How to Get Positive Results In Your Relationship

We all have different stories in our heads about how secure or satisfying our relationships are. It’s common for one person to be satisfied while the other isn’t. That’s why it’s important to know how to get positive results in your relationship.

Some of us take pride in managing our money and then later found out a check bounced. Or we’ve balanced the checkbook and then discovered we spent more on the eating out category than budgeted.

Using another example, have you believed you were eating well, then were surprised the scales registered 10 pounds more than expected? Have you written down everything you ate? Then saw you were taking in many more calories than you were actually burning?

Uncertainty in Your Relationship

Many couples enter counseling with a lot of uncertainty. One is usually dragged in by the other.

One person says, “We need help.”

The other says, “We’re doing fine. . . We can work this out on our own. . .We’re not as bad off as you think.”

It makes sense that couples who detect problems in their relationship, on average, wait an additional six years before they get help.

Tiger/Turtle Syndrome in Your Relationship

It’s very common for one spouse to minimize and the other maximize. I call it the “Turtle/Tiger” syndrome.

Unsplash Photo

Turtles typically hide in their shells and avoid conflict or accuse their partners of blowing things out of proportion.

Turtles tend to see things “not as bad” as they really are. Tigers, on the other hand, roar and persist until they are heard. Many times they DO see things worse than they are.

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Consider Charting Patterns In Your Relationship

A couple years ago, I created The Partnership Pattern chart which helps you keep track of both positive and negative behaviors in your relationship.

For those who like to check things off, it can be a great way to balance the check book of your relationship. All you have to do is observe, experience, and rate measurable items that are going on now in your relationship.

But after I created the chart, I hesitated to share it. Why? I’m glad you asked.

  1. The tendency is to focus our attention on what our partner is doing wrong rather than what we are doing wrong. What we choose to focus on, we’ll find. Yet, it’s vital we don’t ignore clear behaviors that minimize our dignity. Generally, if you look for the positive behaviors, you’re likely to find them. And, of course those negative behaviors scream for your attention.
  2. Normally, we don’t realize how our own responses and reactions invite negativity from our partner. We’re paving the way to get the things we don’t want. Most relationships follow the law of reciprocity. But we need to be aware when the character of the relationship isn’t reciprocal.
  3. Filling out the chart objectively may reveal serious relationship issues such as emotional, mental, or physical abuse. Don’t hesitate to get immediate help if you’re living in fear or danger.

Here’s why I’m offering The Partnership Pattern chart anyway.

Get Clarity in Your Relationship

It’s vital we don’t ignore clear behaviors and attitudes that minimize our dignity.

If you could be honest with yourself, it can be revealing about how to get positive results in your relationship. And get the help that you may be minimizing.

Ideally, it’s great for both Tigers AND Turtles to participate. But if the Turtle in your life is still hiding, you Tigers will have a great outlet for grounding in reality.

The idea is to check off what you experienced most in the relationship that day. Do it every day for one month and get a clear picture of what you need, whether it’s a marriage enrichment weekend or crisis intervention with your local counselor. Know where your relationship stands.

Sign up for your free Partnership Pattern chart.

Or, Sign up for your free 20 minute consultation.


The Secret to a Healthy Relationship Is Not What You Think

The secret to a healthy relationship is not what you think. What do most people say? You guessed it. Communication with a capital “C.” But communication is not the secret to healthy relationships. Click here for audio version. 

Once you know the difference between communication and dialogue you’ll agree. Dialogue is the real secret to a healthy relationship. And it’s not natural.

Dialogue is the real secret to a healthy relationship. And it's not natural. Click To Tweet

Normal communication can easily turn into power/control situations.

If you were a compliant kid growing up, then you may be like me. You’re easily persuaded.

I have no problem buying products online. I’ve listened to webinars and taken more online classes than I can count. Marketers convince us there’s a limited time only, or the price will never be this low again. Persuasion is a powerful communication method.

If you’re naturally strong-willed, you won’t be easily persuaded. Instead, you spend hours of research before purchases. You’re skeptical of marketers and you have no trouble with being assertive.

Because you’re so confident, your conversations can mimic a sales pitch without realizing it. You might even be able to sell and snowball to an Eskimo.

In relationship, one person is great at persuasion while the other is easily influenced. The compliant one buys the “bill of goods” and later, has buyer’s regret. After time, this communication pattern in intimate relationships feel manipulative. Trust is weakened and isolation replaces connection.

Communication patterns feel manipulative when you try to convince the other person. Click To Tweet

Every one of us desire to be heard and understood in our intimate relationships. That’s why we need to know dialogue.

What Relationship Dialogue is not:

Dialogue is not debate.

