The 2 Most Important Steps to Revitalize Your Relationship from Death

Relationship
Couple with a gun

We all have been in this situation. Several years into a relationship, and somehow the passion has gone, and all that is left is you looking at someone, who gets you angry or frustrated no matter what he or she does. How come?

While it is true, that after several months the butterflies in your stomach won’t come that easy by just looking in each other’s eyes, it is also possible to stop this negative trend. And if you think that your relationship is already on a dead track, then here is how to reverse it and put some new life into it.

Disclaimer This article aims at men and women alike, so whenever I use “him” or “her” it is also true for the opposite sex. When it comes to our minds reaction in relationship troubles, we tend to react more alike than we sometimes think.

Hidden, but Unfulfilled Expectancies

We all want something. We have expectations in each other. We want our partner to do something for us, and we want him to behave in a certain way to make us feel good.

But what happens, if this expectancy of happiness gets not fulfilled anymore by our partner. We get frustrated and out of that frustration, we start to reproach them.

It is a typical situation: The man comes home, tired from work. He wants to just relax in front of the TV, drink a beer and wants to calm down. Suddenly, his wife reproaches him, saying that he always hangs in front of that damn TV, doing nothing and that the household is a mess, and she is the only one doing anything to keep it tidy, and she goes on and on and on. He then often just shuts down or even tries to escape into a bar. Or he makes a mental note to next time work later, so he won’t be home to experience another bashing, while at the same time having a good excuse.

Does this sound familiar? It happens all the time. How did it happen? Weren’t they happy about it just some years ago?

Frustration through unfulfilled expectancies happens sooner or later in every relationship.

The Reptilian Brain Reaction

The problem is, we take this frustration personal. We think that the other person did it with bad intention, and then our reptilian brain kicks in (Fight or Flight), and so we start to attack. Of course an attack triggers nothing else but another reptilian brain reaction, either defending, re-attacking or fleeing from a threat.

This is what ultimately will lead to divorce.

Divorce in this case is nothing but a logical step for the reptilian brain, an escape from constant threads.

How Can We Stop This Pattern of Reptilian Brain Reaction?

We need to switch our focus from the protective, reptilian brain to the constructive part of our brain, that allows us to achieve what we want.

A reproach focuses your mind on what you don’t want, and since the universe sends all the power to what you focus on, that is what you get – more of what you don’t want. A reproach is also something that the subconscious of your partner interprets as an attack, so it switches into defense or re-attack mode. In this mode argumentation is very difficult, and since the mind is already in survival mode (defending yourself is a form of survival), it is not focused on constructive problem solution, but mere on how to escape from the situation as good as possible. That is the reason why your partner being reproached by you shuts down, leaves the house, goes to his favorite pub or prefers working longer. All methods of escaping a threatening situation that you put him in through your reproach.

A statement of desire, on the other hand, puts your focus on what you want, and via the same universal law, you get more of it.

All you got to do is reformat your reproaches into statements of desire.

The Transformation Process

Here is how to do it:

Step 1: Write Down All Reproaches

  • Write it all down, put it on paper.
  • Write down even the things you haven’t told your partner yet. What really sucks in the relationship? Don’t hold back. This is for your eyes only.
  • Use a new line for each reproach.
  • Then draw a separating line and note the reproaches he used on you.

Step 2:Transform Each of These Reproaches Into a Statement of Desire

  • Take each reproach statement from Step 1 and find out, what you really want from this reproach. What is your real core motive behind it?
  • What do you want your partner to do? Get precise. Write down what your partner could do to make you happy. Write down what action steps would make the reproach obsolete.
  • On your partners reproaches: Try to step into his shoes. What did he expect from you, that you haven’t fulfilled? How could you fulfill his desires? What action steps could you take. Again, be proactive and not defensive.

It is essential to get into a positive communication. Once you have your list ready, go to your partner and tell him what you want, what your desires are, and what you want him to do.

Then you should also ask him to do the same. Compare your lists, find out your real desires, your core motives that once brought you into a relationship. These motives are still there, and they can help you to re-ignite the passion and love that you so crave for.

Give it a shot – and miracles might happen.


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22 comments… add one
  • I really like this idea of shifting the focus from what the other person is doing wrong to what you want them to do. I’m going to try this exercise out so that I get in to a habit of doing this before anything gets a chance to turn in to a fight.

    • Patrick

      @Justin: Instead of defining what you want them to do, you better state what your underlying desire is. That sounds like a subtle difference, but sometimes just focussing on them doing what you expect it is better to find out what you want. Maybe they don’t have to do the things you thought you wanted from them. It is not about manipulating others do to like you want to. It is about getting clear what you need from a relationship in order to be happy.

  • Patrick,
    What a great technique. I have been married now for 10 months – only after dating my wife for 3 months. I love our relationship, but I think we do sometimes have expectations and this is a way of communicating very effectively and efficiently. I would even add doing some visualizations together of your desires.
    Excellent post – I’ll give this one a tweet πŸ˜‰

    • Patrick

      @Jai Kai: Thank you Jai. I hope this will help you in the upcoming years of your marriage to reach ever increasing levels of joy and happiness, and get both of you through the tough times more smoothly.

