How to Get the Love You Deserve

We always get the love we deserve. The real question is: Are we doing what we need to do to earn the love we WANT?


Wondering how to get the love you deserve? Sometimes we may feel we’re not getting what we need, but here’s how to bring more love to your life.


We all deserve love. Now, the love we want to have in our lives and the love we actually receive may look a little different. We may want more romantic love from our partner, more supportive love and attention from our friends, or even more expressive love from our kids, parents, or siblings.

So, if you’re wondering how to get the love you deserve, it may be time to reframe the question—are you doing what you need to do to attract and earn the love you WANT?

What Kind of Love Do You Want?

When we ask the question “how do I get the love I deserve?”, it raises a few points. First of all, the word “deserve” is something to examine. We all deserve love simply by being human beings in this world. But the word deserve can indicate feelings of entitlement or inadequacy. Either we feel like we deserve more love than our partner is giving us, or we fear we don’t deserve the love we want in our life. So instead, we want to frame our analysis of the word “deserve” as earning the love we want.

When we talk about partnerships and relationships, we should look at engagement—not the type of engagement that involves a diamond ring. Instead, we’re looking at the kind of engagement that fosters a deep connection. Are we engaging in our relationship, and is our partner engaged with us? Whether we’re talking business, social, or personal lives, we can ask if we’re fully engaged with those around us. Do we use conflict to get the most out of our relationships?

Conflict gets a bad rap. We might think of conflict as a negative state, where we’re bickering and fighting, but really, conflict is a natural component of change and growth. We can’t change or get stronger without resistance. If we’re smoothly sailing along, going through life conflict-free, we’re missing something.

We’re either fooling ourselves, lying to ourselves, or burying our heads in the sand. By the very nature of being human, we will face conflicting wants, desires, and yearnings. Getting to the heart of these yearnings helps us connect while finding ways to fulfill the needs and desires we have.

Following the Rules in Relationships

Behind every ugly fight—the cycle of blaming and defending or moving around the drama triangle—is an underlying truth. Fights indicate that there’s something not being fulfilled. It could be an unanswered yearning or a built-up resentment.


Growing and transforming in a relationship is all about fighting fair. It’s not about avoiding the fight entirely but rather engaging in a productive, respectful discussion, where we express our feelings and issues to open up the heart of the conflict.


Both parties can follow a few rules of engagement to ensure the fights are productive and fair. The rules are rooted in personal responsibility and directed at both sides of the partnership. Even if only one side follows the rules, there will be a significant improvement in communication and engagement throughout the relationship.

The Rules of Engagement for Fair Fights

  1. Minimize the Negative: This means we should avoid passive-aggressive behaviors like disengagement (stonewalling, withholding, and secretive behavior) or the “hidden middle finger (actions to intentionally provoke). But avoid tiptoeing around conflict, focusing on soft addictions, or extreme fighting with blame, shame, whining, and justifying.
  2. Accentuate the Positive: This means sincere engagement, where each party approaches the situation openly, with humor, honesty, and responsiveness. It means staying truthful about yearnings, talking, sharing affection, and being real.
  3. No One Gets or Gives More than 50% of the Blame: Think of it as a no-fault relationship. No matter who instigated the argument or began the discussion, there’s no need to break it down into who did what. Each partner is part of the system. As they say, “It takes two to tango.”
  4. You Must Take 100% Responsibility for Your Own Happiness: When we feel hurt, we are 100% responsible for our own feelings of happiness. It’s not our partners’ job to make us happy. No one can control our emotions but us. Support is one thing, but personal responsibility is the foundation of transformational conflict and engagement.
  5. Express and Agree with the Truth: This means always being truthful in engagement. ALWAYS. Often there’s a lot of truth in an argument, but neither party wants to give in by acknowledging that truth. It’s okay to say, “You’re right, but I don’t like it.” When we acknowledge the truth in an argument, it often turns the tide.
  6. Always Fight FOR, Not Against: We can ask ourselves what we yearn for. For example, rather than arguing how our partner never helps out, consider arguing FOR our partner to help out. When we reframe the conflict, we turn it into a positive, growth-focused interaction that helps meet an underlying yearning. Go into each interaction by asking what are we really fighting FOR?
  7. Assume Goodwill: This is one of the toughest rules of engagement for couples to accept. But when we think about it, we often realize that our partner isn’t out to get us in most cases. In fact, they WANT to work things out. They want to make things better. That doesn’t mean that a cruel comment won’t come out, or we always get along, but for the most part, both parties are trying. Stop looking at each other as the enemy.

The above ground rules set the stage for fair conflict. When we sincerely apply them to our relationship, we can instantly start seeing a shift. Even if our partner isn’t on-board with the rules, the tone and tenor of the argument will often change quickly. Both parties feel more connected and less defensive.

If we’re looking for the love we deserve, the rules of engagement can help us move toward the relationship connection that we’re seeking.

Applying the Rules to Get the Love You Deserve

Each situation is different, and sometimes applying the rules of engagement won’t make someone fall in love with us or give us the emotional connection we’re hungry for. However, if we’re honestly expressing what we need in a relationship, we’ll quickly realize whether or not we’re on the right path.

It’s also important to recognize that we can bring love into our lives in many different ways. It doesn’t just come from a fairytale romance (in fact, the idea of a fairytale romance is a myth—there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship or partner). Instead, we can find love in our life by focusing on the connections and engagement that meet our yearnings.


The rules of engagement apply whether we’re single, married, or applying them at work or with friends. When we follow the rules for fighting fair, we’ll find that our conflicts become more productive, and they move us towards the things we really want.


Within the conflict, we’ll realize our personal responsibility and personal power. We’ll start to approach the situation in a way that will help us meet our yearnings to foster growth and deeper engagement.

Getting the love that we need and want doesn’t mean we have to be in a relationship to enjoy the closeness and a connection. Instead, we can learn to love ourselves and enjoy the love and connection we experience with our friends and family. There is beauty and love throughout the universe, and when we start to recognize it and apply it to our yearnings, we may realize that we can be seen, heard, and valued in many different ways.

If both sides of a couple are learning and growing together, following the rules of engagement, and sharing their yearnings, they’ll both get the love they want (and the love they deserve).

For more ways to enjoy a deeper connection with others, don’t miss the resources available at Wright Now. We have many courses and materials designed to help you get the career, relationship, and life you want—a life of MORE.


About the Author

Kate Holmquest

Kate Holmquest is a coach, curriculum developer, and campus director for Wright and the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential who believes that dating is one of the best possible playgrounds for discovering and transforming yourself! Potential movie titles that describe her quest for satisfaction in single life are “40 First Dates” (a.k.a. dating with velocity), “Ten Things I Hate About You” (a.k.a. telling the truth on dates), and “The Thing About My Folks” (a.k.a. noticing and breaking the relationship rules I learned at home).


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation’s performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

Here’s How to Ask Your Partner for More Intimacy

Got intimacy? If you’re wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy and closeness, it’s important to explore what you’re really looking for.

Wondering how to ask your partner for more intimacy? Here’s how to connect with your partner to get the closeness you want and deserve.


Relationships are an adventure in intimacy and navigating our connections with others, but understanding how to get the intimacy we want can be confusing. What are we really looking for? Deeper conversations? More sex? A more attentive partner?

Here’s how to ask your partner for more intimacy and get the connection you crave.

Embark on An Adventure in Intimacy

Intimacy. It’s an often-misunderstood term. We may think intimacy refers to our physical connection. We may think of intimacy are romance, closeness, or sharing a deep conversation. Real intimacy is all these things and more.

Intimacy is about learning and growing together to fulfill our fullest potential. When we’re working on our best selves, relationships can be both a womb and a crucible. They form us and forge us into our best selves. So while it’s important that our relationships are nurturing, it’s also crucial to recognize that growth can also be a painful process.

When a butterfly emerges from a chrysalis, it must go through the struggle to build up strength. If we “help” the butterfly before it is ready, the wings will fail to develop the proper strength, and the butterfly won’t be able to fly. Similarly, when we emerge and grow into our potential, we must go through difficult challenges to increase our strength. While our relationship can support us through the lessons, our partner can’t take away our difficulties or “fix” us. In fact, our partnership is strengthened when our partner is an ally—pushing us toward our best self.


