help two people re-balance how they live without the more damaging legal wrangling occurring first.
I have developed this second process of spiritual divorce over the last 15 years. It works. Rather than trying to cut all ties off at once, you separate from each other in stages. This allows a couple time to emotionally process their differences, instead of going straight into a fight.
It’s important to adapt this approach to fit each couple. The process has to allow for growth during separation. As a result people need to pick and choose carefully how to create personal space in a safe manner.
A spiritual divorce doesn’t mean everything will be perfect. Hard truths and many bad feelings will need to get exposed for the healing process. The difference is in a legal divorce all the hard feelings and conflict happens all at once, which is too fast and too intense for most people handle gracefully. So a spiritual divorce approaches this one step at a time regarding the personal differences. We also introduce moments of time out that allow both people to rest and recover from the more challenging moments.
To grow in life a person needs to be willing to make mistakes and to then learn from those mistakes. In a legal divorce a person pushes out all the problems to be the other’s person fault for legal reasons. In a spiritual divorce you take time to understand what went wrong and take time to fix any personal issues.
When couples use a spiritual divorce,it means, over a period of one to two years, the couple resolves most of their problems before any legal separation. This means ironically a spiritual divorce will save some marriages, because the growth will allow two people to have a fresh relationship. If after working through a spiritual divorce the two people still want to separate then the legal divorce goes more smoothly as most of the interpersonal challenges have been resolved already. This also means each person will be in a more emotionally mature place to separate out the last legal step.
For the exact details of what a Spiritual Divorce would look like for you, you would need to contact us at a Personal Tao to arrange a session. I literally craft a spiritual divorce to fit each couple precisely to their emotional, family, work and personal conditions.
Creating a spiritual divorce is an art not a science. Law and society will use judgment to measure everything in a relationship. Many marriages are failing from these judgments in play between a couple. So the first step in a spiritual divorce is to literally remove judgment from the picture. The second step is to then review and teach against your challenges. This allows a spiritual divorce to be a growth based teaching process rather than never ending counseling sessions.
Finally, it’s a very real time process, where I act as a spiritual mediator to balance out each step.
Is Spiritual Divorce Only Separation?
A spiritual divorce is much more than a separation. It’s an active time to work on learning, healing and balancing each person in the relationship. Just as you don’t drive a car while working to repair the engine, two people shouldn’t be pushing hard on their marriage when they are fixing themselves. It’s important to have time for space, where you each can work on personal growth, in any relationship.
I marry people and such have a deep understanding and appreciation for marriage. But too many misconceptions exist about marriage, including the idea you always need to be with your partner. At times partners need to go on their own spiritual / life journey. As a life coach I extend many different teachings to match a person’s needs in the spiritual divorce process. This process gives a couple a deeper time out, but not a full bloody drawn out legal divorce people fear. Simple physical separation doesn’t go far enough, since spiritually a couple is still connected and that leads to conflict. Also many times due to financial codependency physical separation isn’t always an option. I have added in the spiritual divorce, various options for my clients to create appropriate levels of separation.
I have used this technique with many people to help them move past relationship problems. I have also re-married couples successfully after they have taken time out with a spiritual divorce. This process works, but it also represents one of the hardest transition times a person will ever experience in their life: the fear of divorce.
This option isn’t for everyone, people often are inflexible when it comes down to how they work with their relationships. Ironically it’s often inflexibility, arising out of judgment, that destroys many relationships. This process is for those who need a deep and open process of resolution to get to that fresh start.
At first there seems to be so many types of love. A mothers love, a love of action, the love of dedication, a love of devotion and I could list a thousand more different types of love.
So What is Love?
Is there a root to love?
As we love we seem to push, to test and try to go further. In the drive to be more, in the name of love -> it seems we do so many crazy things.
Why do people tend to push love to the edge? We look for ever more from our partners. For example, we seek and always strive to make our closer partners into soulmates.
The reason for so much energy being put towards love is:
Love is to become more or to help another become more..
The expression/style of more, is what determines the type of love you have.
The trap of love is to put a person in our hearts. We change, people change… To place a person in your heart is to break your heart later upon changing.
