I received a lot of feedback after a recent post…
About the importance of dating in a relationship. Some good and some not so good. Which led to another post. We simply must talk about our relationships and start doing things differently.
Before I address the negative, I do want to highlight some of the good stuff. First of all, there are people out there nurturing their relationships! I made a post on Facebook asking for date night ideas and got immediate feedback with a lot of “likes” and “ideas”. I found it heart warming that there are couples out there who have weekly dates nights and are making time for adventure and connection amongst the chaos of daily life. It seemed people were excited to share how they connect with their loved ones. This gave me hope because unfortunately my husband and I are hearing from too many couples who are struggling.
In my last post, I highlighted 10 reasons you need to date your spouse. The reasons should sell themselves, however, here are some messages I received after the post:
“I can’t even look at my spouse, how are we supposed to go on a date together?”
“Can you fix my marriage? Our therapist isn’t working!”
“We have nothing in common. I don’t know what we would even talk about!”
Oh I remember these days. The days that my husband and I barely spoke to each other. We slept in separate bedrooms and our discussions revolved around who was picking up the kids from daycare. We slammed doors and avoided each other as much as possible. When one of us tried to connect, the other stubbornly rejected or found fault. We eventually tried therapy, which unfortunately made things worse.
Here are 3 main reasons why marriage therapy didn’t work:
- Focused on the negative – My husband and I went into therapy and all we did was focus on what was wrong with our relationship. This is the quickest way to destroy it. We would sit in a room and list off all the faults we found in the other person. How is this productive? When our time was up, we would leave and fight even more. This is the exact opposite of what you did when you fell in love. Remember when you first met and all you did was talk about how amazing their were?
- You can’t change people – Session after session we grew more frustrated. Why? Because we were both losing a battle that can never be won. You simply can not change anyone. The only person you can change is yourself and your perspective. We spent too much time and energy wasted on trying to change and control someone when we could have been focusing on bettering ourselves as individuals because that was the root problem. Both of us needed to go inward and heal old woulds and practice self-care. It is not your spouses’ job to make you happy, that is an inside job.
- No role model and wrong techniques – It was extremely difficult to take relationship advice from someone who wasn’t in a successful relationship. Our therapists failed to hold a space of hope and possibility for us. They too needed to be on the other side of the chair. The techniques they utilized were indeed solution-focused, however, it is was very difficult to communicate with someone who was your trigger. Often, the person we love triggers old wounds within us that need to be healed. We needed an approach that would reveal that the issue we have with our spouse was actually reflecting back what we needed to heal within ourselves.
So how does one fix a relationship?
By fixing yourself. That is the basis of our Transformation 101 class. However, that doesn’t mean you neglect your relationship in the process. My husband and I came to the realization that we each needed to do some self-exploration and healing. (Mind you this did not happen at the same time – I started the process and he followed reluctantly, LOL) Anyway, one thing we did agree on was trying something different – because what we were doing wasn’t working. That’s when the concept of dating came up. Now let me tell you, I am probably as stubborn as you get and the idea of “dating” my husband who I was barely speaking to at the time was not something I was thrilled about.
I love a challenge but this was a tough one to face. We eased into the process by taking one obstacle at a time and through this challenge we found victory. We were able to piece things back together, little by little and become one again.
We have continued to tackle obstacles and grow together as a couple. We make our relationship our priority and nurture it daily. We decided we needed to share our process and that is why we created our 101 class. However, to get people started we are offering you a FREE “Date Your Mate” Challenge…a “12 Dates Til’ Christmas Challenge”. 12 dates that will help knock down walls and come back together again.
What the “Date Your Mate” Challenge will help you with:
- Communication – We had forgotten how to have a conversation and if we did we were screaming at each other. How are we supposed to go on a date? Our solution – don’t talk. Yes, we created a date night that focused less on talking and more on “being” with each other because that was what was lacking. This date taught us to be in the moment, to be calm, and to notice the comfort we were missing that was available for us.
- Falling in love – Everything we had done was making us fall more out of love. The dates in this challenge helped us fall back in love. They reminded us of why we were together in the first place.
- Spontaneity – We lived in a hamster wheel. It was like the movie, “Groundhog’s Day”…same thing every day. Same arguments, same routine, same everything! We learned to try new things, be adventurous, and get out of the box!
- Seeing the Good – We stopped focusing on what was wrong and started focusing on what was right. We saw each other through new lenses and focused on gifts, talents, passions, and positives!
- Dreams & Goals – We started to dream together, make plans, and have things to look forward to. We reflected on all we had accomplished to help us appreciate the present and prepare for the future.
I have come to realize that all the struggles I have faced are put in my way so I can find solutions and share with others. This challenge is a start towards connection. Albert Einstein once said:
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.
If you are wanting something to change in your relationship, try something different. It can’t hurt you. It can only lead you closer to where you need to be. I invite you to try these 12 dates which have helped not only my husband and I but our clients as well. Click here to join the challenge!