If our relationship isn’t challenging us and pushing us to grow, then it’s just a pacifier. We need the conflict to continue to evolve. Conflict is where growth and change really happen.


In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we discuss the many ways that love and intimacy are messy. It’s about embracing our roles in the relationship and working on ourselves to live extraordinary lives together. One partner may be a great parent, and one might have a great career. Relationships and intimacy are about bringing those strengths together to become transformational agents, engaged fully and intimately together, bringing out our best selves and the best in others.

Great relationships are all about engaging in the adventure of life together as partners and allies.

Yearnings and Understanding the Nature of Conflict

Our yearnings drive us. As human beings, we constantly try to fulfill our yearnings and listen to them. At times, we may deny our yearnings, but that becomes painful. We find ourselves shifting blame and being dishonest about what we want. This can cause resentments to build as we disengage from the relationship.

The truth is that many of us fall out of touch with our yearnings. We aren’t sure how to get what we truly want because we don’t know what it is. Yearnings are the deeper longings of our heart—to be loved, to be connected, to feel respected. Many of us mistake wants for yearnings. We think that we want to lose weight. We want a bigger house. We want to have fashionable clothes.

We may think that we want our partner to clean up around the house more often. We want them to take us out on a date. We want them to buy us gifts. However, the underlying yearnings go deeper than that. We want our partner to pick up the house because we yearn for the security that comes from an orderly space. We want our partner to take us out on a date because we yearn for intimacy and connection. We want our partners to buy us gifts because we yearn for love or admiration and connection.

When we confuse our wants for yearnings, we fall into a pattern of miss-wanting. We get what we thought we wanted, only to find that we’re still left unfulfilled and unsatisfied. We still long for more. We may even feel resentful or disengaged because our partner isn’t fulfilling the fairytale notion of giving us “happily ever after.”


Conflict helps us reengage with each other. It’s impossible to work for something—even a fulfilling relationship—without at least a little struggle and fight.


Think of any goal. We have to train and sweat for months if we want to run a marathon. If we want to get a promotion at work, we have to learn new tasks and work hard to get there. When we want something big, hard work is required. It’s likely going to be painful and even unpleasant at times. We can’t skip out the door one day and win a gold medal.

Most of us don’t enjoy fighting (and if we do, that can be detrimental too). Maybe we were raised to believe fighting wasn’t beneficial or that fighting would push others away. We call these types of situations “conflict-avoidant.” If we grew up in a conflict-avoidant household, it could be hard to see the merits and productivity of conflict. It’s difficult to let go of our limiting beliefs about conflict. We might feel like we shouldn’t express our yearnings or ask for what we need in a relationship.

Feeling conflicted isn’t wrong or bad. Engaging in conflict doesn’t make us mean or negative people. On the contrary, it can actually bring us closer together by moving us toward what we really want and need in the situation.

The skill in conflict is taking responsibility for our own satisfaction and then working together toward that satisfaction with a partner. People become so skilled at avoiding conflict that they avoid themselves right out of their relationship. When we avoid confrontation and conflict, we disengage. We become distant and disconnected. We might even resent our partner for not reading our minds or understanding why we’re upset.

Instead, rock the boat! Ask for more intimacy! When couples learn the rules of engagement, they learn to express their desires responsibly. They realize that conflict arises because they’re working for, not against, their relationship. Conflict is a means to strengthen our relationships and make our yearnings known.

Intimacy is Engagement

Intimacy is synonymous with engagement. If we want more intimacy, it’s not just that we want to have more sex (although physical intimacy can be an added benefit of reconnecting with our partner). It’s not that we want our partner to be more affectionate. That may be part of it, but we really want more engagement. We want our partner to connect with us, to see us, hear us, and know us.

If we think we’re moving toward our yearnings but expect our partner to get us there, we aren’t taking 100% responsibility for our own satisfaction. We are each responsible for getting satisfaction, and no one else can hand it to us. We must be learning and growing on our own, AND together.


We can get there by expressing what we want to our partner. We can tell them our expectations and share our yearnings. What would happen if we just asked? What is it that we want from our partners?


Ultimately, intimacy is about connection—loving each other and being close. It’s about wanting to have more of each other and gain a deeper understanding of the other person. Over time couples can become like systems engineers—working through the daily tasks of running a home, going to work, raising the kids. But within this scenario, intimacy is lost. We become two people bumping into each other and existing together. It requires deliberate action to get on the same page with a vision and connection. If we want it, we have to stop going through the motions and start doing the work. (It’s worth it!)

How To Get Your Partner Engaged in Your Relationship

What happens when one partner is ready to engage and get more intimacy, and the other partner is on the fence? What do we do when we tell our partner we want to build a deeper connection, and we get an eye roll because they think it sounds like B.S.?

First of all, this happens quite often. Change can be difficult and frightening, especially when we haven’t had time to process it. Our partner might be perfectly comfortable with the status quo because we’ve made them very comfortable. We’ve allowed them to ignore our yearnings and to be oblivious to our feelings. We can’t expect them to read our minds—they need to be uncomfortable too.

Too often, we get bogged down in a state where we feel sorry for ourselves and use it as an excuse for inaction. We think, “I’d love to work on myself and grow, but my partner isn’t into it. So it’s their fault that I can’t.” In reality, this is a lie.


We are each 100% responsible for our own satisfaction. If we’re learning, growing, and working to bring out our best selves, our partner must rise to the occasion. If we’re expressing our yearnings and acknowledging the truth in what our partner says, being open and honest, we will be a force to be reckoned with.


When we’re following the rules of engagement and engaging in conflict responsibly and honestly, it becomes uncomfortable for our partner to ignore our personal power and energy. They will engage with you because they have to.

It’s all about using conflict to get to the heart of what we really want. Just because one time we threw out, “I’d like to work on this,” and got shot down, we shouldn’t give up. Go for a different approach. Learn the rules of engagement and start engaging. Follow along in the book. We can get our partner to read the book with us, and if they won’t, we can start using the skills and following the rules. Eventually, our partners get curious about what we’re doing, and they will want to know more (even if they don’t admit it at first).

Relationships are beautiful and messy platforms to help us grow and change. When we’re working on our personal power, a healthy relationship is a launchpad for bringing out our next best self.

To learn more about living your best life and enjoying stronger relationships, don’t miss our courses at Wright Now. We have resources to help you discover more about yourself, your partner, your career, and your world. Get MORE today!


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Yearnings: Follow Your Inner-GPS to Express Your Wants and Needs in a Relationship

Do you feel like you’ve been fighting over nothing lately? Does every little thing become a nitpicky fight between you and your partner?



Are you expressing your wants and needs in your relationship? It’s a tricky question, but one that most of us have pondered before.

We believe (or maybe expect) that a relationship should meet our wants and needs. We hope that our partner will “get” us and do those things that help us feel connected, happy, and fulfilled. But most of us have probably realized that our partners aren’t mind-readers. We have to express those feelings to get them on the radar—but how?

If we want to meet our wants and needs in a relationship, we need to dive in and discover our yearnings. Here’s how.

When the Thrill is Gone

It may sound harsh, but even the best relationships hit rough patches. As the old song goes, “The thrill is gone,” and some of us might be wondering where it went

When a relationship starts, we’re often energized, engaged, and ready to put our “best foot forward.” But after a few months or years, we shift out of the lavender haze and may start to feel a loss of connection. We may feel like we’ve been fighting over nothing lately. Every little thing becomes a nitpicky fight between our partner and us.

After we cool down and step away for a minute, we might think,

  • “If we could just get away for a few days, we’d probably get along better,” or…
  • “If we’d just have sex, I’m sure we would feel reconnected.”

We may feel dissatisfied, but we can’t pinpoint the actual problem. We know that neither partner is having an affair. No one has a substance abuse problem. We still genuinely love and care about each other, but we don’t get the same sense of excitement we once did. We may even find ourselves thinking about other people or remembering other relationships fondly.

Essentially—the thrill is gone. But is it really? And more importantly, can we get it back?The good news is that all of these common relationship feelings are rooted in our yearnings.


We long to have our wants and needs met in a relationship, but we might not know how to get there. These longings are what we call yearnings. They are feelings that we all have—hunger of the soul. They go deeper than “I want to look good naked” or “I want to go on vacation.”


