IN THIS ISSUE:
Elements Of A Great RelationshipBy David Steele
Most of us want a fulfilling lifelong partnership with someone to love and be loved by. Those that say they don't want this have usually been seriously wounded in their important relationships. They are protecting themselves, but underneath their defenses they too long for love. Through my life and my work I have come to my own understanding of relationships and how to make them work.
To be lifelong and fulfilling, a relationship must be healthy. Both persons in the relationship must be fully committed and take responsibility for themselves and the relationship. It requires effort to stay conscious and emotionally present. It takes skill to handle our insecurities without distancing our partner- initiating conflict, escaping in work, kids, friends, family, alcohol, TV, etc.- or drive them away by clinging too tight.
As we grow into adulthood our capability to function effectively in a relationship is developed and challenged. When we graduate college we do not have all the skills to succeed on a job, and when we leave our family of origin we do not have all the skills to succeed in a relationship. We must strive for self-awareness and learn the intimacy skills needed to sustain and grow a life partnership.
The following are 5 Elements of a Great Relationship:
There are no victims in the healthy adult world; you are in charge of your life and are in this relationship by choice, nobody made the choice for you. Accept your partner as he or she is. Assume he or she can not and will not change for you. Be responsible for identifying your needs and cooperating with your partner in getting them met. Your partner is not in the relationship to take care of you; his or her role is to be responsive to your needs, your role is to be responsive to his or hers.
Your partner can not make you "happy." You can not make your partner "happy." But you join forces and make happiness possible for each other by being emotionally and physically responsive, and by each of you taking full responsibility for creating your own outcomes.
Following the 5 Elements of a Great Relationship:
...will allow you to experience the love, happiness, joy, and quality of life that you deserve, and is worth your best effort!
Copyright © by David Steele and The Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
David Steele, MA, LMFT is founder of Relationship Coaching Institute.
My wife gained weight and I'm not attracted to her anymore..
I'm an active, fit guy and when I married my wife she was too. But over time she lost interest in fitness and has gained 50 pounds. She's the same woman I fell in love with but I'm no longer physically or sexually attracted to her. What should I do?
~ Tony from Rohnert Park
Martina responds ...
Thanks for your poignant question. First of all, I want to acknowledge how hard it must be for you to no longer feel attracted to the woman you dearly love. This is a very "hot topic" and caution is advised... She is very much aware of her weight increase and may feel self conscious and unattractive already. Her weight gain may have psychological as well as physical reasons (e.g. menopause). One thing that women really love, is undivided attention and presence... a man to be curious about her, to ask clarifying questions and lean towards her in an empathetic way without trying to fix or advise her. To get to the bottom of what is going on for her, wait for a good time without distractions. You may ask her some generalized questions such as: "I notice that you... (observed alarming behavior) ... and I am wondering what is going on for you?" See yourself as her team mate and ally, ready to support her in what is important to her... rather than trying to get her to change, so that you can feel better about yourself.
Martina Cornelius | www.toolsforlastinglove.com
Marian responds ...
It's valid that you want to be attracted to your wife, and it's important that you address it. If you withold sharing your thoughts and feelings to avoid conflict, you deprive your wife of the opportunity to make healthy changes and you risk losing the emotional intimacy that holds your relationship together. I suspect that the two of you got into a rut a while ago - not just because of the weight. Consider what your contribution has been to the current state of your marriage. This situation may be just the wake up call you need to re-ignite your passion. Physical and sexual attraction increase when you make each other your top priority and do fun things together. Invite her out on a date and share with each other what you love about your relationship. Then create a vision of what you want your future together to look like. Let her know that her health and fitness are big priorities for you. Be willing to tolerate a little conflict now for the future happiness of your relationship. It's possible your wife will be relieved that you are taking leadership in returning your marriage from fizzle to sizzle!
Marian Meade | www.marriagemindedcoaching.com
Barbara responds ...
If both of you were active and fit when you married, but now only you are, it's clear that something has changed. What has changed isn't quite clear, but something has. Because I don't know anything about you guys, it would be helpful to throw out these questions for you to consider as I attempt to offer feedback.
How old are you and your wife? How long ago since you married that the interest in fitness changed? Any children since you married? Have you discussed this issue with your wife? At what point did you start to lose attraction to her and what have you done to reconcile this issue?
It does not sound like she is the same woman you fell in love with. She has changed, and she would probably say the same about you. I think it would be helpful for the both of you to meet with a professional to discuss some of the issues that has caused distance between you and how this could be resolved. I think the relationship deserves this because whatever the problem is, it's not just one person, and it could help you in moving forward, wherever that might be.
Barbara A Williams| www.barbarawilliams.relationshipcoach.org/
Let's Get Real responds ...
To view Let's Get Real's response to this question in a webTV episode visit www.gettingreal.tv/my-wife-gained-weight/
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here www.relationshipcoach.org/ask-the-coach and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
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|Darlene Steele | Editor, Couple for Life News | CONTACT DARLENE
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