By Dr. Jack Ito
Many people feel like their relationship with their partner or spouse is stuck in neutral and going nowhere fast. They think to themselves that if only their partner would work a little on the relationship, it could be much better for the both of them. But, their partner either denies that there are any relationship problems, or blames any problems there are on the other. How can a man or woman help their relationship in such a situation?
One thing that keeps couples stuck in neutral is the idea that it takes two people to improve a relationship. It is true that it takes two to have a relationship, but either damage or improvement can be done by one person. One person having an affair, gambling away the house, or constantly criticizing their partner can do dreadful damage. One person earning trust, learning to listen, or taking time to spend with their partner can do a world of good.
Another thing that keeps couples stuck is trying to determine who started the problems in the first place. It is as though if they figured that out they could somehow go back in time and stop that person from making the mistake. Or maybe it is to lay blame. The first case is not possible and the second case is not helpful.
What holds people back from making progress and achieving success in life is the avoidance of responsibility. Telling ourselves that we need more time, more money, more help, more health, more luck, etc., before we can change our life situation is what stops us. The people who have the greatest feeling of success are the ones who climb a mountain although they have no legs, start a business although they have no money, earn a degree although they have no time, or work on their relationship although they have no help. What separates these people is a do it or die attitude and taking responsibility. They do not let any condition stop them from moving toward their goal. You can be such a person. You can be the champion for your relationship and you can start today.
To get your relationship moving forward again, relationship coaches recommend the following:
BELIEVE that you can make a healthy relationship by taking appropriate action even if your partner does not want to. What you do may determine whether or not your partner takes healthy actions. Do you believe your current inactivity is helping you or your partner to take healthy action?
STOP focusing on whose fault the problems are. Whether they were your fault or someone else’s makes no difference for moving forward. Do not waste time getting your friends to agree with you about whose fault your problems are. Successful people have more skeptics and naysayers than they do supporters. Have the guts to work on getting what you want even if others do not believe you can.
SHIFT your attention from the past to the future. What do you want your relationship to be like in 6 months? In 5 years? In 20 years? Do not be limited to what you think you can achieve. Dare to dream. This is your life and you can choose how to live it. You can fail to achieve your dreams, but if you don’t dream at all, how much will you progress?
LEARN the skills that you need to get you where you want to go. People have climbed mountains with no legs, but they had to learn to walk in a different way and practice on level ground. Get help and support from people motivated to help you reach your goals. If you need professional help, get it. Make the most of your time.
BECOME a person who would be worthy of the kind of partner and relationship that you want to have. Do not expect to get Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful before you have become wonderful yourself. Could you get a great job if you were not suited for the position? How could you expect to have a great partner if you are not one yourself? Are you willing to work on becoming the kind of person who can have such a partner?
You have done well to get where you are now. To have a better life and better relationship, you must be willing to give up old strategies. To get even further, you will need to dream new dreams, learn new skills, and take new actions. There is no one stopping you but yourself.