Yearnings speak to the desires of our heart:

  • We yearn to be acknowledged and known.
  • We yearn to be seen, valued, and loved.
  • We year for respect, connection, intimacy.

For most couples, yearnings and unmet yearnings are at the root of dissatisfaction and at the heart of every fight. Our yearnings drive us. Like GPS, they steer us toward the direction of greater happiness and satisfaction. Our yearnings push us toward the things we want.

We often say that yearnings make couples tick, and unmet yearnings tick couples off.

We can imagine for a moment: what it is like when our yearnings are met in our relationship. Think of a time when we got home, and our partner’s eyes lit up when they saw us. They told us how much they missed us and couldn’t wait to hear about our day.

Imagine telling that partner about something extraordinary that happened during the day and knowing our partner is thrilled for us. Envision asking them for something that we really wanted—a dinner, a long walk, a conversation, physical contact—and having them enthusiastically agree. Or imagine telling them something we’re dissatisfied with, and they acknowledge our feelings and work together on a resolution. These would be examples of interactions that speak to our inner yearnings.

When our yearnings are ignored or unmet in our relationship, we may find ourselves drifting in opposite directions. Maybe we’re feeling distant from our partner, but we aren’t sure why. We might be afraid to bring up problems and discuss our feelings because we’re sensing a hidden middle finger (or giving one ourselves). We might withdraw from the relationship and feel a sense of disconnectedness.

Expressing Your Yearnings: It’s Not Actually About His Socks on the Floor

Our yearnings are extremely powerful. They go deeper than wishing that our spouses would stop putting their socks on the floor. But sometimes, something as simple as socks on the floor can make us feel like our yearnings are ignored and brushed aside. If having a clean, organized home is important to one partner but not the other, there might be an incongruency. That difference is underscored when the preference isn’t something that’s been clearly expressed. Often one partner doesn’t realize the importance of picking up the socks, while the other partner feels ignored and frustrated.

Years of socks on the floor pile up, and so do frustrations. Each night the irritation builds as we silently pick up our partner’s socks and seethe about it. Eventually, this can lead to resentment. We make a crack about our spouse’s sloppiness to friends. We make something he hates for dinner. We ignore his comments about his day. We’re silent and angry, and our spouse is confused about why we’re so cold and annoyed with them.

But at the root, we probably grew up in different households with differing standards of cleanliness. To one partner, socks are no big deal—a sign of feeling relaxed and comfortable. To the other partner, socks on the floor are an affront that says, “I don’t care about the work you put into our household. I don’t respect you or notice your efforts.”

We’re often engaged in these little power struggles in relationships, and we aren’t even aware that they’re happening. These little resentments and actions build up and can even cause explosive fights that seemingly go nowhere. Our partner might start picking up the socks, but it doesn’t resolve the underlying issue. At the root of the fight is often an unmet yearning.

Yearnings are significant wants and needs in a relationship. They may be:

  • Yearning to be respected,
  • Yearning to be cared for,
  • Yearning to be safe and secure,
  • Yearning to nurture and grow, and
  • Yearning to be appreciated.

Notice that nowhere on this list is “yearning for picked-up socks.” That’s because the true yearning isn’t really about the laundry pile. It’s something more poignant that runs much deeper. Yearnings are connected to the core of our humanity, existence, and identity.

Wants and Needs in a Relationship vs. Yearnings

It’s important to understand because there’s a difference between basic wants and needs in a relationship and yearnings. We often express what we think are our wants and needs, but when we get them met, we still feel unsatisfied, as though the larger issue still looms.

  • We can want our spouse to have sex with us more frequently.
  • We can want her to clean out the car when she uses it.
  • We can ask him to stop splashing toothpaste on the bathroom mirror.

When we express our wants, our partner often complies, but we may still feel annoyed. We feel like we’re nagging them or like we always have to tell them what we want. That’s a sure indication that we haven’t addressed the deeper yearnings behind our desires. A superficial action, like putting down the toilet seat or rinsing a dinner plate doesn’t really address the heart of the issue. We find ourselves running around mopping up water without fixing the broken pipe and addressing the source of the leak.


Real, true satisfaction and intimacy come from expressing our yearnings and understanding why they matter to us. This can happen in or out of a relationship. It’s about first doing the work to understand what’s going on inside our hearts and minds.


The great part is that when we identify our yearnings, we can find many different ways to get them met. It’s not just about relying on one person to do a specific action. We may yearn to connect with others, and we can do that by connecting with friends, coworkers, family, or our spouse.

If our partner simply complies with our expressed demand without understanding or learning our underlying yearning, the interaction might feel hollow or superficial. We aren’t getting those feelings of being acknowledged, appreciated, or loved. We’re simply training someone to pick up socks.

Our Yearnings Matter!

So, what about when we fight? We don’t really yearn to “win” the fight when it comes to fighting. Yes, we may want to express our point; we may think we want to win. But after we feel briefly superior and proud of our status as the “winner,” we might realize that we haven’t solved anything at all.

At the heart of many of our conflicts is fear (or the simple fact) that our yearnings aren’t being met and that we aren’t clearly expressing and requesting them from our partners. Yearning is at the core of our survival. Yearning to love and bond keeps mothers caring for their children. Yearning to be safe, sheltered, connected, and respected all have a biological imperative behind them. When our yearnings are met, we experience a rush of feel-good emotions and chemicals. When our yearnings are ignored, we experience a flood of fear, adrenalin, and stress hormones.

When we understand the neuroscience beneath our yearnings, we can quickly see why they’re so powerful and why they play such a strong role in our conflicts, especially with our partners—the people we rely on and trust.


When we feel frustrated about something our partner did, we can step back and ask ourselves, what is the underlying yearning? What do I really want from them? Is it that I want to be seen? Heard? Respected? Connected? When we identify those yearnings, we can try expressing them.


What would happen if we asked our partner for more physical contact? What if we explained why a clean house makes us feel more secure? What if we “went there” in conversation and brought our yearnings out into the light?

If we want to build stronger connections and get our yearnings met in our relationship, we must first identify them within ourselves. Then we can take steps to express our yearnings to our partner. Acknowledging our yearnings is the first battle, one we must wage within ourselves. As we come to a better understanding of what drives us, we can start expressing those wants and needs to our partners. Ultimately, when we say what we really want in our relationship, we’ll strengthen our bond and start getting closer.

For more ways to strengthen your relationships, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses to help you build stronger connections, discover more about yourself, and move towards the life you want—a life of more. Start getting what you want today!


About the Author

judith

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Happily Never After: Why We Should Get Over Fairytale Romance

Looking for a storybook love? Here’s why we should get over fairytale romance and work toward a relationship where we can be our real selves.

 

We all want a fairytale romance, but Prince or Princess Charming isn't real. Here's how to make romance work, the real way


How many of us have idyllic pictures of romance in our heads: frolicking together in the snow, playing on a sandy beach, living happily ever after? Society, movies, books, and even our social media accounts have set us up with expectations of fairytale romance that are false and potentially damaging.

When we set the bar for perfect relationships at “living happily ever after”—meaning never engaging in any conflict or working toward deeper understanding—who can expect anything but failure? Almost all of us have this Cinderella perspective on our relationships. We think it’s up to our partner to make us happy. Or we believe that our significant other should be our soulmate. If we only find “the one,” we’ll resolve all our problems and live perfect lives.

The truth is, we are the only ones who can make ourselves happy. It is not our partner’s job (nor is it even within their power). Beyond that, no one has a perfect relationship. Part of unlocking your relationship’s full potential and finding happiness alongside your partner is letting go of the myth of the “fairytale romance” (and maybe even embracing our inner ogre).

Embrace the Adventure of Romance

Romanticized and idealized versions of fairytale romance we’ve seen depicted in the media leave us feeling like our relationships are inadequate. We end up in a constant state of disappointment because we’ve walked in with ridiculous expectations since we watched Snow White and Cinderella in our childhoods. This “Disney love” leads to devastation and confusion when our real-life relationships don’t quite match our fantasy ideals.

We have to dump these false ideas, get over fairytale romances and instead embrace the reality of what we have. We also have to realize that no one has a perfect relationship. Those couples who seem to have an ideal connection have likely learned to engage and fight together FOR the relationship.

