February 5

3 Specific Truths No Couple Can Escape

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Today, we’re going to talk about three specific truths that no couple can escape. And also what those mean for you.

Transcript

Hi, my friends. Welcome back to another episode here on marriage, on fire. So this week we’re going to talk about three specific truths that no couple can escape. And also what those mean for you.

Now I’ve decided this year to keep these episodes very short and concise, and also to the point, but also to try and be more real and honest and open with you and just share it from the heart, share with you. What I really think what I really believe. And obviously there’s a risk to this. Some people are going to like it and some people won’t, but that’s okay.

Ultimately, I want to create these episodes for people that are truly like. Well, how I think about things, how I present things, how I think about the world, how I think about relationships and those that are truly served by the views that we share on here. So if this isn’t your slice of cake and it’s not something that you like, then that’s fine, but if it is stick around and hopefully this will serve you.

So today I want to talk about three specific truths that no couple can escape. And also what those mean for you. Now I’ve come to learn this over time in my own relationship, my own marriage, as well as having worked with many couples over the years. Now, these three specific ideas, aren’t rocket science by any means whatsoever.

But I have come to understand that they are very profound. And if you are serious about creating a happy, healthy, and intimate relationship this year, you also need to start taking them far more seriously than perhaps you are right now. So let’s just dive into the three truths. Again, they’re not complicated, they’re not complex, but they are very profound.

And I think they will really serve you once you understand the implications of each of these three truths low. So let’s start with number one. Number one is that truly happy relationships don’t happen by chance or by accident. Now, this is a very profound idea because I think a lot of couples think that creating a happy relationship is something that’s either just going to show up or it’s something that’s just going to happen by chance.

So the longer we’re together, you know, they’re kind of guarantees as having a happy relationship or we’ll just sort of go, go with the flow. We’ll just wing it. We’ll just see how it goes. But the reality is is that the longer we’re together. The things that in a sense, brought us together at the start, the things that in a sense, worked in our favour tend to decline over time. That is just, if we talk about the body chemicals and the things that happen in your brain, initially that created attraction, those things tend to in a sense, normalize over time.

So if you want to enter a new phase, if you want to move beyond the let’s call it, the honeymoon phase or the infatuation stage of a relationship, which is usually the first three years or so, if you want to move beyond that into the next phase of your relationship that is filled with more companionship, more commitment, more love, deeper levels of satisfaction, and the things that a lot of couples that have been together for 50 or 60 years happily talk about, then obviously you need to understand that having a happy relationship, isn’t just going to happen by chance.

It’s not something you can just wake up one day and hope it’s going to happen all by itself. It is something that you and I consciously and actively need to work towards. If you want to create a truly happy relationship, you need to understand that it comes down to motivation, commitment, focus, consistent action, certain habits, a certain mindset and so forth, but it starts with understanding this idea that a truly happy relationship doesn’t just happen by chance or by accident.

It’s something you’ve got to make happen. Now there’s a very cool story that I can tell you to kind of illustrate this point. A couple of years ago, a couple came to see me in that there were sort of an older couple of them, but they’ve been together for a long time and their kids have left home. And so there’s just been, it was just them at that stage.

And so they came to see me because they’ve sort of lost the spark a little bit. They left after one of our sessions and they went home. And so I didn’t see them for probably two weeks after that. With the sick and visit, they came back and they looked way happier than they did when I, the last time I saw them.

So naturally I wanted to know what was going on and they asked them what was happening and how things were going. And they both were sort of beaming and telling me that things were going way better than before nothing major actually happened. Nothing made you actually change, but they told me that they made one specific change in their relationship and they actually made all the difference.

So I asked them what the change was that they made. So they say, well, after our last session we talked and they realized that one of the. One of the things that they lacked in their relationship was one of the things we talked about, which was rituals of connection. John Gottman talks about rituals of connection all the time, which is something that couples need to build into their relationship on a daily basis.

And so they went away and they thought about their rituals or connection. When during the day do they actually have a time where they just connect with each other. And so they realized that they both like watching TV. They both liked just sitting in each other’s presence. So they liked that. But they actually, at that point in time, they were sitting on separate chairs.

So the lounge was set up in a way where they had two lazy boys and they were separate. And so there was no physical intimacy. There was no physical proximity, they didn’t touch each other or anything like that. And so they went away and thought about this and thought about a way to get around that. And so what they decided to do was to actually just chuck out the lazy boys and buy a couch.