Instead, put connection to a person within your heart. In that manner as you change, as they change.. you stay connected and still help each other grow.
When working to maintain love: remember to strengthen your connections with flexibility rather than smothering, deepen connection with communication not restrictions.
Look to love being growth rather than something that never changes.
The first truth in how to find your soulmate is to understand the nature of a soulmate. It’s strange but most people don’t really sit down to figure out what a soulmate really is. As a result, people often force the wrong person into fitting the soulmate mold. If you want to know how to find your soulmate, then you need to actually “know”, rather than wing it in understanding what a soulmate is.
Many people are running around try to find a soulmate, thinking they will automatically feel their soulmate, simply by how effortless it will be or by the intense connection they will feel. Well this isn’t how to find your soulmate and not true at all. Unfortunately our biology will often trick us into feeling a person is the soulmate by focusing you in on the mate aspects of a relationship. Our species does desire to continue onward and as a result biological chemistry can really blind two people into falling into love for a shorter relationship for purposes of having children.
A soulmate is more than just physical chemistry, it includes mind (our stories) and spiritual (our flow) chemistry also. However, in the beginning of many relationships physical chemistry does tend to have the most powerful vote of the three aspects of our nature. Sadly physical chemistry is only enough to get two people 7 years along in their relationship (Hence the 7 year itch). To make the distance of 20 or more years you truly need mind, body and spirit all to agree on the chemistry.
Additionally, relationships with soulmates are still a relationship. All relationships have issues, even the best ones. A soulmate relationship might have fewer problems than most relationships, but even a soulmate relationship will have its challenges.
So if you haven’t read an Understanding Soul Companions yet, then please read about what makes a soul-mate “your” soul-mate first.
At different points of life we look for different attributes to compliment us . Psychologically we change quite a bit in our maturing process every seven to nine years. As a result the advice to find a soulmate does vary slightly depending on the life stage you are currently experiencing. This article will give notes about variations depending on where you are in life . So understand there exist variations of how we perceive and match to our soul partners over time which all factor into how to find your soulmate.
The First Step in How to Find Your Soulmate.
A soulmate compliments you. Your strength works with their strength. To focus in on your weakness, means you won’t find your soulmate. To live to your weakness is to find a person who compliments your weaknesses. Such a relationship is a co-dependent relationship. Co-Dependent relationships always burn out or move on in the end. Co-Dependency at first feels balanced, but the problem is as you change it spins out of control. So ironically for Co-Dependency to survive also means to always be staying within your weakness.
We need to grow. Yes we can focus on a weakness, in order to grow from that weakness. But never stay weak on purpose to keep a relationship going. That just comes at the cost of your own life.
Also to keep a person in a relationship for sake of a relationship… is a weakness that destroys a relationship.
We all have issues. A relationship is about complimenting our issues also. This may seem like a contradiction at first but it isn’t.
Our soulmates will help us work out of our issues, help us acknowledge them and then find healthy ways to work with our flaws to always be growing. A soulmate will never hold us back in our issues. A soulmate will never always stop us from making mistakes. We need to learn form our mistakes and grow.
The Second Step in How to Find Your Soulmate.
We think we know who compliments us, we judge others who would be our best mate. Ironically people are blind to the missing aspects of their own soul and issues. It’s hard to use logic and find the person who compliments you. This is why dating services do such a poor job using algorithms to find a partner for others.
Now a problem happens during the harder times of life.
The harder points of life are when we judge our partners the most. Also if you happen to be at a point of life of great change or crisis such as adolescence, quarter-life crisis or midlife crisis, everything is shifting too fast to make sense of any of it. No one can know who their soulmate when they are in the middle of crisis. (this is why soulmates seem to break in crisis). Acceptance of a soulmate comes after crisis is passed, after you release all measurements of who is best for you. You cannot measure clothing for a child as if they were an adult! Likewise you don’t measure partners while you or they are in great change. Picking a person who is best for you in the middle of any crisis doesn’t match very well for later after you have grown up from your crisis.
Release trying to find prospective partners or to hold existing partners based on measurements (judgement) especially if you are in the middle of great change.
The Third Step in How to Find Your Soulmate.