But of course, it’s hard to let go of the idea of a fairytale romance. It’s not that we can’t have affection, warmth, or love, but it’s that the concept of a fairytale romance is based on a false premise—an idealized version of reality. We can still have plenty of intimate moments and times when we laugh, smile, and get warm fuzzies about our partner. Romance is still great—but it’s the REAL romance we’re looking for, not the fairytale version.


If we explore the real idea of romance by looking up the definition, we get, “Romance is 1. A brief, intense love affair; or 2. A sexual love when another person or the relationship is idealized.” Yikes!! That doesn’t sound like true and lasting love or a life-long connection! The third definition, which speaks to the truth of romance, is 3. Romance is an exciting adventure with the potential for heroic achievement.


Now, doesn’t that sound a little more accurate and much more exciting? Who wouldn’t want to be a brave hero or heroine who conquered their weaknesses, recognized their strengths, and embraced the adventure of relationships?! But with adventure comes risk, and yes, even a little danger and vulnerability.

To have the kind of connection that lasts, we have to be brave—to share our truths and allow ourselves to show who we are. Intimacy comes from authenticity, so we need to “get real.” We have to be unafraid to enable our inner ogre to come out and say all of those things we feel afraid to share, warts and all. Being our true selves is the real challenge in relationships. It’s all about honesty, making our yearnings known, and expressing our feelings openly and without reservation.

Life, just like romance, is an adventure. It’s fraught with conflict and ups and downs, but if we let go of the myth of the fairytale, we get to the real heart of the story. As we explore in our book, The Heart of the Fight, when we get real and honest with our partner, we start to fight together and work FOR the relationship. Challenges bring us closer together.

Love isn’t easy—and it shouldn’t be. Love is beautiful because it nurtures us and forges us into who we can become. We have to work for it, but engaging in a partnership with another person makes the adventure so much better.

Great Relationships Require Great Fights

We’ve all had fights with a significant other. What happens? We get sad, thinking that the relationship is undoubtedly doomed if we’re fighting.

We all know fights and conflict can be a little scary sometimes. We engage and express our feelings, and then we measure our partner’s reaction. If it’s positive, we might keep moving forward, but if it’s not, we might find ourselves withdrawing to avoid more fighting. As humans, we move toward pleasure and away from pain. It doesn’t always “feel good” to fight, of course, so we might find ourselves avoiding confrontation (even if we feel upset).

When we hold our feelings in, we actually drive our relationship further apart. By holding back and avoiding conflict, we might think we’re doing our partner a favor. We’re suppressing our feelings for the betterment of the relationship. But if our relationship is important, then it’s worth fighting for what we really want!


Growth-oriented relationships are going to have conflict. Like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon, that conflict strengthens us and enables us to develop into our potential more fully. With work, our relationships can help us during that struggle, providing both a womb to grow and a crucible to forge our emerging selves.


So rather than shutting down at the first sign of trouble and heading for the hills (or clamming up and giving the hidden middle finger with passive-aggressive actions), we can express our feelings openly, even if they piss off our partner. Growth-focused relationships require us to keep fighting it out. We have to understand each other and say what we feel, even if it’s tough.

If we find ourselves falling into a pattern where we avoid conflict or where our partner avoids it because it’s just more comfortable, it’s time to step back and assess.

If he’s dissatisfied and she’s dissatisfied, then there’s definitely conflict to be had. Some issues need to be brought out into the open. It’s the time to lay it all out on the table. Test the relationship and really push the limits to see if it can go the distance. When we have reservations in relationships, we should explore them, understand them, and bring them out into the light.

Real Intimacy Comes from Conflict, Not Riding Off into the Sunset

In fairytales, no one ever discusses their concerns or problems. When did Sleeping Beauty bring up her feelings?

Fairytales and romantic movies tell us a story about the very beginning of a “magical” relationship; couples “meet-cute.” They may have a problem (usually an outside force) that they have to overcome, and then, you see the happy couple sail off into the sunset before the real relationship even gets started.

In reality, when you’re first starting to get to know each other, that’s the time for working out all the nitty-gritty conflict. The beginning of relationships can be absolutely critical moments to put your honest self out there, which means letting your partner see you at your worst, not just your best. If you put on a front or put your best foot forward, when will they fall in love with the real you?


Real intimacy is forged through conflict, not avoidance.


When we make relationship decisions, we often do them out of convenience or because we’re at a time in our life where things feel like they’re in a natural pattern. However, whether a lease is up, your friends are getting married, or you’re afraid of being alone, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump in fully. Don’t slide into your relationship. Decide to move forward with intention and purpose.

Get the truth out! We should tell our partners what we want and what we need from them. We should be working on ourselves together. Engage in your relationship and examine the pieces. If you have reservations, address them and get everything out in the open if you have concerns.

Will it always go smoothly or look like a movie? No way! But when we get over fairytale romance, we can start working toward a real, fulfilling, strong connection—one where we both get what we want and need from the union.

Committing to expressing our truth is one of the most significant gifts you can give to your relationship. It keeps it real and viable. It keeps you both moving forward, looking to the future, and growing together. Great relationships require great fights. Real intimacy comes from that ongoing honesty and openness.

Ready to explore more about getting the relationship (and the life) you want? Don’t miss our courses on Wright Now. We have many personal growth, relationship, and career courses and training available to stream. Start getting more out of life by unlocking your full potential!

 

 

Passive Aggressive Silent
Treatment: How To Break
the Cycle & Free
Your Relationship

Ever been so pissed off at your partner you put up a wall and enforce “the silent treatment”? (…who hasn’t?!) Or, are you sick of being on the receiving end of the cold shoulder?



Or maybe the two of you are BOTH guilty of this type of passive aggressive behavior. It’s time to break the cycle.

You know the drill. Your partner does something that annoys you, so you think to yourself, “I’m so irritated right now. I’ll show him! I’m not going to speak to him until he notices just how wrong he is—and how frustrated I am.” Then you skulk around, huffing and making just enough noise so he notices you’re there and hopefully realizes you’re ticked off.

Or maybe you’ve been on the receiving end of the silent treatment. Half the time, do you even know what you did wrong? Nope! You can usually sense your partner is mad. While they say they don’t want to talk about it, you’re definitely aware they’re upset. So you tiptoe around passive aggressively and wait until one of you finally snaps and says what’s bothering you.

When this type of silent treatment standoff happens, it goes nowhere. The two of you sit there battling it out, unsatisfied and unproductive. The silent treatment is useless. It satisfies neither of you, and it doesn’t result in any positive outcomes.

The silent treatment is like creating a field of landmines. You’re not waging a war. You’re tiptoeing around trying not to trigger any major explosions. It’s like walking on eggshells—and it can really take a toll on your relationship. In fact, it can be even more damaging than cleaning up the aftermath of a healthy fight and productive confrontation.

Navigating on a silent battlefield leads to paranoia, indifference and frustration. It creates greater distance and pushes the two of you further and further apart. You’re never quite sure how to step or where to go, and so eventually you either become anxious or you just stop caring. Neither one is a great outcome. While no relationship is perfect, the silent treatment can damage even the best relationships beyond repair.

Why We Give Each Other the Silent Treatment

So if it’s so bad, why do we do it?! Even more, why have we done it since we were in grade school and why did we see our mothers and fathers give each other the silent middle finger so many times growing up?

Many of us are raised to believe that passive aggressive silent treatment behavior is just part of being a couple.

The root of our propensity toward the passive aggressive silent treatment begins in childhood during the terrible twos. We’re just learning how to exercise our own will and to establish boundaries. We want things and we’re demanding. When we demanded something from our parents, our siblings or a friend, chances are we were probably shot down. We didn’t always get what we wanted. As children, when we don’t get what we want, we establish the belief that people don’t want to please us—a belief that lasts into adulthood.


Looking for more tips and tools for ending passive-aggresive cycles in your relationship?

Get a FREE 15-minute Relationship Coaching Consultation!


What did we do when we didn’t get what we wanted as a two-year-old? We threw a raging temper tantrum, of course! We probably yelled and cried and stomped our feet. Maybe it worked and maybe it didn’t, but we definitely got someone’s attention. We learned that we could stomp our feet to clue someone in to our displeasure. They might not give in, but in a way, we could punish them. It gave us a sense of control.