So they bought a couch and they put the couch in the lounge and they started sitting on the same couch every night, just watching their favorite program. But the difference was they were actually now physically touching each other. They were physically close to each other and they were holding hands and their legs were touching or the.

The husband put his hand on his wife’s leg just by introducing a small thing like that, they in a sense re-introduced a little bit of a spark back into their relationship. It changed up their scenery, change up the environment, and suddenly they were more aware of each other rather than just sitting in their own separate chairs, watching a program, being completely disconnected.

They actually started connecting in this weird way just by sitting closer to each other. What was interesting though, is that they said that after doing this for a couple of days, they actually got to a point where they didn’t even switch the TV on. They actually ended up talking with one another about their day, because they felt closer to each other just by introducing a couch into the lounge.

Again. Now that is a very good example of sometimes how much it takes to start turning things around. Now, again, granted this couple wasn’t in dire straits. This couple didn’t have any major issues in their relationship. But it just, they just needed a little bit of an impetus, a little bit of a, a different stimulus or a change to their situation and environment to start putting them back in the, in the right direction.

But the point I’m trying to make here is that you’ve got to understand that that ultimately too, Recreate a happy relationship, or to put your relationship back on the right path or to create a happy relationship right out of the gate. That doesn’t just happen by chance or by accident. At some point you need to check out the lazy boys and you need to introduce a couch.

So there’s a very small example, but it’s a very good example of creating a change so that you can start seeing some changes. Creating a happy relationship or a happy marriage in your situation, isn’t going to happen by chance or by accident. Nobody’s going to come knock on your door and say, okay, now you need to make some changes.

Now you need to start doing things differently. That’s something that you need to get to. It’s a point that you need to reach and say, okay, we obviously what we’ve been doing, isn’t working for us. And hasn’t been working for us. So we need to try something else, but it starts with understanding, appreciating, and believing, and really taking on board.

This belief that truly happy relationships don’t happen by chance or by accident. Go and have a think about what this means for your marriage, what this means for where you’re at and how you need to change things to move it forward. Truth. Number two, is that happy couples do things differently from unhappy couples.

I’m going to repeat that. Happy couples do things differently from unhappy couples. This is another thing that I’ve observed both of my own marriage, as well as having worked with many couples in the past. And that is that you have to understand that people who have relationships that we define as being a happy relationship, they tend to do the important things.

Vastly differently from couples who tend to have a relationship that we will define it as being unhappy. Couple of examples come to mind. Happy couples tend to deal with conflict completely differently from or compared to unhappy couples. Another example, happy couples tend to deal with parenting or children completely differently from say unhappy couples, happy couples tend to do finances or go about their finances completely differently.

Then compared to unhappy couples. If you want to create a ratio that is happy. If you want to create a marriage that is filled with happiness and satisfaction, when that you actually are happy to wake up to every day, you have to also understand with truth. Number one, that it doesn’t. And one happened by accident.

You need to understand that happy couples tend to do things differently from unhappy couples. Now, of course, there are many intricacies, there are many differences. Now, many things that are unique to your situation. There are many things that. That you need to take into account in terms of your context, in terms of your situation, all those things.

But I want you to think, not just strategically, but I want you to think, conceptually, this is an idea. This is a truth. And however you apply this to your situation, the truth, in a sense, still holds water. It still applies. So whatever this means for you. I would encourage you if you’re in a situation right now where perhaps there’s an area of your relationship, that is in a sense what you would define it as being unhappy or not as great as, as, as the rest of it.

I would encourage you to go and think about that and ask yourself why is it that this area of our marriage or relationship is typically. There’s less satisfaction in this area. There’s more unhappiness in this area. What is it that we’re doing differently from perhaps other people we know that don’t seem to have an issue with this particular area.

Understand that happy couples do things differently from unhappy couples. And if there’s an area in your relationship where you are struggling, an area that always leads to, uh, an outcome that you don’t like when outcome that you want to change, start asking yourself, what are you doing differently from perhaps people that doesn’t seem to have an issue with that particular thing?

But again, it starts with this truth, understanding that from right out of the gate is that happy couples do things differently from line-up couples. And if you want to know what are those that you can do to change your situation, you need to start becoming curious about those areas, where you are falling short or creating results that you don’t like, or perhaps you would like to change, which brings us to the food truth.

