Whether you are a professional counselor, a member of a spiritual community or a good friend, helping a couple with their relationship issues can get confusing. These feelings of bewilderment let you know that you are on the right track. You’re sharing and sympathizing with the confusing place that the couple finds themselves in.
These people are intelligent. They attempt the many strategies to try to find common understanding of the issues they face. Without this common ground, they can’t find the relationship flow that defines them.
How it used to be (and how it should be)
Earlier in their relationship they enjoyed making decisions together. They talked about whatever faced them. They always uncovered the root problem and potential solutions. They discussed those options, like what option each of them wanted to do. This would then begin the real magic of their relationship, explaining to one another why they felt their choice looks like the best for themselves, their family and others.
During this talk, they would “feel into” what each other was saying. Doing this sharpened all he aspects of their choices and ultimately rewarded them for their united effort.
This loving exploration had its patterns. As time went on, these patterns deepened and came to define “their way”. It was no longer “my choice” or “your choice” but, “Our Choice”. They had achieved a relationship of the “Third Choice,” also known as “the compromise.”
This type of communication requires that they remain mentally aligned to each other. Their Conscious and Subconscious Minds must align despite tiredness, frustration and the other challenges of daily life.
Intimate relationships are deep and broad, so it takes more skill and hard work to maintain alignment in intimate relationships than in any other.
Love is patient, kind … and hard work
Often, couples face the sudden reality that they talk easily with their friends only to turn sullen when one of them enters the room. Even more confusing, they find that they can talk and share with each other’s best friend better than they can talk to each other.
All the while, their ability to look beyond each other’s flaws is getting more and more compromised. Mentally unaligned, they are unable to reach deeply into each other’s loving nature and smile at potential misconceptions.
Everyone in an intimate relationship faces these challenges. These may still be unknown to younger, untried couples.
Dangerous misperceptions happen when one is unaware that it is easier to connect with someone you don’t really know. Complicating this even more is that the harder couples try to reconnect, the more difficult it becomes. This is because they’re mentally disconnected.
Without their mental alignment, couples can not return to the place where deep discussions, additional options and their Third Choice options are available, whether for their day-to-day life or any relationship issues.
Even when they agree and make a decision, it feels weak, inauthentic and unresolved. Each feels as though they just “gave in.” Neither feels the joy of hashing out that third choice. They may have made a decision, but each feels as though they have taken yet another step down the road to no longer feeling like a couple.
Restoring Their Oneness
Let’s review a few suggestions that may help couples renew or find their alignment, their Oneness, both within and between each other:
- Have each of them describe their life journey from their childhood with their families and so on, while the other listens. Just sitting together, getting lost in each other’s stories, is very helpful. They each have the opportunity to see the other aligned, talking about family relationships. This isn’t far from where they were when they were doing well. They may also hear things that they never knew before, which can work wonders. It’s like meeting each other again. And very often, the way a couple aligns is, believe it or not, not too far from where their parents aligned in good times and in bad! This sends a wave of realizations that subconsciously may help them.
- Have each person talk about how they first met. What they first noticed about the other. What made them decide that this person was “the one.” Each of these memories will again send another wave of memories that will help them reconnect with each other.
- Guide each one to talk about a decision they made together earlier in the relationship that really worked out well for them. Search for a decision that took some time and several discussions. Guide the discussion so that it remains positive. Affirm them when they laugh and smile together. Remember, all you are trying to do at this point is have them be in each other’s presence, sharing about themselves while remaining aligned. You are looking for the magic…their magic.
- Ask each person, again in the presence of the other, what they have been doing to take care of themselves. Make sure each only refers to their responsibility to take care of themselves. During any arguments, people usually talk only from their point of view and their perceived lack of responsibility in the other person. Having each of them discuss their responsibility to their own basic care allows each to see the other taking personal responsibility.
- Couples with relationship issues discuss “the problem” constantly. This does not allow their Subconscious Mind time to “feel into” options on its own. As long as they keep talking about “the problem” in a non-aligned fashion they will remain stuck. It also causes them to stop communicating about all the other little things in life. Ask that they couch “the issue” for a short time. Assure them that it will be addressed, and that while not talking or even thinking about “it,” a greater, wiser part of them will actually be searching for their options.
- Often, one or both of the couple may have enlisted someone or many people to hear “their side”. The problem is that each person makes perfect sense as long as the other is not present. They tend to ask people they’re sure will agree with them... and support them against the other. The stated defense for this is often, “They only want what is best for us.” Of course, this is built on a one-sided point of view!
This external influence can harden their discontent and negative views of the other. Ask that all such communication stop.
If their friends are persistent, ask to speak with their friends. Let their friends know that at this point it's not about the issue, it’s about the couple renewing their intimate, private communication skills.
Please realize that if this friend or family member has been providing this type of support for very long, there will be resistance… a lot of resistance. They realize that because of their role in the disagreement, they may lose the friendship when the couple gets back together. Let the friend know that you are aware of their concern and that you don’t want them to feel in any way responsible for the couple’s difficulties.
7. Ask that they restart the habits that defined them or create new ones. Please see the article, “Intimacy, A Habit of Gentle Sharing” in this newsletter for suggestions.
A Tango Back to Love
Without touching the sensitive and raw area of “the issue,” you will still go a long way to repairing the relationship.
I suggest avoiding any talk of “the problem” until they have shown the ability to establish the mental alignment that allows their love and care for each other. Otherwise they’d simply be talking about something important without being aligned. And they certainly have enough practice of that kind of communication!
As you can see, the initial confusion is often not related to the problem at all. This alone may allow them to eventually find their way back to love.
It certainly is the first step before the next step where you agree to hear, “The rest of the story”. Other strategies to help couples find their way back to love are available in the subscription “Practitioners of Oneness.”
Few things are as satisfying as guiding couples back to each other. Love rekindled! Subscribe to Practitioners of Oneness.