In the end, without awareness a person is moving blindly in their life. Part of awareness is to explore and to be willing to meet and talk to different people in order to both understand chemistry and how we react to others. Awareness lets us work to our essence. To make sure that when we do find a deep connection, that the connection is complete of mind, body and spirit.
Most importantly awareness, as a practice, is about connection. Without awareness equally from both parties, a relationship is blind and only one sided at best and will fail.
Relative to midlife crisis or any major change point.
A person’s awareness is focused for the first year or two back into themselves. Transformation points of life are truly about change, so it’s important that a person’s awareness does focus back inward for this period of time. This is required to help them sort out who they are and how to change. However, since awareness is required to complete the connection to your soul partner, this also means that a mid life transformation process or a larger life crisis very easily disrupts the bond between partners. During this period if the partner tries to reestablish the bond, the person in mid life transformation could just move further away, in an attempt to keep their focus on their growth. It will appear the person in mid life crisis is being selfish, (and often seemingly childish in how to try to reclaim their space. This is because they haven’t yet figured out how to express what they are feeling yet).
Understand a person in crisis or midlife change has their attention totally focused on what they feel are required changes in their transformation. A person in midlife change will move away or fight back to reclaim their space from anyone, including soul partners, who gets in way of this personal reconfiguration process. This is why mid life transformation can and does break soul partners apart. One person needs to change while the partner resists the change. Two powerful mind states that come into direct conflict and it isn’t a fun time to experience at all.
Sustainable love isn’t a myth, it is just misnamed, for love & romance to be sustainable it must constantly change to grow with those involved. The real issue isn’t in the love nor romance, it’s in how people try to define forever that is the true issue.
People think forever, is to be unchanging.
To be unchanging is to break, is to wear down to nothing trying to hold onto what was.
Most lovers try to balance out their relationships based on outside benchmarks rather than their center. To base love and romance only upon someone else’s outstretched arms…
As Yeats says
“Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold… “
Romance is all about two people coming to terms with each other. Romance goes stale when two people stay the same. Now when you base love upon the nature of change, to create an ever changing love. This then establishes a baseline that you and your partner do shift, which then leads to always renewing the romance, a romance that can last upon a centre. Something that isn’t locked into a chest but rather connected handily together with awareness instead.
Anyways, I love the Oscar Wilde quote because his quote is 100% true when people try to make forever, to only be the same thing…! That becomes the same olde same olde before you know it.
So sad, but it seems most people prefer tragic love that is always fleeting over true love that is alwayschanging. People desire a romance that connects them to new faces rather than trying to see a partner in a new light. All because we are seeking change as part of our nature. So let romance and love truly change with time, allowing your partner to dance with you against change over a lifetime.
Learn to understand the difference and you will discover lasting love and a kaleidoscopic romance that stays strong with your relationship over time.
The two sides of releasing a relationship are when you need to leave and when your partner needs to leave.
This article looks at the two sides of breaking up in relationships.
When Your Partner Leaves
Occasionally we get a call where a person is trying to fix a broken relationship beyond repair. Where one person is left holding the ghost of another soul.
No single answer can truly give the person what their heart most yearns for… true love from a person who truly has left.
People look for answers, answers to explain everything… But at times the answers found can never be complete or worse really are never full. No answer I can write could force or bring back another person who truly has left. Worse all answers feel hollow since all the person has left is the void left behind by their lost love.
To those who have truly lost their love or partner, it isn’t possible to get them back in guilt, tears, bleeding hearts, holding old memories nor torn bits of soul… All these methods create false stories that erode quickly with time. Answering your loss in this manner frames a life to be doomed in embracing emptiness.
Until the time they choose to come back of their own heart, you must take care of yourself, must work to becoming stronger and finding personal answers how best to move ahead with your life. No answers will makes the next steps easier, but you still must take the steps to move ahead. Live with those who do care and find a life your heart can embrace so even if they don’t come back you have a life worth living. Don’t ever punish yourself for the other person leaving and don’t lash out in hate or pain since this only reflects back to wound your own heart.
At times pain is the answer that is left to us.
At times we must face that pain
to not embrace but to rather release that pain
so we can move beyond it.