And that’s to understand that it’s infinitely easier to create a happy relationship when a couple is happy in themselves. I’m going to repeat that too. It is infinitely easier to create a happy relationship when a couple is happy in themselves. Now I want to make something very, very clear, and perhaps you’ll disagree with me on that, but I need you to understand that the reality is, is that nobody else is supposed to make us happy.

Your partner or your spouse. Isn’t supposed to make you happy. It is not their job. It is not their responsibility. Now there is a caveat to this, and obviously I need to quantify this a little bit better. I’m not saying that your partner shouldn’t. Create or help create a relationship that you don’t feel happy in.

I’m not saying that your partner shouldn’t make you happy being with that person. What I’m saying is, is that your happiness is not their responsibility. It is not their responsibility to make you happy when you’re unhappy and yourself, if you are unhappy on yourself and you know that you need to do some inner work, you need to perhaps go and talk to someone about dealing with whatever there’s there you’re dealing with, or perhaps dealing and over.

Coming certain things that you’ve been carrying around some baggage form from a, a different season of life. And that’s something that you’ve got to do that is not on your partner. The reality is, is that if we make, or to over our happiness, to our partners, we make it their sole responsibility. In a sense, we are setting ourselves up for a lot of heartache.

And the first way is we’re setting ourselves up for permanent unhappiness because what we’ve done is we’ve now outsourced our happiness. We’ve given it to someone else. And when we give our happiness to someone else as their responsibility, when they don’t live up to that responsibility, or when they fall short or when they’re struggling to make us happy, because perhaps they’ve run out of.

Out of gas without a petrol, then obviously that’s going to impact us directly. So we cannot outsource something as important as our mental health, something as important as our happiness to anyone else. The second thing. And the second mistake that we make by outsourcing our happiness is that not only do we set ourselves up for permanent and happiness, but we’re also setting our relationship for permanent unhappiness because when somebody else is responsible for our happiness, it is an impossible burden for them to be, it is impossible for your spouse to take care of your happiness full-time and that will have a direct impact on the quality of your relationship.

I’ve met so many couples over the years where. One of the spouses, one of the couple, having a sense given away their happiness to their spouse, they’ve put it squarely on the shoulders of their spouse and when their spouse doesn’t live up to their expectations around making them happy and making life seem bright.

When that doesn’t happen, the relationship suffers as a consequence and this truth that it is infinitely easier to create a happy relationship. When we are happy in ourselves is I think fundamentally important to creating a happy marriage for all of us. You have to understand that it is your responsibility as an individual to do the inner work, to make sure that you are happy because it’s only when you are happy in yourself.

And that goes for everything else as well. When you love yourself, when you’ve forgiven yourself, when you’re at peace with yourself. But it’s only when we have these things in ourselves, that we are actually able to give it to our partners. It is very hard to give our partners happiness or love or forgiveness or peace.

When we lack those very elements as very energetic States within ourself, but that is not your partner’s responsibility to fill you up with those things. It’s not their responsibility to fill you up. You need to do that in a work you need to do what is required to fill yourself up. Because when you are full, you can overflow and that can perhaps flow onto your partner, flow into your relationship and serve the whole thing.

Again, I want to quantify this by saying that. Of course, I am saying your partner has a responsibility to help create a relationship that is filled with intimacy. That’s filled with happiness. That’s a healthy relationship. Of course, you have to work together to make that happen, but it is not their responsibility to fill you up.

When you are running on empty, that is your responsibility. And you’ve got to put the things in place, have the people in place in your life to make sure that you aren’t running on empty, but you are filled up enough so that you can ultimately give your spouse and give your relationship and give your family what they need.

So three important truths no couple can escape. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you’re from. It doesn’t matter what you believe about relationships. If you want to create a happy, healthy, intimate relationship, you have to adhere to these three very important truths in order to make that happen.

If you’ve got any comments or questions, or you want me to clarify any of this a little bit more, please leave your comments. Wherever you’re listening to this. I’d be happy to answer them for you. But in the meantime, I hope this served you. I hope this gave you some food for thought. Live and love openly, and I will talk to you soon.



Tags

marriage on fire podcast, podcast


About the author
Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is a relationship coach and the creator of The Relationship Guy – a Top Marriage Coaching and Relationship Advice Blog that helps married couples create healthier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top relationship bloggers and coaches. He’s been happily married for over fourteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying post-graduate Psychology at Massey University.

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