So with this belief that people didn’t want to give us our way, we learned to give and accept punishment. Flash forward to adulthood and we’re still engaged in the same self-fulfilling prophecy. When our partner doesn’t give us our way, we’re going to punish them by being silent. Then, our partner gets mad that we’re silent, so they punish us—and round and round we go.

It’s an endless cycle:

  1. My partner doesn’t want to please me,
  2. So I act in a displeasing way,
  3. Which causes my partner to believe I’m a jerk,
  4. So my partner acts in a way that doesn’t please me,
  5. Which confirms my belief that my partner doesn’t want to please me.

Sound familiar?

Recognizing the Limiting Beliefs Behind the Silent Punishment

Unfortunately, none of us were blessed with psychic abilities (and if we were, we’d all be lottery winners). Our partners aren’t mind readers, but yet, we hold out and wait for them to do the things we want them to do. We’re afraid to tell them what we want. Then when they don’t do what we want, we punish them for not reading our minds.

Why? It goes back to our limiting beliefs established well before we were even aware. People that come from mind-reading families tend to believe: If you really love me, you would do X. If I have to ask for X, X becomes less worthwhile. It sounds so adolescent and outlandish, but think back to the last time you or your partner gave each other the cold shoulder. It felt pretty juvenile, didn’t it?

Giving your significant other the silent treatment is really a reflection of your own limiting belief that you’re not strong enough to just ask for what you really want without fear of rejection. When you punish your partner, you’re really diminishing yourself. You’re saying you aren’t equal, you’re weak, and you have to resort to passive aggression over confrontation and conflict. Instead of engaging, you’re disengaging and your relationship is paying the price.


Stuck in a passive-aggressive silent-treatment cycle?
Break the silence and rebuild your relationship.

Reach out to our experienced relationship coaches to learn how to bring out the best in your relationship.


Coming to a Win-Win Outcome: Overcoming the Silent Treatment

So how do we fix this silent minefield we’re battling on? Is it about just letting go of your frustration and irritation?

NO! It’s about embracing what you want, not diminishing it! You need to be able to ask for what you want freely so your partner knows what you want, and then you can make decisions together that make BOTH sides happy! Get to the heart of the fight and embrace the conflict.

When you bristle at something your partner does, like leaving dirty dishes in the sink, teasing you at a party, or not holding your hand in public, get down to the real heart of the issue. What is it you want from your partner? It’s not clean dishes, a better sense of humor, or even a warm hand. It’s respect! It’s appreciation! It’s affection! Those deeper yearnings that counter those limiting beliefs and say, “Yes, I am worthy of respect and I deserve it!”

Articulate your feelings to your partner and let them know what you really want! It takes skills and time to learn how to fully listen to each other and to have productive fights with win-win outcomes, but it can definitely happen! Rather than shutting down, speak up and put it out there on the table. Talk about the situations rather than glossing over them.

Stop Giving Each Other the Silent Treatment – Go For What You Want!

Judith still remembers a moment early on in our relationship when I told her, “I want you to go for everything you want in this relationship—but that doesn’t mean there won’t be times when I’ll want to stop you. So I’m not promising to meet all your wants and needs, but I am saying that, as a ground rule of this relationship, both of us should seek out the fullest satisfaction from each other.”

Many people are more aware of what they don’t want, rather than what they do want. Stop giving each other the silent treatment, and start pleasing each other and going for what you really want in your relationship. Soon, you’ll be battling toward bliss, rather than walking on eggshells.

Learn more by visiting Wright Living. Discover how you can engage, strengthen your relationships, and get more out of your interactions today and every day. You can also join us for our next More Life Training, where you’ll jumpstart your social and emotional intelligence skills and learn how to be your best self!

About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Dating After Divorce :
What Are the Rules?

Do you ever get tired of reading the same old dating and relationship advice? Most advice seems geared to  people who’ve never been in a marriage or long-term relationship.



What about the rest of us, with, well, “history”?

What about those of us who might be reentering the dating field after a divorce or long-term relationship ends? Doesn’t after-divorce dating come with a whole new set of rules? How long before it’s “safe” to start dating again? How much should I share about myself? Should I be honest about my past?

Maybe you’re not ready for a full-fledged relationship or even dating yet, but it can help to reflect on the knowledge and awareness you gained from your previous relationships, then find a way to reignite your social life. It may seem scary, but YOU CAN get out there, have some fun and feel alive again!

Getting Over the Guilt and Resentment

After a marriage ends, there’s often a great deal of self-reflection, guilt, sadness and introspection going on. You might feel like you aren’t sure how to connect with a new person on an emotional level. You might feel “out of the game.” Even if your last relationship wasn’t great (or was, in fact, pretty terrible), you may still be asking yourself a lot of emotionally-charged questions, like, “Why didn’t I get out sooner?” or “Did I do the right thing?” or “Will I ever find love again?”

You can take comfort in the knowledge that most relationships that end do so for a reason. Even if you have your reservations about the way it ended, let’s face it: no relationship ever ends because it’s just too wonderful to go on.

When a marriage ends, things can become tense and heated. It can be hard not to let negative comments and destructive words stick. Sometimes, that negativity can change the way we perceive ourselves and contribute to false or limiting beliefs. It’s important to keep in mind that even if things didn’t work out with one partner, you can still move on, move forward, and find your own bliss.

Even though you may be feeling raw and perhaps even vulnerable, the good news is…there are no rules. You don’t have to wait until you “feel comfortable.” You don’t have to wait until the dust has settled. And you don’t have to wait to start down a new path. You can start small, go big, or anything in between—your doors to self-discovery have just opened up.

Shifting Focus: There’s a Whole World Waiting for YOU

Think of it this way: The world is completely open to you. Freed of the negative constraints of your previous relationship, you can now step out into the world with fresh eyes. You can meet different people and learn new things about yourself by being more aware of the way you interact with them. You can even use the dating field as your own playground for personal growth and discovery.

What other time have you had the chance to really unlock and discover how you interact with different people in different situations? You probably already know what you don’t want in your next relationship. Use dating as a way to have a good time and learn more about yourself and what you DO really want.

By now you probably know there’s really no such thing as “the one.” Let go of the expectation of an outcome or a hope that you’ll find that “one” special someone. Instead, acknowledge that there are many different people out there who can challenge us and start us thinking in new directions.

You’ve been blessed with the opportunity to meet them! You can go out, engage and get reenergized!

Two Vital Skills for Relationship Bliss (Even If You’re Single)

These relationship bliss skills can help you in all your relationships. Learning and working on these relationship skills can help you break free from the notion of “dating rules,” boost your social life, and bring out your best.

Skill #1: Yearning

Yearning is deeper than simply wanting something. Yearning can come from a need to be seen, to be touched, to be recognized and to be acknowledged. The funny thing about yearnings is we often don’t realize what they’re really all about until we take a giant step back.


“We start by reawakening our moment-by-moment yearning to see and be seen, to touch and be touched, to love and be loved, to matter, to contribute, and to make a difference. Our fights are unconscious attempts to get our unrecognized yearnings met or a protest against them not being met. Great relationships require stepping out of routine and habit, and this skill begins by learning to have our yearning guide us in our interactions.” –The Heart of the Fight


For example, on the surface, maybe you’re bothered when someone talks over you or when your date orders for you at a restaurant. Your true underlying yearning is your desire to be acknowledged and heard. If you’ve been dismissed frequently in the past, you may have developed a pattern of pushing down your yearnings, instead feeling quietly resentful.

Think of how much more freeing it would be to express your yearnings and to say, “You know, I’d like to order for myself,” or “I want my living room to look this way.” Identify your yearnings, embrace them and don’t hold back!

Skill #2: Engaging

Engagement is putting things out on the table. It’s being present, being honest and truly expressing yourself.