  • Patrick, this is an excellent approach to avoid getting stuck in a negative cycle of reproaches. My BF and I don’t seem to have this problem, but (according to him) his ex-wife often said reproachfully, “You love [his work] more than you love me.” She didn’t say what she wanted him to do to make her happy, and maybe she didn’t really know. But starting to talk about what she wanted and what he or they could change might have revitalized their relationship. Instead, as you discuss, the reproaches led inevitably to divorce.

    • Patrick

      @Madeleine: Most people don’t know what they really want and therefore are stuck in this vicious reproach cycle. And divorce as I stated is a natural escape route for that. Glad to hear that this is not your problem. Keep up the good communication with your boyfriend.

  • I thing every partner should discuss the problems they held in their heart like adults do. Put aside the emotions and get straight to business is a good approach to a healthy relationship. This is always better than to explode one fine evening.

    • Patrick

      @Karlil: Approaching your relationship from a business perspective is a good alternative and might give you lots of good insights.

  • Patrick, I like your approach. One problem I notice in some couples is that each one wants the other to start the process of change, with the net result being two people dug into their positions and no improvement in the relationship. If both people are willing to engage in the process you suggest without defensiveness, they could potentially feel more fulfilled in the relationship.

    An important part of this process is listening. As one person expresses their desires the other is actually listening with an open mind (and heart). Just this piece can increase intimacy. I know it works for me – I love it when my partner makes the space to listen to me – and I love being the listener as well.

    • Patrick

      @Gail: Thank you for your added thoughts. It really couldn’t be stressed enough that listening to each other is THE vital skill to make any kind of relationship thrive. Missing out on this will definitely lead to death. And also hoping the other one will do the first step is also a surefire way to misery. There is nothing more important in life (and relationship is a big part of that) than assuming a proactive approach. Thank you Gail.

  • Patrick another great post and a great technique for re-connecting with your partner. Fortunately I don’t have to use this as my wife and I talk a lot to each other in a very open way, but I can see the usefulness of this technique.

    • Patrick

      @Steve: Good for you. Keep up the communication especially in though times.

  • @Gail, yes I agree that listening is an important part of the process. It can help to know that listening–really taking in what the other is saying–is not the same thing as agreeing or committing. If you make it explicit that ‘first I just want to really hear how it is for you’ then you have made a safe place for yourself to connect deeply with your partner. Then the conversation is all about making sure you really understand.

    Just being heard like this can help a person who doesn’t know exactly what it is they want most in the relationship, to get more clear about it.

    Patrick, I like the simplicity of your two steps. When it’s just two steps, it’s much easier to remember what to do in the heat of the moment πŸ™‚

    • Patrick

      @Kye: Yes in the heat of the moment 2 simple steps is what is needed. Complex formulas aren’t appropriate here. And again, listening is key (as is trying to step into each others shoes).

  • Great tips. Writing things down can clear the mind, create a new chapter and help the couple get past the tension/frustration. Only couples actually practiced this then 50% of all new marriages won’t end n divorce.

    • Patrick

      @Jonathan: Writing things down is a great tool for nearly every aspect of self reflection. If only couples would do that before marriage, maybe their marriages would be much happier.

  • A very practical wisdom you have shared here. I do believe that we should control our minds from giving us false responses. Nevertheless, I want to emphasize that we must first face a battle within our self in order to affect changes in our outside world. It is never easy to change our ways, that’s why we must gather all our will to defy the manipulations of our mind.

    However, we all must face this battle–not only for the betterment in our relationship–but also for the overall improvement of our life. πŸ™‚

    • Patrick

      @Walter: Constant self-reflection and letting go of all the wrapped BS – Belief Systems πŸ™‚ – is a necessity for any growth. And especially in relationships. Thank you for your comment Walter.

  • I would like to add: I think MOST relationship problems could be solved, by addressing them with the person before things get “too serious”. Talk to them. Tell them what you want, and what you don’t want. Let your partner do the same.

    Also, I think the man in the relationship needs to start being a man. Plopping down in front of the television with a bottle full of suds every night wouldn’t(and shouldn’t) make anyone happy. If you would just use that time to start pursuing your in most desires, you will become much happier, and in the process, make her happy.

    Real quick, one more thing. Light that fire in her eye’s. Turn her on every single day. Make her want you. Do it with this one thing: “Tease Her”. Make fun of her(in a loving way) and have fun with her. Don’t be submissive, instead reclaim your role as a man and watch things roll into a blissful relationship.

    Like always, great material, and keep it up! We love your work!
    -Tristen R. Royal(and Team)

    • Patrick

      @Tristen: So true. Try to solve problems before the turn into serious problems is the best way to cope with a relationship. And if you missed that point it is good to know, that there is a way to come back.
      And every man should find his role of being a man in life (as should every woman with her female qualities). Lighting that passion in each other instead of just letting life happen to you is a needed act, if you want to become proactive in any way. And having fun with each other (and lovely teasing and fun playing is a great way to do that) is another essential quality to pursue in a relationship as well as in life.

      Great thoughts. Thank you.

  • Hi Patrick, I like the expectation part the most. I think in every relationship expectation plays a vital role to make it or break it. When we expect something from our spouse and we dont get the same then frustration and agitation aggravates. Thanks

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