As a relationship coach, I work with caring, intelligent couples who came together as passionate soulmates, but now can’t stop fighting. I help them find rock-solid love and connection with each other for life.
How do we do that?
I’d like to share some of the basics, so if you’re stuck in a relationship that’s a sucky roller-coaster of ups and downs and tensions, you can try to fix it yourself.
Here’s the good news: from an energetic perspective, the conflicts in your relationship are actually developmental tests which you have attracted to yourself from the deepest part of your unconscious—as opportunities to set yourself free from your own spiritual and emotional limitations.
This is true for both of you; it is the shadow side of the force which pulled you together.
As you successfully meet these challenges, you evolve into the most fulfilling, joyful and creative expression of your life, and are able to realize your highest potential for love and authenticity.
So if you and your partner are fighting all the time, or always walking on eggshells – if you’re both just bringing out the worst in each other – it could actually mean that with some effort, you are on the verge of achieving what we therapists call self-actualization – and also of co-creating a deep and substantial love relationship.
Or it could just mean that it’s time to move on.
It all depends on one thing: are both of you ready to really do what it takes – or not?
Adult love relationships come in an infinitely beautiful variety of expressions, but these basic, foundational principles are powerfully effective across-the-board.
Step One: Get Clear
Get very clear, within yourself, as to why you are in this relationship. Know exactly what you want.
Let me suggest this as your explicit goal: a relationship that is a joyful, loving union of two soulmates, which fills your life with warmth and radiance and inner strength, and inner peace.
Does that sound about right?
Good—then claim it! It is real. It is doable!
It is not a fantasy; it is what we all long for, deep in our hearts. And we are all equipped to create it.
Once you’ve got that straight, then you’re ready for the next step.
Step Two: Resolve
Resolve to yourself that you will do what it takes to create this – no matter how difficult it may get – as long as you are not being emotionally or physically abused.
This has to be a conscious decision, because some of the challenges will be hard. You will be changing deeply ingrained habits of being, so if you don’t set this intention and stay committed to it – well, you probably just won’t do it.
The good news is, if you actually meet these challenges, they will eventually dissolve into nothing, and your entire life will become easier and more joyful than it has ever been. This is because the deeper you go into this process, the more power you gain over your own thoughts, emotions, and circumstances. The more you do this work, the more unconditional support you will feel from your partner; the more you will respect each other, and the more you will respect yourself.
Eventually – if you stick with it – both of you will end up feeling like you are overflowing with love, from the inside out. This is one of the secret benefits of reaching for this goal.
Step Three: Agree
Have an actual discussion with your partner, where the two of you agree that this is what you both want, and are willing to work for.
So what specifically are you agreeing on in this conversation? Here’s a starter suggestion, just off the top of my head:
“Baby, I want us to be best friends and lovers who completely trust each other and feel amazing and safe and intimate with each other.”
Feel the passion and vulnerability of that statement.
That’s the whole point: that you share your deepest longings with each other. It is that depth and vulnerability that will set the foundation for you to really connect with each other; to have faith in the relationship.
This creates trust and understanding, so you each can have confidence that you know where the other is coming from. Otherwise, in those moments when the two of you have different situational needs, and conflict arises, you won’t feel as if you can trust your partner’s intentions. You will both go into self-protective mode, rather than problem-solving as a team.
However, if you have committed to each other that you want the same thing, then that becomes a “north star” that you can trust to navigate through every situation.
Step Four: Agree Again—No Eggshells!
Agree with your partner that the two of you can talk about anything—with respect, care, and gentle openness. If there are “off-limits” or “eggshell” topics in your relationship, than you will never have the safety and intimacy you long for.
Step Five: Unconditionally Love, Accept, and Celebrate
Resolve to unconditionally loving, accepting, and appreciating your partner. These are essential foundations of a healthy relationship.
Understand it from your own vantage point: when it comes to your intimate partner, who you are physically and emotionally naked with, the only thing you want is unconditional love and acceptance, whatever your quirks or flaws.
Anything else really hurts your feelings—and of course that goes both ways, right?
This does not mean that you and your partner shouldn’t change and improve—it means you don’t judge each other along the way; you only offer support and respect.
That is the how change will happen anyway. Criticism will actually prevent change, by shifting the focus from self-improvement to fear (of you) and self-loathing.
It is also the case that either of you may have things about yourself that you can’t change, or don’t want to. A worthy partner is one who accepts you completely (as long as those things aren’t selfish or abusive).
Perhaps there are differences in interests, energy, lifestyle, education, opinion – your relationship will only work when you can completely embrace who your partner is, and vice-versa.
Stop assuming that your way is the “right” way, and learn what life looks like from their point of view – and care about their experience.
Or else—be fair, and go elsewhere. Remember, the relationship will only work if the two of you truly enjoy and respect each other.
It is amazing how beautiful your hearts feel when you let go of old ways of thinking, and not only accept, but celebrate each other.
Step Six: Reframe
When you start to fight, treat it like a misunderstanding—because it is!
If the two of you have committed to caring for each other, and accepting each other, and communicating with each other, and creating an amazing relationship, than anything which threatens that must be a misunderstanding.
When the two of you start to fight, it is because on the most primitive developmental level of consciousness, each of you has the perception that something you need is threatened—like love, or safety, or support.
Each of you wants reassurance, and is waiting for the other to make the first move.
Why don’t you make it you? Here’s how:
Step Seven: Take It Easy—and Explore
First, choose to speak and act with calm, gentle, and patient energy.
The bottom line is, if you are fighting, you perceive each other’s energy as violent – an attack, even if it’s a quiet or snarky passive-aggressive attack. Even if it’s truly a misunderstanding.
That’s what fighting is in romantic relationships: defending against an attack (and so often, one partner feels like they are “defending” themselves, while the other still perceives them as attacking).
This sense of threat occurs on an energetic level – the words don’t matter as much as the tone of voice and physical presence of the speaker.
That is why you must both take responsibility for communicating in a gentle way – even if you feel “attacked.”
Then, when you become aware that you are starting to fight, flip the script – think of your partner as being in pain, find the place inside yourself that cares about their pain, and let them know that you care and they are safe.
Say to your partner, in a gentle, caring tone: “I care about how you feel right now. I don’t ever want you to feel badly in this relationship. And I don’t want to feel bad either. It doesn’t matter that we see things differently right now. Let’s figure out how we can problem-solve this together.”
This will feel hard to do at first. You will want to lash out, right back at them – but remember your commitment to the relationship. Remember that you can trust your partner; the two of you are just blinded by emotion right now.
What you will find, if you take responsibility for being gentle and kind, is that your partner will do the same thing for you. Maybe right away, or maybe after they calm down. But eventually, they will come around.
You will both feel so much better about each other—and about yourselves. This sweet, mature vibe will become an energy you share, that builds on itself.
And if the two of you continue to apply these principles throughout your relationship, you will reach the level of love, trust, and intimacy that we have all longed for; that has waited deep in your heart for its time to come, ever since you felt your very first crush, all those years ago.
You will discover that you have everything you need to create the relationship of your dreams—your partner and you!
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