“Engaging is a deeper and wider concept than just listening or concentrating, though these are important elements of engaging…Understand that to be truly engaged, your yearning and your emotions must be involved. You may be completely focused on your new boss at work, a new date, or shopping at an exclusive new store, but even if you are totally turned on by your favorite designer’s hot new collection, these activities don’t satisfy a deeper yearning, and therefore your engagement takes place on a superficial level. Worrying about the new boss, being curious about the new date or, sorry to say, even finding the hottest new designer shoes doesn’t qualify as fulfilling a yearning, nor does being kind of high and buzzed constitute real emotion. Similarly, if your mind is into something but your heart is not, you’re lacking the emotional involvement that distinguishes true engagement. Just as emotions help us sense what we yearn for, they are the litmus test for full engagement. We feel an experience deeply when we’re fully engaged in it. So when we ask if you’re engaged, we’re asking if you’re involved in a given activity with your heart, mind, and soul.” –Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


Disengagement comes from hiding your yearnings. It can come from a desire to win an argument, not for the good of the relationship, but simply because you want, above all, to be right. Does engagement mean polite interaction or acquiescing to the whims of another? No, of course not.

Many of us shy away from engagement because we think it means conflict, and we think conflict is bad. Well, guess what? Conflict isn’t bad! In fact, conflict can be a great way to stimulate and accelerate your personal growth. You can read more about these relationship bliss skills in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Remember, your journey is only beginning and it’s an exciting and energizing time to embrace the new world ahead!

Want to learn more about how to live your most fantastic life and become your best self? Read on at Wright Living or join us for our upcoming More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright
Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Foundation performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How To Stop
Arguing with Your Spouse :
DON’T!

 

Are you tired of all the fighting? Do you feel angry at your partner a lot of the time? Do you feel nagged at and annoyed?



Does this sound like you?

  • My partner/spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend and I fight all the time.
  • I want to know how to stop arguing with my wife.
  • I want to know how to stop fighting with my husband.

 

You may be surprised to learn that the most amazing, healthy couples fight—and many happy couples fight a lot! So the question isn’t how to stop arguing with your spouse—it’s: “How can we learn to fight better?”

How To Stop Arguing with Your Spouse: Steve & Tammy’s Story

Steve and Tammy* (*names changed) recently came in to see us for couples counseling.

“I feel like I’m always angry at Steve!” Tammy said, obviously frustrated. Tammy felt that Steve wasn’t helping around the house. While they both worked full-time, she was always the one responsible for cleaning and chores after a long day at the office. It was clear Tammy wasn’t one to get confrontational, but she said she knew Steve was aware she was irritated.

Tammy liked to treat herself for all her hard work by shopping and going out with friends. Steve was increasingly concerned about finances and becoming more and more controlling with the credit card, even though in her mind they were doing fine financially. She felt like he was always harping on her about money or acting passive-aggressive and annoyed when she went out.

Throughout our meeting, Steve sat quietly, arms folded and withdrawn. After a while, he spoke up.

“I’m not really that angry,” he said. “I’m just tired of being criticized and nagged at all the time. I work hard too, you know.” When Steve got home from work, he wanted to relax. He expressed that when he did try to help out, Tammy would redo his cleaning because it wasn’t up to her standards. Eventually, Steve says he adapted a “why bother?” attitude.

Meanwhile, Steve felt Tammy spent lots of time going out with friends, but she didn’t really enjoy the outdoors, while Steve felt a strong connection with nature. Yet, Steve reported that while these things bothered him, the only thing he really felt frustrated about was money and that Tammy was always pissy about the house.

So how did Steve and Tammy get to this point? What were the underlying issues? Would they ever stop fighting?

What are the real reasons couples fight?

Enough with the Fairytale Romance Illusion!

We’ve been sold a fairytale romance illusion that love is supposed to be soft and romantic. There we are, hair flowing in the breeze, running toward each other with our arms outstretched. We picture the final scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s when they realize how much they love each other and embrace in the rain, desperately, beautifully kissing and falling into each other’s arms.

Instead, for most of us, love probably looks a bit less glamorous. We find ourselves dueling over dollars, engaged in family feuds, and acting passive-aggressive all too often. We throw out the “you always” and “you never” statements, only to hear, “You’re just like your mother!

When we coach couples at Wright, we so often hear concerned couples say things like, “It seems like we fight all the time,” or, “I feel like we just don’t get along anymore. We’re always angry at each other,” or worse, “I just don’t care anymore.”

When our real-life relationships are in such stark contrast with the Hollywood ideal of love, it’s easy to assume something must be wrong and our relationship must be irreparably broken. We wonder if we’re broken. We think someone else might make us happier, or maybe someone else might be easier for us to deal with.

But the truth is…

Love Is Messy!

Love isn’t glossed over and perfect. It’s NOT like we see in the movies. Love involves fights and frustrations. Love involves moments when your wife doesn’t ever fill up the gas tank in the car. Love is the moments when you find a washer full of wet, smelly laundry because your husband overloaded the washer and forgot to change it out.

When we come into a relationship, we have certain expectations and ideals of what it should look like. When we date, we’re often in a state of joy and in “la-la land.” Everything our significant other does is cute and sweet. Maybe they annoy us sometimes, but we’re attracted to each other, we’re regularly having sex, and we’re going on dates and doing fun, exciting things together.

After years go by, we end up with a mortgage, careers, kids, and regular “life stuff.” It can feel like the thrill is gone. Now we’re just going through the motions—constantly frustrated, annoyed, and arguing. We might be wondering what we’re even fighting about anymore.

15 Common Couples’ Fights & What They Really Mean

After years of working with so many couples, I’ve seen quite a few Tammy-and-Steves. While every couple is unique and facing different approaches, different yearnings and different backgrounds, many of their fights are similar. In our book, The Heart of the Fight, we reveal 15 common couples’ fights.

There’s “Dueling Over Dollars,” “Family Feuds,” “You Embarrassed Me,” and several other fights that probably sound all too familiar to most couples.

Most fights aren’t silly or invalid, so looking beyond the surface of the fight is key. There are great concerns, underlying feelings, and a whole history of baggage lying beneath.

Conflict isn’t the problem. Conflict is the way we address and resolve the underlying problem! The answer is in fighting fair. To help you fight fair, we’ve developed these rules of engagement to ensure your fights draw you closer together, rather than resulting in cheap shots, hurt feelings, unresolved screaming matches, and too many nights on the couch.

Instead of asking how to stop arguing with your spouse, you have to ask yourself WHY you’re truly fighting and if you’re fighting FOR or against the relationship. Are you fighting FOR ways to make things work? Are you fighting FOR the understanding of your partner? Once you reframe your fights and get down to the real issues at the heart of the matter, you’ll find you’re battling towards bliss, rather than driving a wedge between you.

Steve & Tammy: The Aftermath

The WHY Behind All the Fighting: It wasn’t so much that Tammy and Steve were miserable in their relationship. It’s that they were both sitting on their resentments and neither one was addressing the root issues.

Tammy was spending money and going out to fulfill her emotional needs and she didn’t feel supported or acknowledged and appreciated. Steve was feeling criticized and inadequate. They both felt their yearnings weren’t being seen, acknowledged, or met.

So what were the roots of the real issues? Tammy was feeling unsupported and as though her household contributions weren’t appreciated. Steve was operating with a limiting belief from childhood that money was scarce, so he felt he needed to be diligent about budgeting and watching finances. When Tammy went out, Steve felt like his fears were being ignored and invalidated. Both partners were shutting down and building up silent resentment rather than confronting their concerns and getting them out in the open.

Once we opened up the dialogue and helped Steve and Tammy realize their conflict could be productive and positive, they were able to air their feelings and express their yearnings.

Was it perfect and romantic? No, of course not, but they ended up finding more intimacy and strength in their relationship—and they became closer than ever. Real intimacy comes from expressing yourself and being seen in truth for who you really are and what you need. Conflict can bring us closer and make us stronger as couples. Really!

To learn more about healthy relationships and living your best, most amazing life please join us for our next More Life Training.


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why Doesn’t My Relationship Make Me Happy?

When asked the question of what truly makes us happy, many of us are left in a perpetual state of reflection. “What do I need to make me happy?”


What makes you happy? Is it your friends? Your spouse? Your work?

Many people look to their relationship as the answer to happiness. Over and over I hear, “She just doesn’t make me happy anymore,” or “I just can’t seem to make him happy.” Certainly we derive pleasure and partnership from our relationships, but do they MAKE us happy?

How about work? We often hear, “I love my career. I’m doing well. I’m at the top of my game.” But when there’s no happiness or satisfaction derived from our career, we end up going through the motions every day. Even if we’re doing great, we still might not feel that real happiness we’re seeking.