No “one” answer removes the pain of this situation. So then release it with small steps, in small bits, like crumbs to decay with time. I can tell a person to move ahead, and to rebuild a better life, a better life because you make it your own life. This answer isn’t dependent on your former partner and it is the answer you must follow, because no matter what other people may do, this answer at least helps you live a better life. More importantly, this gives a person something to embrace eventually: themselves.
At the time of loss, this answer is the hardest one of all to accept since it does feel the emptiest. As the person can’t feel their own soul yet.
But this is the path of healing, a healing release…
Release in the end is the only answer that truly works for all.
Release opens up the possibility other people can come back freely. However, more importantly release is also the only answer that gives you your own freedom to live your life without pain.
Here is the secret to making it all work:
Release and how to live to that release will be a series of hundreds of smaller answers you cobble together over a period of a few years… that creates a new life.
Release in the end isn’t a single answer, but countless smaller steps… that become your life. A New and whole life.
You won’t see it now, but if you walk this path, you will come to a new point, a new life with wholeness that you will accept as a good life again.
So the truth is, it doesn’t matter who leaves first in a relationship. Each person has the right to veto a relationship. Once one person leaves, the other person should respond in kind to make the separation process kind. So this leads naturally into our next section of the article.
When You Need to Leave
Learning how to release is a powerful tool to help a person reorganize their life. By definition a relationship is to resist release. As a result it’s hard to release a relationship, when a relationship has reached its natural separation point. This contradiction causes all sorts of problems. All too many people breaking up use negative habits to break their relationship in a harmful manner. This type of break up causes all sorts of spiritual problem later to resolve in life.
There is a much better way to do this all: Focus the relationship back to friendship and use kindness(Essence) to guide your steps.
The Process of Letting Go
Relationships evolve over time. A bad relationship is when the needs within the relationship have changed but the relationship itself is stuck in older patterns. If a relationship doesn’t change over time to fit those involved: then either the people inside will be unhappy or over the longer term the relationship will break.
As a result I teach how to release misconceptions holding back or harming the relationship.
The process of release is tricky. People often think they only have to release one thing… Yet most times release is a larger process of releasing several co-dependent factors. This is why release is difficult. If you don’t release fully, then other hidden problems will surface and seemingly drag you back to the original problem.
Lets look at a specific example of when a relationship is experiencing a break up. Breaking up is of course an extreme form of release.
Is your marriage alive and well, or is it time to dial 911? Chances are the health of your relationship falls somewhere in the middle — slightly out of shape and tired. Unfortunately most of us tend to take the health of a marriage for granted. And we don’t realize how important a happy, healthy relationship is until it’s time for marital CPR.
Maintaining personal health requires work — exercise, good nutrition, rest and regular checkups. No one teaches us that the same kind of maintenance is also necessary in order to keep a marriage alive. Love between a parent and child is unconditional. Love between a husband and wife is not. As divorce statistics would indicate, an untended marriage falls apart too easily. The good news is that there are ways to make a marriage survive, and better yet, thrive.
Your Marital Diagnosis
There are warning signs or “symptoms” when your marriage is “under the weather.” Here are some key symptoms:
- feelings of chronic resentment toward your spouse
- lack of laughter between the two of you
- desire to spend free time with someone other than your mate
- too much time spent playing the “blame game”
- conversations between you are laced with bitterness and sarcasm
Relationship Revival Program
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revive your marriage by following this program.
- Make the marriage your priority, not an afterthought. Set aside regular time to be alone with your partner. If kids are in the picture, hunt for a “network” of trusted babysitters. If money is a concern, compare the cost of a night out with that of marital therapy or a divorce attorney! Get the drift? Start doing some of the things that used to bring you joy, and helped you to feel more connected. There are plenty of activities that you can do for free — a long walk, star gazing or window-shopping are all simple pleasures that can bring you closer together.
- Resuscitate your romance. Remember how the sparks flew when you first met? It’s probably not too late to rekindle the embers. Surprise your spouse with a homemade Valentine (any day of the year!) and a bottle of champagne. Light up the bedroom with candles, or put a love note in his briefcase. Last but not least, initiate lovemaking. Passion is the glue in a marriage — it helps you feel close to your mate, and makes getting through rough times a lot easier.
