Fixing a relationship is much easier when you commit to these three things.
Make a Commitment to Fix Your Relationship
Most people come to me for one of three reasons. They either want to move on after the ending of a relationship, they want to prepare themselves for a new relationship, or they want to know how to fix a relationship they're in.
The steps are the same for all three circumstances, they're just applied differently. Today, we're going to focus on how to fix a relationship.
Your relationship didn't get "broken" overnight, right? Most relationships need fixing because of a long series of choices that span many months or years. What's important to know about this is that you'll need to fix your relationship in the same manner — many choices over a period of time. This should give you hope, because consciously choosing your actions gives you the power to change your circumstances. That's what you want, right?
The first step you need to take is to commit to the process of fixing your relationship. You must acknowledge right from the beginning that learning how to fix a relationship takes time. Answer this question:
Are you willing to invest the time it will take to to have your new choices fix your relationship?
If you are, then ask your partner the same question.
Don't get discouraged, you can fix your relationship if you're the only one making changes. You just need to be willing to let it go if the changes you make don't bring the results you want. You can't change your partner, but your partner will likely change as you do.
Oh, this isn't so easy! Even if you're both in. Why? Because you have water under the bridge, and it can be easy to bring the result of old choices into the present. Resist that! You must be in the present moment dealing with now, not yesterday.
I love the scene in The Lion King where the wise baboon hits Simba over the head and he cries, "Hey, what was that for?" The baboon replies, "It doesn't matter, it's in the past." Blaming and shaming and pointing fingers about what happened in the past will not fix your relationship. Do it if you want to break your relationship more!
Focus on Yourself!
You absolutely must focus on yourself, but not to the exclusion of care of compassion for your partner. If you're trying to fix a longterm relationship, then it's likely you've compromised parts of yourself for the relationship. Take time to reconnect with yourself in meaningful ways. Re-discover your sacredness and how juicy you are. Breathe some life into your heart and soul. Here are some suggestions:
- Question your motives (even for wanting to know how to fix a relationship). Why do you do what you do? Why do you want what you want? Understanding this may bring you to the real reason you want to fix your relationship. It's a brave thing to do, because you may discover you don't really want to fix it after all. If you shy away from this exercise, question your motive!
- Create a personal statement of values. What do you stand for? What do you believe in? Maybe extend this to a personal mission statement with your stake firmly in the ground of who you are. Imagining what you would want someone to say about you when you're gone can help with some inspiration here. Who are you? This is part of an exercise I do with my clients when they're preparing themselves for a relationship. Well, you're in a relationship, and it's never too late to do this exercise.
Get Professional Support!
While friends can be wonderfully supportive, they can also stir the pot, creating more conflict in your relationship than you need. Having a professional neutral support person who uses proven tools and strategies is your best bet. If you're relationship is worth fixing, then it's worth the investment in getting help. Here are some suggestions:
- Find a qualified therapist that speciallizes in working with couples who want to learn how to fix a relationship.
- Work with a coach that specializes in relationship issues.
If you truly want to fix your relationship, then do everything in your power and pull out all the stops. If you've cheated on your partner and you want to save your relationship, then it's going to take a willingness on your part to re-build trust. Understand why your partner doesn't trust you, and be willing to be uncomfortable as your partner makes enormous requests of you. Fulfill them!
If you've fallen into a rut, then you'll need to dig yourelf out! Invest the time to romance each other. Take a tantra workshop together and learn how to move sexual energy between the two of you in new ways. If life has become about the kids, then leave them with grandma or a sitter. Trust me, you could invest your kids very easily on date nights if they knew the way to avoid their parents splitting up was to let them out of their sight for a weekend. They'd be begging you to leave!
While I am convinced that you can fix your relationship if you are truly committed to it, I'm aware that most people don't want to do the hard lifting. When you've hurt each other with overgrown complacency, it can be difficult to tend the garden of your heart with the necessary tools of compassion and gentleness.
Maybe you just want to give up! Sorry, it's not going to be any easier. Especially if you have kids.
Here's the deal: you might as well be absolutely sure you've given it all you've got! I mean really done everything in your power. Like being vulnerable. Like taking risks to admit you're scared. Like working with a therapist or coach.
I'm going to shamelessly promote myself now by sharing a few of my success stories. Why? Because I can help you either fix your relationship, find a way to authentically live with your decision to stay, or actually leave it with confidence you're doing the right thing and you're gonna be okay.
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