One of the things you can generally count on in relationships is there will be problems. All healthy relationships have issues that arise and need to be dealt with. Two individual people with their own lives, their own needs, desires and viewpoints will not always be on the same page. So if you are dealing with some relationship problems, it is normal and natural and you should know that most problems can be worked out.
So one of the first things to understand is that relationships will have breakdowns. There will be issues. We often tend to think "Well, if he/she really loved me, they would just agree with me or do what I want." But obviously, if both of you are thinking that, you both end up expecting the other person to surrender or accede to your wishes.
One of the biggest findings in relationship psychology is that how couples handle conflict is one of the main predictors of relationship success. We all do well when things are loving and pleasant, its how we deal with the times of stress and dissatisfaction that really count for keeping a relationship thriving.
There is no need to get down on yourself for problems arising in your love life. Most of them can be cleared up with a few simple tools. Many of those tools are covered in the book Train Your Mate. Information about this book and how it can help you can be found here. Problems and breakdowns will occur in relationships, this book gives you complete, step by step advice on how to work through many of them.
How to Transform A Relationship in 5 Minutes!
Kelsey Wilson has a problem. Her husband, Sam, for the last few months has been spending more and more time at the bar after work, leaving her to deal with the kids. Last week he was at the bar four nights, not coming home till well after the kids were in bed. She can’t put up with this much longer.
Kelsey, having just read a book called Train Your Mate, understands that Sam has made a unilateral decision. Without ever asking her, he decided it was okay to go off to the bar pretty much as often as he pleased and to leave her with all the child-rearing responsibilities. Tonight, before he leaves again, Kelsey decides to make a request to change this course of affairs and add to the intimacy in their relationship.
"Honey, can we talk for a few minutes?" she asks.
"Well dear," he responds, "I was supposed to meet Joe 10 minutes ago at the bar. Can it wait?"
"Really, you masculine mountain of manhood, I'd rather talk to you now, while you are still completely sober..."
"Are you implying that I'm a drunken bum when I get home at night?"
"Not normally, but that is what I wanted to talk to you about. I've noticed in the last few months that you've been spending most of your week nights at the Beer Belly Bar. You aren't spending hardly any time with me and the kids. I'd like to ask that you spend only one night a week at the bar, and that the rest of the time you find ways to spend time with me and the kids. I don't want to raise them alone!" There, she had said it, and she felt better already.
"Are you saying that I'm not a good husband and father?" Sam asked tightly.
"Not at all, we love spending time with you on the weekends, but just the weekends isn't enough. Could you please consider cutting way back on your bar time and add to your family time?"
"Well," Sam replies defensively, "since my promotion I've been sitting on my butt all day, and after dinner all we seem to do around here is sit and watch tv. I need to spend more time being active, and at the Beer Belly I'm on my feet the whole night around the pool table. I don't want to sit around here all night!"
"Oh, I see, " Kelsey responds using her new found mirroring or active listening skills. "You like going to the bar because it gets you off your butt?"
"Yes," he says, beginning to relax as he feels that he is being understood. "That's pretty much why I go. Sitting around watching tv just isn't doing it for me."
"I understand," Kelsey replies without taking offense, even though it seemed to her that he was the one that always plopped in front of the tv after dinner. "How about if we came up with some family activities that wouldn't involve tv? You see, honey, I don't want to raise the kids all by myself, except with a little help from you on weekends. Perhaps after dinner we could take the kids on walks down by the creek, and Jimmy is getting to the point where you could teach him to play some ball. And you know how Jill loves to kick the soccer ball around with you. But what I'd like is if you wouldn't spend more than your usual Friday night at the bar, and plan the rest of your time with us. Is that okay?"
"Well, I guess the little spudsters could use some playing time with a master athlete such as myself, and I suppose also it isn't fair that you have to put up with most of the arguing and refusing to go to bed, so I guess I can spend some more time around here." Sam decides hesitantly.
"I really appreciate that, dear, but could your less time at the bar go back to only your usual Friday nights, so we can plan to see you and spend time with your magnificent self the rest of the week?"
"Trying to pin me down, are you?" Sam looks at her closely, surprised by her newfound forthrightness.
"Well, yes, dear, I am," she says, "because I don't want a barfly for a husband, I want the hot stud I married, and when you come home after a night in someone's Beer Belly you stink like cigarette smoke and you are usually too tired to be Mr. Manhood in the sack," she winks at him. "So I want to know if you are planning on more time there or here." Once again, she is repeating her request, because she realizes she hasn't gotten a direct answer yet.
"Okay, sure, insult my incredible lovemaking abilities, hit me below the belt." He thought for a moment. "How about this. Friday night as usual, plus one other night, until we can afford a pool table of our own and Joe can come over here. Then the rest of the time you guys can hog all of my attention and receive the many benefits of spending time in my presence. How's that?"
Kelsey realizes that this is a great offer, it will work much better than the present arrangement, and it should add much to the quality of family time. "Okay, sweetie, sounds good to me. We'll try not to get too overwhelmed by all your wonderfulness, but it will be good to have you around here more!"
And in that short five minute conversation Kelsey has changed the course of intimacy in their relationship!
Sam had made some unilateral, one-sided choices that took away or were leading away from intimacy, and Kelsey took an unobtrusive but firm lead in moving things towards closeness and more quality time. Instead of bitching at him and trying to make him feel guilty, or instead of yelling and screaming or pouting, she did a very powerful thing.
She asked. She made a request. She let him know by doing so that she had a different idea for some of the choices that he was making that affected their relationship. In a hundred million relationships the world over people are making choices that can lead away from intimacy. It’s not just men. Women also make choices that damage closeness.
Remember that you are a full partner with full responsibility in your relationship for its quality and depth. While men will often tend to lead, make the big decisions, and "take charge," this is fine only to the extent that it doesn't damage or decrease the level of bonding in your relationship. At any time you see that his choices or behaviors are doing that, it is time for you to make requests of him to change that behavior and/or reconsider those choices.
Pouting, attacking, blaming and whining are also methods women have used for centuries to try to alter men's behavior, but none of these techniques are as powerful and effective as simply getting clear on what you want then ASKING him for it. We all know how to make general requests. Making intimate requests that forward your relationship is a skill worth developing. If you would like to learn more, you can read about this and other skills in the book How To Have The Relationship You Want.