For some of us, without the intimacy and connection of a partner, work can feel empty and unfulfilling.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

Get a FREE 15-minute Life Coaching Consultation!


The Roots & Memories of Our Happiness

Think back to when you were a kid. Remember when you rode your bike successfully for the first time? Or maybe you kicked a goal in soccer and won the game for your team? How about when your mom or dad came in and hugged you goodnight or turned on the nightlight when you were afraid of the dark? Maybe it was the time your teacher had you read your essay to the whole class.

Think about those early moments when you felt true happiness.

Many of us cling to this vague, dreamy idea of what happiness is or what it can be. It’s a memory. It’s something we felt in our childhood that we can’t quite put our finger on now. It’s love. It’s romance and travel and excitement. We see this fairytale in our mind of being saved by a handsome prince or a beautiful princess and falling in this amazing state of love and bliss. We think of ourselves living “happily ever after” and riding off into the sunset.

Yet…we know it’s not realistic. It might be our standard for happiness, but we all know too well it’s not what we’re experiencing in our daily relationships.

My Partner or Spouse Doesn’t Make Me Happy

Couples often come to us feeling like their marriage is crumbling. They fight all the time, often over small things. They have arguments over money, arguments over their relationships with their parents, and arguments over their children. Even worse, maybe the fights have stopped and now they simply feel numb.

There’s this common mindset of: we’ve fallen out of love and the thrill is gone, so we’ve ruined our “happily ever after.”

Well, “happily ever after” is an illusion! It’s a fairytale we were sold on as children. In reality, we’re probably yearning to be seen and acknowledged by our spouse, just like we felt when our teacher had us read our essay to the class. We’re yearning to be safe, to be protected and to feel loved like our parents made us feel when we were children (or the way we wish we had felt). We might be yearning to feel successful like we did when we mastered the skill of riding our bike or when we kicked the winning goal. We want that acceptance from our peers when they cheered us on.

Unfortunately, we’re often looking to our spouse and saying, “Make me happy!” We want our partners to hand us the answer, when we don’t truly know what we’re seeking. We resent them for not “fixing it” or bringing us happiness and we assume something’s wrong with them and with our relationship. Maybe we’ve found ourselves attracted to someone else because we hope they might meet these yearnings since our spouse hasn’t handed us the “happiness” we expected them to.


When couples come to us and tell us they’re experiencing these challenges,

they are shocked when we tell them they are right on track, that their disillusionment and conflict are necessary for real, successful relationships to develop. They are at the doorway of great possibility. They must, however, go into the wilderness of the unknown and face uncertainty in order to undo the fairy tale, to help the relationship grow….

This is when they leave the myths of relationship behind and are free to go into the dark woods of their feelings, their beliefs, and their unconscious minds. It is at this point that they can find themselves and each other. Free of the myths, they don’t have to pretend that everything is great and can engage in growth-producing conflict. Unburdened by the need to maintain a perfect relationship, they can express their true feelings and argue for their beliefs. This is the point where they begin to write their own love story, letting go of idyllic relationship misconceptions and creating meaning, purpose, and genuine connected intimacy in their relationship. – The Heart of the Fight


…So Where Does Happiness Come From? What Will Make Me Happy?

In reality, many of us aren’t actually seeking happiness. We think we are, but we’re actually asking the wrong question when we ask, “What will MAKE me happy?”

We’re expecting happiness to fall in our lap. When we’re stuck in this mindset, we’re seeking to avoid the discomfort and pain of growing. We’re hiding from a life of engagement and interaction with others. We’re zoned out and we’re accepting the status quo. We’re vaguely (or maybe not-so-vaguely) dissatisfied in our relationships. We’re disappointed.

But true transformation and personal growth is uncertain and challenging. It’s hard. It’s not an easy trip sailing into the sunset.


Looking for more strategies for creating your own happiness?

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Everyone is Responsible for their Own Happiness: Here’s How

Guess what? You (yes YOU!) are responsible for your own happiness, outside of your relationship and in your relationship. One of our rules of engagement and productive conflict is that each party must realize they are 100% responsible for their own satisfaction and happiness. Not your partner, not your friends, not your mother or your father. Who, you ask, will “make me happy”? You.

Now, of course you should support your partner and help them work toward the things they want. Similarly, it’s up to you to share your yearnings with your partner and make them aware of what you want.

This doesn’t entail blame, shame, guilt or nagging. It’s not about passive-aggressive actions or withholding. It’s about having the conversations about the truth: What is it you both want out of your relationship? How do you want things to be and what can YOU do to work toward that goal?

Similarly, another rule of engagement is: No one gets more than 50% of the blame. So if you’re feeling stressed and unhappy in your relationship, it’s not all your fault—but it’s not all your partner’s fault either. It takes two to tango and two people to work through conflicts toward mutually agreed upon resolutions.

Many of our conflicts and frustrations are based on this idea that our partner is somehow supposed to MAKE us happy—so of course, with that mindset, we resent them when they don’t! The sooner we can let go of this relationship myth and take responsibility for our own happiness, the sooner we can start to fully engage and work toward it.

Happiness doesn’t mean we’re in a constant state of blissed-out joy. It means we’re engaged and growing as people. It means we’re satisfying our yearnings and working toward the things we want. It means we’re fighting FOR our relationships, not against. We’re not putting up walls, even though it’s painful to stand there without protection. We’re assuming goodwill on the part of our partner and we’re realizing they want the relationship to be the best it can be, too.

Now THAT can “make” you happy.

Once we get over the myth of the “fairytale relationship,” we can embrace true happiness and move forward together. For more on strengthening your relationships, please join us for our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your relationships are going! Tune in to our Lifestyle Podcasts every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self with Wright Living on BlogTalkRadio.


If you’re looking for deeper, more meaningful relationships, you can pick up our new relationships book: The Heart of The Fight, available now.


About the Author

Judith

Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Dating A Coworker:
Bad Idea, or Good Idea?

It was the mid-1970s and it was the first time I saw first-hand why so many of us tend to say, “Dating a coworker? BAD IDEA.” I was in an internship, leading a weekly Group Dynamics course.



One week we’re rockin’ and rollin’—everyone was having a great time, learning and growing, sharing and challenging each other. It was a great working environment!

The next week I go in and immediately realize there’s something wrong. Really wrong. People stopped engaging with each other. They stopped interacting. There was an undercurrent of outright hostility within the group.

I had an idea: I separated the women and the men and had the two groups face each other. They immediately started going for each other’s throats! When we finally broke it all down and everything came out, turns out two of them had started dating and the relationship didn’t work out.

The women blamed the man while the other men thought the woman was overreacting. It was a mess that took weeks to unravel.

Think about it: that entire productive, fun and empowering group dynamic was torn apart—in just one week!

So our big question this week:

Should I act on my impulses and ask out my coworker—and would dating/our relationship complicate things at the office?

The short answer is: Are you kidding me?!? Of course dating a coworker will complicate things at the office! Any time you’re part of a small group of people, adding sex, attraction, loyalty and drama to the mix will complicate things—greatly.

The longer answer is, while it IS complicated, there are ways to make dating a coworker work. When we’re talking about two mature adults acting on a well-thought-out mutual attraction based on friendship, that’s when dating a coworker might work. Is it recommended? Generally speaking, no.

When Dating a Coworker Might Be OK…and When It’s Not

If you both work for a big company with hundreds of employees, or if you work in different branches or different locations, then in most cases dating a coworker is fine. When you’re in a large situation, it’s simple. You aren’t interacting with each other and other coworkers on a daily basis. You aren’t rocking the boat and there will be minimal fallout (if any) when and if it doesn’t work out.

On the other hand, if you’re a member of a small tight-knit office under 50 people, then it’s almost impossible for the ripple effect of your relationship to go unnoticed by those around you. Since the 1970s, I’ve worked with many groups where the tension was palpable after two members had a failed dating attempt. In small groups, any time two people start to form bonds and loyalties outside of work, it can make the other team members uncomfortable and even angry. Add sex into the mix and it ramps up the office drama even more, detracting from the productivity and professionalism of the office.

