It is very difficult to arrive at a destination if you don’t know where you are going. If I gave you a box and asked you to deliver it to a town out west, you wouldn’t simply accept that. You would want to know more details including the name of the town, the street, the street number and to whom you were delivering.
However, when it comes to the things that we want in our relationships, we tend to use very vague or generic terms. Since these terms are not clearly defined we have no idea how to get there.
We are famous for such vague statements as “I want more money” without defining how much money. So if I give someone who says this five cents, then they have got more money. While they now have more money it certainly won’t be what they want.
Usually when I ask couples “what do you want in your relationship?” I get vague responses such as “I want to be happy”. What exactly does happy mean? What is happiness for one person is not happiness for another person. We need to have a clear vision of what makes up this happiness. We need to define what happiness means for us. Defining things takes effort to do, and that’s why most people shy away from it and settle for continuing to use vague terms. Unfortunately, without clearly defining what happiness is we are never going to move towards it nor achieve it.
Because many people struggle with answering this question in a clear and defined way, I use a technique with my clients called the miracle question. The Miracle question goes like this “if you went to sleep tonight and a miracle occurred overnight, and the next day you woke up, and your relationship is how you would like it to be, describe what you see which is different to what you’ve had in the past?” In other words, if you can imagine that everything is how you want it, what does it look like.
The miracle question can start to give you an idea of what you want in a relationship. Once you get a general idea, it is time to get specific.
Make a list of at least five things that you want in your relationship. It could look like this list.
For him to take the time to listen to me when I am upset and to be there for me without telling me to get over it
For us both to share household responsibilities at home
For us to spend time together talking each day without interruptions from mobile phones, kids and TVs.
For us both to have our own hobbies as well as joint hobbies
For us to plan activities that we will both enjoy
Now compare your list with your partner’s list. What do you have in common and what do you have that is different?
Plan to implement first those things that you have in common and then plan to implement those things that are important only to one of you. If it is important to one of you, then having that happen within the relationship will result in a happier relationship.
Deciding what you want is an important first step in making beneficial changes in your relationship. The next step is to be able to communicate your feelings and ideas around what you want. We’ll cover that in another tip.
© Tracey Janke – StartPoint Counselling 2018
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