At the end of 2017, as you look forward to a new year, you most likely want not only to evaluate how you fared in your relationship but you also make resolutions that reveal your dreams for the future. You want 2018 to bring happiness and joy to your relationship. But how will that be possible?
2018 dream for your relationship
Have no illusion about it. Making resolutions at the beginning of a new year is not about abandoning yourself to some destiny that will, magically, fulfil your desires. If you think so, I’m afraid, you expose yourself to deception. However, I’m hopeful, a better relationship in 2018 remains a wide opportunity –but, it depends on you as couple (How to Restore Warmth to your Relationship).
It’s for that reason I want to propose to you another element that may be necessary for improving your relationship –know your enemy! Why the enemy?
The enemy may unite your couple
Take your time know who or what the enemy of your relationship is. Ridiculous! Isn’t that obvious? Perhaps, it’s not as obvious as you may think. Besides, what’s the importance of knowing the enemy?
Talking of enemy, naturally, you imagine someone to fight and, by all means, to keep at a distance. However, I would say, knowing your enemy will do good to your relationship. Doesn’t that make you wonder? Well, let’s see how the enemy can be a resource to your relationship.
The enemy unites. It’s not rare to see two persons who are not friends but who end up joining forces and act together when they discover that they have a common enemy. Similarly, a common enemy can stimulate you, as couple, to pull up your resources in order to act together for the good of your relationship. But, you need to take care to identify the real enemy, or else, you will waste not only your energy but you risk also damaging further your relationship.
That’s why in this article, focused on the enemy of your relationship, we shall look, firstly, at the false enemy; then we shall see how to identify the real enemy; and thirdly, we shall discuss how you can turn that enemy into a resource to improve your relationship.
Your partner as enemy; are you sure?
It happens sometimes that you engage yourself into a merciless battle against a person whom you suspect to be your enemy. That can be frustrating! You apply all your energy but reap no desired fruit simply because you misdirected your efforts by fighting a wrong person. Moreover, you find yourself fighting, unknowingly, the person with whom you are supposed to collaborate. Unfortunately that happens often. When a problem arises in a relationship you are quick to take the partner for enemy. What a fatal mistake for a relationship!
Difficulties in a relationship may manifest themselves in various forms such as: lack of interest in the other, unfaithfulness, unjustifiable absence, and avoiding the other; to mention but just a few. Well, you know better the problems in your relationship. And the tendency is to look at the other partner as being the one ruining the relationship. So, what next?
You reprimand him, punish him and you fight him; hoping that will improve the relationship. I just wonder if you are aware of what you actually doing.
Well, when you do that, it seems clear to me, you are not acting as a couple but rather as individual, and each person finds oneself at one end of the a rope claiming to be innocent while pointing an accusing finger at the other. In other words, you place yourself in a tug of war. Surely, that will not save your relationship, in fact, it risks breaking. Besides, the other is no longer a partner with whom you can cooperate but an opponent against whom you engage yourself in competition. Most likely, such attitude may come from the manner you look at conflicts.
Hence, you may need to revisit the way you view conflicts
Some people look at the problems of their relationship in the linear way. What does that mean? You take the other person as being singly responsible for the problem you may be experiencing in a couple; he’s predator and you are prey.
Such tendency reveals that you consider problems in the relationship not from the perspective of a couple but from your personal, isolated position. You care little to appreciate how your partner may be equally suffering as a result of the conflictual situation of your relationship. In short, you are not working on your relationship as couple but seeking to satisfy your position. And so, as solution, you hope for the other to change. Illusion! Illusion! Oh yes, what an illusion!
Hey, why not try another approach?
In order to know the enemy of your relationship try to identify the behaviour, as couple, that is making your relationship to suffer. For that, you will need to come out from the narrow perspective of considering relational problem in terms of straight line. Problems in a couple are not linear but circular for you are in give and take dynamic. When your partner does something, good or bad, you respond in certain way –by action, word or silence. And you have, whatever your response is, an impact on the relationship thereafter. What happens to your relationship is no longer simply a result of what your partner did, but the fruit of the interaction between you two. This is to say, you influence each other mutually since you in an I-thou interaction. What does that imply?
He’s your teammate, not your opponent
No matter how strongly you may feel, or think, that your partner is responsible for what’s wrong in your relationship, bear it in mind, you too are part of it. And just as the state of your relationship today depends on your interaction as couple so is the solution. Regaining the health of your relationship does not lie in what the other should do or change but in what the two of you will do as couple. In this case, you and your partner are not positioned at opposed ends of the rope as opponents. So, you will do well to position yourselves on the common spot and pull in the same direction. Then, the enemy is not your partner as such but that behaviour or situation that creates a divide between you two. So you will need to take care; if you are struggling to improve your relationship but with an eye that views the partner as enemy, I’m sorry to say, but you are engaged in a match lost well in advance.
So instead of looking at your partner as enemy who’s sabotaging the relationship, seek rather to find out what is it that’s preventing you from living well as happy couple. Even when you may catch partner in an evident act, like infidelity –have the courage to dig deep to find out how you are possibly part of it. Identify that enemy and then, together with your partner, join forces to fight it, not as opponents but collaborators. Remember, in a failed relationship there is not just one but at least two victims –it’s about you two. And so, a solution to a problem that favours one person is certainly harmful to the couple.
In conclusion, what I can say?
In this article we have tried to establish the fact that conflicts will always be there in your relationship. Before you can even begin to think of the way of dealing with them you need to assume a right attitude vis-à-vis those conflicts and vis-à-vis your partner. Your relationship will come out stronger from your conflicts if your efforts feed on the understanding that the other is not an enemy but a partner with whom you will join forces in order to find a lasting solution to whatever is threatening your union.
Do you have dreams for your relationship? Well, don’t let yourself be put off by whatever conflicts you may have now. Sit down with partner and identify that enemy that is dividing you. Then, see in the other, not an enemy to fight, but a partner with whom you can join forces to combat your common enemy. If you can do that with determination, then, the year 2018 would be a favourable season for you reap the fruits of an improved relationship. I wish you a better and happy couple in 2018.
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