Some of us know what it’s like to be on a debate team in high school. We’ve all watched political debates. Neither party is open to the other’s viewpoint. Their only purpose is to win the hearers over to their side. One ends up being a winner and the other a loser.

When marital communication is a debate, one spouse loses. Who wants to sleep with a loser? In reality, both lose.

Dialogue is not discussion.

Some of us call arguing “heated discussions.” Both people try to change the other’s mind, or belief, or behavior. Neither one is listening to the other.

Think of the suffix of the word discussion and how it’s similar to concussion. Discussion is to a relationship as a football player is to a head injury.  One person suffers.

What Relationship Dialogue is: 

Dialogue is a form of communication in which two people walk away feeling heard, understood, and validated. It requires skills of listening. Dialogue is two people willing to slow down and hear what the other is saying.

Dialogue is a form of communication in which two people walk away feeling heard, understood, and validated. Click To Tweet

It requires two people willing to bring attitudes of openness, growth and curiosity. They desire to honor the others’ differences.

Dialogue seems to happen naturally early on in a romantic relationship. Both are curious and open with the other. Over time, attitudes change. Dialogue eventually migrates to debate or discussion.

Secrets to a Healthy Relationship 

Whether you’re a master at persuasion or can buy anything online, it’s crucial to learn dialogue. We now realize the secret to a healthy relationship is not communication with a capital “C.”  It’s dialogue which takes a special skill of listening. Dialogue is the superglue that holds us together. Dialogue connects us in our desire to be seen, heard, and understood.

Three Choices in your next step to a Healthy Relationship

  1. Go to my FaceBook page to watch short videos about dialogue.
  2. Answer this question and comment on this post: Are you assertive or easily influenced in your relationship?
  3. Sign up for a free 20 minute consultation to begin learning dialogue skills.


Be Your Partner's Hero - Listen

How To Be Your Partner’s Hero – Listen

Here’s how to be your partner’s hero, listen.

My husband and I are just as imperfect as any couple. But I must say, he is my hero.

It’s not easy being married to a relationship therapist.

I’ve never been married to one, but my husband and others have said it’s not easy.  Although he and I have been married nearly eight years, I have more than 35  years of marital experience.

Not only have I spent my entire adult life trying to make marriage work, I’ve studied it, gotten my degrees around it, professionally developed it, and practically eat, sleep, and breathe efforts into creating and nurturing healthy relationships.

The challenge is that my husband has been a single man most of his adult life. You can only imagine what it might be like for him to be married to a professional relationship therapist.

But here we are, very ordinary, passionate, intense, different, and similar. In all the messiness of our lives, I must say that he’s my hero.

Here’s why my husband is my hero.

He sat through another relationship therapist’s office and did an amazing thing. He stayed with me during a heart-felt, yet difficult dialogue. He could have walked away. But he stayed.

A short youtube video called, “It’s Not About The Nail” shows a couple on a couch, struggling to communicate. When the guy points out that she has a nail in her head, she reacts.

She just wants him to listen. He tries so hard to just listen as she talks about her headaches and snagged sweaters and how difficult it is for her. She just can’t understand.

He struggles to just sit. He tries hard to listen empathically and give her loving eye contact.

That’s what my husband did for me. Only I didn’t have a nail in my head.

Being listened to is the most remarkable feeling we can ever have as human beings. Click To Tweet

I believe we’re designed by God for deep emotional connection in our marriages. When our spouse really hears our longings and desires, our love tank is full.

The way to be your partner’s hero is to listen. 

  • If what you’re hearing from your spouse seems as crazy as a nail in her head, instead just listen.
  • If you’re on the verge of telling her what the problem is, instead just listen.
  • When it takes every ounce of your being to refrain from fixing, instead just listen.

You’ll soon discover that the nail is something much deeper than what the cute video clip shows. It takes a willingness to understand. Be willing to assume your spouse makes sense, even if it looks like a silly nail to you. Allow those crazy feelings to be heard. Those “unrealistic” feelings are likely to be replaced with  remarkable feelings of connection with you.

One simple way to be your partner’s hero is to continue listening.

Our lives are always changing and our love tanks need daily filling. This requires a daily habit of listening. Seeking to understand.

When our love tank is full we have motivation throughout the day. We have a sparkle in our eyes for each other. Our differences are not so threatening. We laugh and play. For my husband and I, we dance.

And it’s not about the nail.

Questions to Ponder

How full (or empty) is your love tank now?

What can you do to make sure you listen?

What’s the next step for you?

The skill of listening doesn’t come natural for most of us. Consider the next step for you to create connection beyond conflict and be your partner’s hero. Sign up for a free consultation to find out what best fits your needs.

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