Most people who complain about their relationship say they want more passion, better communication, and a closer connection with their partner. All of this is possible but it takes intentional focus, positive communication, and heartfelt effort. There’s a process to rediscovering the boundless passion that you once shared, and to creating lasting, positive change in your romantic relationship.
Stage One: Stop Changing Your Partner
In the first stage, you may easily get upset, complain, yell, withhold your love, punish, shame, or criticize just to communicate the simple message to your partner, “This doesn’t work for me. I would prefer you do something else.”
If you’re not getting what you need and you’re wanting more in your relationship, it’s important to know how to communicate that to your partner. If there’s a tone of dissatisfaction, punishment, or shame in your voice, your partner is going to hear your request as criticism, which is going to make your partner feel controlled and defensive.
If you recognize that your relationship is in stage one, then the first change you need to make is to stop trying to change your partner. That’s it. Just stop making “helpful” suggestions, stop giving unsolicited advice, and stop being so darn judgmental and critical of your partner.
Stage Two: Change Yourself
Once you’ve stopped trying to change your partner, you’re ready for the second stage: changing yourself.
The best way you can change yourself is to lower your stress levels. When you’re stressed, it’s harder to change, harder to listen, and harder to love. The good news is that there are SO many stress-busting activities that you can try: exercise, meditation, journaling, connecting with friends, acupuncture, aromatherapy, playing with pets, connecting with nature, and expressive activities like dancing and painting.
When there is drama, fighting, cold wars, or theatrics, instead of dropping back to stage one, you’re able to recognize your stress for what it is, and do something productive to make you feel better that has nothing to do with changing your partner.
Then, without requiring your partner to change for your happiness, you can then consider how to interact in a way that works better for your partner and for yourself.
Stage Three: Give Your Partner More
Now that you’re feeling good, it’s time to focus on your partner. It’s time to give more to your partner.
The tricky part with this step is understanding what your partner needs. As I’m sure you already know, men and women have different needs in life and in relationships. What makes your partner feel seen and hears? What makes him/her feel safe? What makes him/her feel Loved and appreciated? What makes your partner feel insecure in the relationship? What makes your partner feel stimulated and really alive? If you don’t know . . . ASK.
By this third stage, you begin to discover more compassion and wisdom, both of which are aspects of higher love. This higher love is what allows you to express your full potential in life. It’s what gives you patience, confidence, and acceptance, and lasting love. It’s also the foundation of every Soul Mate relationship.
Now, you will still encounter challenges in stage three, but there will be far less drama. You begin to recognize that all challenges in a relationship are opportunities to become a more loving person.
By overcoming your inner resistance to finding and expressing love during times when it’s difficult to do so, all aspects of your life become easier and more fulfilling. Your demand for perfection in your relationship is replaced by a liberating acceptance of what cannot change, an appreciation for what can change, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Stage 4: Asking For What You Want
Now that you’ve given your partner more, it’s time to ask for what you need and want.
In this stage, you’ll feel much less resistant toward life’s inevitable challenges, less attachment to getting everything you want when you want it, and less avoidance of the things you want to do or be.
You’ve reflected on what works and doesn’t work in your relationship, and you’ve made changes within yourself and in your communication. So now when you ask for something that requires change by your partner, your requests will be heard and received by your partner as just simple requests and not complaints.
In this stage, you fully accept that relationships and life will always present new challenges to your ability to find a greater love within yourself. It’s a radical acceptance that life is not perfect, your partner’s not perfect, and problems and challenges will never go away — but all that is okay.
In stage one, these obstacles are like big speed bumps that slow you down. Now they’re simply unexpected turns in the road of your life, which bring opportunities for gaining new insights and greater inner strength, wisdom, and love.
Getting to this stage in your relationship gives you the freedom to be all that you can be, and to do what you are here in this world to do. It’s in this stage, after growing in compassion and wisdom, that you experience the freedom of unconditional love.
This unconditional love, particularly for and from your intimate partner, provides you with great comfort, always reminding you that while life is not perfect, you’re here to make it better—for yourself, your partner, and the world.