[Photo credit: Victor U]
Remember those books? What if we could choose the outcome of our relationships? How much control do we really have?
Quite a lot more than we realise, actually! However, timing is critical; the longer we leave issues in our relationships not dealt with, the less chance for recovery the relationship has. The average time period that couples in long term relationships wait before seeking to deal with core issues in their relationships is six years. That’s a huge amount of time to let unhappiness and unfulfillment grow.
The average time period that couples in long term relationships wait before seeking to deal with core issues in their relationships is six years.
It always comes down to choice, what do we want our relationships to be like, look like, feel like? How much are we willing to do, give, take responsibility for or change in ourselves? Obviously it’s not one sided and there will be points of no return, but six years seems like a pretty large window to affect change, if that is what we want.
I try to apply this line of thought to all of my relationships, especially with my kids (which can be challenging with teenagers) but modelling good relationships with a spouse & the importance of prioritising my own happiness to them is key for me, because I want them to learn how to find their own happiness both within and without relationship.
Research shows that there are four main things that have proven to be key predictors in relationship breakdown, with up to 94% accuracy.
- Criticism- meaning taking a problem in the relationship and stating it as a personality flaw in the other person, which then leads to the next one.
- Defensiveness- when a person feels attacked and counter attacks or plays victim. Sometimes alternating between these to create a loop. The loop can be played out by both parties simultaneously.
- Contempt- which is talking down to; saying something from a place of superiority; name calling; directly insulting; invalidating their thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc; correcting them in an argument.
- Stonewalling- this means withdrawing from the conflict; physically; verbally; emotionally; ie silence, eye contact & other body language. Often this is an attempt to calm down in the situation; however, without understanding this the other partner can feel invalidated and rejected, therefore intensifying the conflict.
All relationships have issues, we will inevitably say things we regret & do things that hurt each other, we are still human. What makes the difference is how we choose to approach the issues and the effort we are willing to put in to repairing the relationship when we do things that hurt and damage each other. Recognising our own behaviour, sharing the responsibility for any problems and having open conversation, where we take interest in the situation and our partners, instead of taking offence, could help to move from these four breakers to better relationship.
Always, love is a choice.
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