Change Your Relationship by Changing Yourself

 

When your relationship is in trouble it’s a common mistake to look at your partners behavior. Unfortunately, when your in conflict the last person you want pointing out your flaws is the person your having conflict with. When you tell them what they are doing wrong it’s likely to feel like criticism and blame. A far better idea is to take a look inward. I often ask couples to tell me the things “I” do that contribute to our conflict. It can be a guess or it can be something their partner already told them. It’s critical to take a look at your own behavior because you have 100% control over changing and altering your own behaviors. The next step is to offer solutions or suggestions for solutions. Ask would it help if I _____?

Most importantly do not observe your partners behavior and make guesses about why they do whatever they are doing that causes you pain. People tend to jump to conclusions and make incorrect guesses that their partners behaviors are a reflection of how they feel about them. Keep in mind that your partners behaviors are more about them than their feelings for you. The only person who might know why your partner does something is your partner. If you need to know the why, you need to ask your partner and then believe them when they tell you.

Even more important than the why is the what now. If you try to solve problems in your relationship by focusing on why something isn’t working your focus becomes the problem. If you truly want things to get better try focussing on the what if I. Asking What if I do _____ ? Would that help? Offering proposals for solutions is the best way to fix the problems in your relationship.

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