In today’s hook-up culture, there’s this idea you can have casual, no strings-attached sex with a coworker. In my experience, this is rarely the case. Usually, there are still expectations and feelings, even though the sex is “casual”—and they’re even stronger when you see each other every day and you’re interacting in the boardroom. Even if those feelings are only felt or expressed by one party, it’s hard to get around it.

Not only is it complicated for those involved but the inevitable impact on the group is hard to avoid. People can tell when there’s something going on between two coworkers. Even without confirmation, there’s speculation, which can in some ways be worse for productivity because it’s distracting.

After all, everyone is (or should be) at the office to do their job and earn a living, not to boost their social circle and add a notch to their bedpost.

When To Tell Your Boss You’re Dating a Coworker

If you’ve thought out all the potential complications of dating a coworker and you’re both very low-drama individuals who can maturely and discretely handle testing the waters, the professional thing to do is to plan to go to your boss.

Check the company policy about dating a coworker and inter-office relationships.  This is particularly important if one of you is in a higher position or a position of authority. Many companies have strong policies against what they see as a conflict of interest and a possible abuse of power.

Don’t take the situation lightly. Dating in the office can destroy careers in more ways than one. For example, if one party is underperforming, it can create a major conflict for both parties, ending up in the loss of two jobs. After all, would you really want to work for somewhere that fired your significant other?

If you’re still not deterred and the relationship that’s built up between you is based on mutual respect, friendship and attraction, then it might be time for a candid conversation with your boss. Be upfront and honest. You need to be prepared to follow through with the outcome, however. Remember, if you ask permission and get an answer you don’t want to hear, then you may be facing an even tougher dilemma.

Many people think they can be discrete when dating a coworker, thinking they can pull off a “trial run” without anyone detecting what’s happening. I’m here to tell you: most people can’t do it. They’ll eventually tell someone or they’ll sneak around at work and get caught. Trying to hide it rarely if ever works and eventually when it all comes to light, you may have an even greater mess to clean up.

Getting Over the Idea of Scarcity

Part of being socially and emotionally mature is knowing you can find ways to interact with many different people. We all know there’s no such thing as “the one” and many of us can have dynamic, mutually satisfying and healthy relationships with many different people.

We have to get past the mentality of “this is my only chance.” There are plenty of fish in the sea, and you don’t have to stick to the tiny pond you’re working in.

If you think you can’t get over the attraction or if you feel uncontrollably drawn to the other person, then it might be time to do some work on your expectations in relationships. After all, if you or your coworkers were in a relationship or married (or simply not interested in you), you’d be able to work together despite whatever attraction you felt. Attraction, while important, isn’t the only criteria for a relationship. You can move past it.

Remind yourself of all these factors and weigh out the pros and cons before jumping in and dating a coworker, potentially making a mistake based on fleeting attraction. Try to keep your private and personal life separate from your life at the office. If you do decide it’s worth the risk, handle it in a mature way to minimize the impact on the group and be sure your professional life stays professional.

To learn more about heathly relationships, check out our book The Heart Of The Fight, now available on Amazon!

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

To learn more about boosting your social and emotional intelligence for career and relationship satisfaction, join us for our upcoming More Life Training. You’ll learn skills to become more alive, more connected, and fully engaged in your life and your career.

Want to boost your career? If you’d like to learn more about what the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential has to offer check out:

Want to improve your sales? The Wright Sales Program is a hands-on, experiential program that provides sales professionals with an opportunity to boost their sales performance through the application of social and emotional intelligence to their selling techniques. [Learn more!]


About the Author

Bob-300x250-1

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Wanderlust: Too Soon
to Travel Together?

Who doesn’t love vacation?! Whether exploring a new city or town, or hiking through an eco-adventure, it’s so exciting to add to our life experience, connect with different people and cultures, and open our eyes to new encounters.

Read this post if you find yourself wondering…

  • Is it too soon to travel together with my partner or significant other?
  • Am I ready to travel with my new boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • We’ve been together a while, should we “test” our relationship by seeing if we travel well together?

If you’re dating someone new or even if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you may be wondering, “Is it too soon to travel together?” Either way, the question of travel is pretty inevitable. From a friend’s destination wedding to discount cruise tickets you just can’t pass up, the chance to travel will arise at some point—and sometimes sooner rather than later.

While you may love traveling alone or with friends, traveling with a significant other can be a whole different experience. You may be wondering, “Is there a certain point we should reach in our relationship before we’re ‘ready’ to travel together?” Or even, “Is there a timeframe when we should plan to travel, just to see if we travel well together?”

In reality, just like there’s no such thing as “the one” or “rules” in dating, there’s no hard and fast rule about when you should travel together. Some dates lead to travel plans that very first weekend. Other couples might not have the desire or opportunity for vacation until months or even years into their relationship. It’s about knowing what you’re comfortable with and understanding a few things about the vacation mindset.

Sharing an Escape from Reality

Vacations are new experiences, where our regular habits and routine don’t apply. While this is an awesome time for learning, growth, and exploration together, it can also give us a false sense of how our relationship is “back in the real world.” Let’s just say it can sometimes be hard to see clearly through vacation euphoria or vacation stress.

When vacation euphoria takes hold, everything seems almost magical. We’re suddenly without the stress of everyday life with all its complicated conflicts and emotions, and we’re no longer confined by our routine and restrictions. Instead, we’re experiencing each moment anew.

This vacation high is very exciting and different, but it can also be a challenge to explore your true feelings about each other when you’re in this adventurous state. On vacation, we might connect in ways that don’t completely apply “back in the real world” where we have bills to pay, work to deal with, and a myriad of other things on our plates.

Into the Unknown Together: When It Gets Real

On the flip side, think back to your last long car trip or extended layover at an airport. Chances are, it wasn’t your favorite memory. Traveling together can be stressful—you’re navigating in a new place, deprived of sleep and jet-lagged, and charting unfamiliar territory. After three or four hours in a car, everything can seem amplified, and even your favorite person in the world can grate on your nerves. Stress may cause us to revert back to considering if it is, in fact, too soon to travel together, while you’re already well on your way!

It’s hard not to be upset when someone forgets the map or tickets, or you find out your flight’s been delayed and you’re going to miss a connection. No one reacts well in these situations, so don’t view these as make-or-break “red flag” moments. Give your relationship a little space from this stress before passing any major sweeping judgments.

Vacation provides an extended period of time together where you can pick up on interactions you might not get to see during “normal” dates. Certain personality traits and interactions can be amplified. It’s also a great time to explore your own reactions and feelings to different things that occur in the vacation environment. For example, you may be surprised at the thoughtfulness or kindness you notice in your date when he or she interacts with new people (or you may be dismayed when the opposite happens).

At the same time, in this “artificial reality,” you might notice certain interactions and traits in your partner and wonder why you’ve never seen them act that way in your day-to-day life together. It’s good to make note of those things as well. You might find the person you’re with becomes very different when they’re away from home.

Exploring, Dreaming & Doing—Together!

Vacation can also create time for that dreamy space where you can imagine your future together. Vacation can help you understand how compatible the two of you are in terms of embracing new experiences. Instead of wondering if it’s too soon to travel together, talk to your partner and ask how they imagine their ideal vacation.

If one of you likes a laidback country trip with lots of nature and outdoor time, while the other prefers a busy city trip with food, culture, and museums, it might not be a deal-breaker, but it can mean you’ll have to find other people and different ways to fulfill those travel preferences. Maybe you’ll plan an occasional “culture weekend” with a friend instead of your significant other, or go surfing with your buddies instead of your girlfriend. Maybe you need to take a trip home, but sometimes it might be best to go alone and spend time individually with your family.

Even on vacation, it’s ok to plan some alone time for yourself, if you or your date prefer an occasional break. It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that everyone needs a little downtime, even if you’re head-over-heels for each other. You may have to establish some boundaries and be sensitive to each other’s yearnings and needs, as vacation often means a concentrated amount of interaction with each other. Listen to the cues your partner is putting out and don’t hold back to establish your own needs and boundaries.

No matter what happens, vacation is a really great time to engage, embrace conflict and really get to know each other. You might not get along perfectly, but it can be a great time to explore and understand your boundaries and how you interact in a different environment. Use this as another opportunity to unlock who you are and what you want out of your interactions and life experiences.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

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About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.