- Accept what you can’t change. Much marital strife is caused by the belief that you cannot be happy in your marriage as long as you must live with your partner’s bad habits or imperfections. Have you noticed that no matter how much you gripe and moan, these things don’t change? Rather than trying to control what you can’t, work around his quirks and focus on the positive. We all respond much better to praise than to criticism. And here’s the paradox: Sometimes when we stop fighting the way things are, they actually do change. No guarantees, but it’s worth a try.
- Be attractive, inside and out. “Married” doesn’t have to mean complacent. Continue to learn and experience new things, and share these with your partner. Eat right, exercise, rest and make the most of your appearance. Doing these things is taking good care of yourself, but it’s also a way of showing your mate that you want to be your best and share yourself with him.
- Improve communication and negotiation skills. Being a good listener is key to healthy communication. Even if you don’t agree with what he’s had to say, empathize with his position. This will open the door to more effective conflict resolution. If you must be critical, convert criticism into a request for behavioral change by stating it positively. Most important, apologize when you are wrong.
For many of us, mental health is a difficult subject to talk about. When someone has a mental health issue, it can be hard to understand what’s going on, or to know how to talk to them.
But mental health issues can affect relationships with those closest to us, like friends, family, and partners. So, if your partner has a mental health issue, it can be helpful to know what to do.
This article is designed to give you some tips on how to support your partner. It is not a replacement for professional support and, if you are at all concerned, you should consult a doctor or mental health professional as soon as possible.
Depending on the issue, and the severity of the symptoms, mental health issues can lead to changes in behaviour and even personality changes. If your partner is going through something like this, it can be hard to know where to start.
But, with a few simple changes, and some good communication, you can be a real support and can help your partner through the most difficult period – alongside any professional support.
Why is it so tough for a partner?
When your partner is dealing with a mental health issue, the stress can start to take its toll on you too. You may notice difficulties starting to show in your relationship, particularly with communication and support .
Your partner might be feeling sad, tearful, irritable, and exhausted, often for long periods of time. You may also notice changes in appetite and sleeping patterns, and a tendency to withdraw socially. Your partner may also lose interest in things you usually enjoy doing together, including sex .
Your partner’s concentration may also be affected, making it hard for them to enjoy even simple activities like watching TV. As a result of all this, you, the partner, can start to feel depleted too.
But there’s lots you can do to help. Even small behaviour changes can make a big difference. Little things like cooking a healthy meal together; making sure your partner gets to bed on time and gets up in the morning; or going for a walk with your partner, can help .
You could even put together a diary of positive experiences and things you are both grateful for. This is a very simple idea and it can really help you look for the positive moments in your day. It will also give you a reminder of good experiences to look back over, which can be particularly helpful if your partner is struggling to see the bright side .
What part can you play in your partner’s recovery?
You’ll naturally want to do the best for your partner and help them wherever you can. What’s really important is that you consider the long term as well as the short term.
While it might be tempting to protect your partner by taking on extra responsibilities and helping them to avoid difficult social situations, this could actually end up being more damaging in the long term.
Keeping up regular activities can help your partner maintain a level of independence that they risk losing if they become over-reliant on you. Visiting family and friends can help your partner to maintain important social ties, and even find solutions to practical problems . Ask your partner how much support they need but err on the side of encouraging them to stay active.
How do you improve communication?
Good communication becomes particularly important when your partner is struggling with a mental health issue. Research shows that attacking or challenging your partner’s behaviour could make them feel even worse, leading them to become more withdrawn and less confident in their ability to improve things .
Try the following tips to improve communication:
- Drop your judgements. Set aside any preconceptions you have about mental illness so you can approach conversations with an open mind.
- Hold the space. Encourage your partner to talk about their experiences. Let them know you’re there for them.
- Listen. This means listening actively to what your partner is saying, and not thinking about what you are going to say next.
- Acknowledge their feelings. Let your partner know you’ve heard and understood them. Sometimes it’s helpful to repeat back to them what you think you’ve heard so they know you’ve really understood.