We all want connection. Sometimes we are scared to connect, or avoid it—and this can hurt our partners.
Connecting with Your Partner
In other areas of your life when something breaks, you don’t take it personally. You just fix it. With relationships, we make it way more complicated than it needs to be because we don’t have the instruction manual or the tools to fix it.
When I co-lead couples’ workshops I have such compassion for both partners. I see how much they want to connect. I see how hard they try, yet they can’t seem to get it to work. The love is there, but the deep, secure connection is not.
These couples keep dancing to music neither likes. They keep stepping on each other’s toes.
To help these couples (metaphorically) dance better, we lay out a simple model for them to follow. The core skill is vulnerability. When you are vulnerable, particularly when in the past you weren’t, you will start to reconnect.
This kind of vulnerability can’t be faked; you need to be connected to your own experience. You need to be able to feel. As you continue to feel, you open to being vulnerable, then you risk a connection.
Connection starts with communication. I don’t recommend going right for the biggest issue. First talk about your desires to connect. Then talk about your dance, how you both spin out and for from being connected to reacting. Frame this discussion around how you are just doing what you saw done. You both are stuck in your survival responses.
When you get disconnected doing this, you will get stuck in the survival response cycle. You go back to the “dance” that injured the relationship, not the one that helps it.
Once you gain an appreciation for your dance and where each one of you is sensitive, then, focus on being vulnerable. Start with easy items, like chores. For example, share how you don’t like taking the garbage out at night, you rather doing it in the morning.
Save Your Relationship
Another way to look at this is to think of your emotions and relationship as a machine. When you and your partner have problems, your machine has a bug. To fix it, we need to upgrade your relationship operating system.
You are more focused here on naming then extinguishing old patterns and then learning new ones than transforming your relationship.
Here’s a secret—when you are connected, most of the issues you had are no longer issues that take you out. Connection can solve many of those problems because both of you feel secure. Remember how when you fell in love, you didn’t notice the little quirks and habits that drive you crazy now.
You save your relationship by developing your connection skills.
Start today with setting up a time to share what you want and how you might achieve it with your partner. What do you have to lose? I believe your relationship is worth it.
Let us know how it goes. I will respond. Enjoy the process.