Is It Time To Spring Clean Your Relationship?
Spring has finally arrived and it may be an ideal time to give your relationship a bit of an overhaul and spring clean...
We all get lazy in relationships and if you've been together a long time it's likely you have some bad habits that are creating a disconnection in the way you relate and which will directly impact the love you feel for your partner.
So today I'm going to share the 4R's that kill a relationship, I remember reading about this a long time ago in a book by Dr Barbara De'Angelis.
THE FIRST "R" IS FOR RESISTANCE:
Resistance can start early on in a relationship, due to a lack of confidence in yourself and a deep desire to be accepted. It's when you don't speak up, hide your feelings or you take what someone says's personally and start to withdraw.
Other times it can become a habit when you've been together for a long time, you might have noticed or interpreted your partner as being critical, judgemental, unkind or not interested in what you're saying and so you start to restrict your behaviour or the way you share your thoughts and feelings. The trouble with resistance is it creates distance as you start to move further away from intimacy and this in turn leads to the second R.
THE SECOND "R"IS FOR RESENTMENT
Resentment eats away at your relationship, it's like a cancer that starts to erode the love you feel for your partner and the primary reason is this; Resentment is built up anger and a sense of unfairness. The more resentful a person becomes, the more they start to focus on what's "wrong" with the other person or relationship.
Our perception of the other person becomes distorted, as we disown our own part in the relationship break down or lack of communication and in turn we become overly critical, judgemental, obtuse and difficult. We start to create even more distance as we rationalise our behaviour to ourselves and very often in collusion with our friends or family.
YOUR RELATIONSHIP NOW LACKS INTIMACY, CONNECTION & HONESTY AND UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING NOW, STAGE 3 IS INEVITABLE
THE THIRD "R" = REJECTION
This naturally is the most damaging stage, as you slowly start to reject your partner. A typical way this shows up in relationships is through sex or complete lack of it. It's difficult to feel attracted to our partner when we have built up resentments.
If your partner has constantly belittled, criticised, dismisses your efforts, doesn't listen to you or your point of view etc then over time this will drive a wedge between you will either be acting out passively by having physical or emotional affairs, rejecting their efforts of sex with you. It's very likely that you're always arguing or disagreeing with each other. You may be fantasing about leaving them or what life would be without them and/or is often the case you are pretty much doing your own thing and living separate lives.
YOU'RE NOW IN THE DANGER ZONE
THE 4TH "R": REPRESSION
If you have ever seen Gone With The Wind with Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler, then this line sums it up completely. When you hit repression, you "simply don't give a damn" anymore, you are so emotionally disconnected with your partner, that you're no longer interested in doing anything to revive the relationship.
Depending on your partner, this will either play out in such a way that you're both living completely separate lives and in many instances, especially if you have children you will convince yourself "that the situation is okay for the sake of the children". You will be numb emotionally and sexually (unless of course you're having a relationship outside the marriage) and this will affect other areas of your life.
It's likely that you have stopped arguing and pretty much ignore each other, communicating via email or text or only when really necessary. You might be depressed, over-eating or using alcohol or drugs to numb yourself emotionally.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
1. RECOGNISE THAT CHANGE STARTS WITH TAKING RESPONSIBILITY
The only way you're going to change your current situation, is by deciding to take 100% responsibility for your own happiness and how you show up in your relationship. Whichever stage you're at, you have to decide that you want to change it and that you want to take responsibility for your part in the breakdown and disconnection.
It's only when you do this, can you really begin to reclaim your emotional power and begin to use any negative feelings you have in a powerful way to instigate change. Most people don't do anything because they are fearful of the future.
2. IT'S TIME TO GET REAL
I've always said that the biggest destroyer of relationships, is our inability to be honest with our partners... and with ourselves. Emotional intimacy starts with honesty and an ability to share our truth without fear of being judged or punished.
If you want to spring clean your relationship, start by looking at your judgements. Guaranteed, you will be making judgements about your partner and yourself (we all do it). Decide to be COMPASSIONATELY kind to yourself, and write out what you're making wrong about the other person, then ask yourself, "What is this reflecting back to me? what am I here to learn from this? What is this relationship showing me about how I give my power away?"
All these questions are based on the premise that ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH... which is a spiritual law.
3. PRACTICE FORGIVENESS
What do you need to forgive in yourself and your partner. Forgiveness includes the act of letting go, seeing the good in other person and releasing resentments. This isn't always easy and I recommend using a forgiveness meditation, (click link to download). It can be something we have to do daily, weekly etc depending on where we are with the 4 R's and also on what our judgements and resentments are about and how long they have been going on.
It's a good idea to get help with a coach or professional if you are unable to do this on your own.
4. ASK YOUR HEART, WHAT IS THE TRUTH ABOUT THIS SITUATION
Connect with your heart, and ask for guidance, ask what truth is being revealed to you about yourself and your relationship. You are far more powerful than you think. Often we unconsciously believe we're powerless, incapable, not enough and we actually ignore the whisper of our intuition or inner wisdom. Decide to stop doing that.
Take a moment to tune in to your truth and discover the real lesson here. You will be guided.
5. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR PARTNER
If you have done the first 4 steps, and feel that you have reached some understanding or a shift in perspective about your relationship, then set aside some time to talk with your partner. BE BRAVE, if necessary write down what you want to say or talk about, and set the intention to have a loving conversation. Obviously depending on where you are in the 4 R's will depend on how difficult this conversation will be and if you need the assistance of a coach or professional.
Decide that you deserve to have love in your life and that the old way of relating isn't working for you.