Most of us know that men and women have their differences - each sex having different motivations, drives and focus. This is what make relationships wonderful - two people coming together who are unique, individuals and with their own strengths into making a powerful and strong partnership.
In an ideal world each partner would value, appreciate and respect the other partner's strengths, individuality, and uniqueness. Sadly this doesn't happen as at times some couples (or one partner) are driven by fear and insecurity and to overcompensate this fear and insecurity become, in a sense, controlling and try to change the other into a version of themselves.
"You should behave in this way"
"You should go for this job"
"Don't do that with the children"
"Don't drive like that"
"Be home by 10pm"
"Do not speak like that"
There's a lot of should and don'ts. When women take on the role of trying to change her partner men she often feels like she has taken on the mothering role and men can often feel they need space to breathe. When men take on this role of trying to change their partner they often feel frustrated and are goal orientated and women can often feel they are not being listened to or understood.
What makes your relationship stronger is the differences and how these come together to create a partnership which is strong, passionate, and joyful. Learn to embrace and enjoy these differences.
I like to look upon relationships as an journey of evolution. Each stage you get to know each other in a whole new light, from when you first met, starting dating, becoming serious, moving in together, getting married, creating a family and raising children together.
Each chapter on this journey in an opportunity to get to know each in a deeper and more meaningful way. Appreciate each other's strengths and weaknesses. Use conflicts as a means to not only understand your partner, but also understand yourself in a new way - your fears, insecurities, and motivations.
As you let go of the fear and understand your insecurities the need for trying to change your partner into a version of yourself will be reduced or simply no longer be there.
Earlier I said that in an ideal world each partner would value, respect, appreciate and honour the other partner's strengths, individuality and uniqueness. You can create that ideal world and on the Heart of Relationships London Couple Counselling and Coaching Programme we will show you how with space, teachings and understanding in a step by step approach to helping you get from where you currently are where you want to be.
Want to find out more? Click here to contact us.
Linda Connors - Therapist and Coach
In my experience as a Couple Counsellor and Relationship Coach often one of the most important aspects of a relationship, is how couple's communicate and deal with anger.
It's certainly not the whole story, but couples who learn to deal with anger constructively can experience huge positive benefits in their relationship.
Anger can rise from unsolved childhood issues, work stress, sexual frustration, on-going issues within the relationship, money issues and a general sense of feeling stuck or unsatisfied.
My colleague Dr. Larry Iverson says there are six steps to anger. I'd like to cover them quickly here.
The steps are:
If you recognize any of these steps, then perhaps you are ahead of the game. When I first heard Larry speaking about them, it resonated with me straight away, that this is something I did in the past. Especially the punishment part.
Then Larry emphasized how anger is a choice.
The way I interpret this, is just at the point when I get angry - I have a choice what to do on the back of that. I can give someone a cold look, a stare, be rude, impatient, unkind - whatever it was back to them, or perhaps most definite of all - give them the cold shoulder, leave the situation, or leave relationship for that matter.
What I discovered was that when I came to the point when I got angry, and became aware of my choice response I actually paused and really thought about it. And this was in a moment of
immediate anger response to something someone was doing. I thought to myself, "They shouldn't behave that way!"
Then I used some mindfulness techniques - "If they are behaving that way, then they should, because that is reality." I immediately calmed down. Then I went further. What if I was to love reality - to love what is? It may sound insane to actually begin to really love emotionally what is happening and the other person.
And in that moment where I paused and reflected on my choices I also immediately became aware of my own stories why of it was good to punish people. If I didn't do it, they would get away with it. If I didn't look at them harshly they wouldn't treat me with respect. If I didn't get angry back I wasn't standing up for myself...If I didn't respond angrily they would keep doing it, and I wouldn't teach them the lesson they needed to learn (this was the biggest one for me).
And again, in that moment, I used another mindfulness technique, and questioned myself, "Is it true? Could I really know it was true - that they would learn from me being mean back and teaching them in that way?" No. I really couldn't.
Also, I felt that what they were doing was unfair. I had already done a lot of work with unfairness in the world, and in personal, social life. I realized myself that unfairness is a gift, because it allows us to show our light in opposition for the love of good for its own sake.
So in that pause - I really made a choice. I opened my heart to loving what is. To loving the situation. To loving the person. And to loving myself. I was ready to show my opposition in the most loving and real way. Acknowledging everything in reality.
And the whole situation changed. The other person became lighter. I actually felt stronger, more enlightened, more myself. This had happened once before when I had used mindfulness - and I thought it was an accident. Now as it happened almost exactly the same way, I realized that the other person changing according to the way I really was dealing with their anger and impatience, was no
accident. It was immediate sunshine between us - for real.
This, for me, was a little bit of enlightenment.
Couple Counselling and anger
And I wanted to share it here in a different context, what I learned and am learning as an individual - to bring it to relationships - and especially to the Heart of Relationships.
Imagine what this could be, if two people adopted this in a relationship, enlightened, willingly,
compassionately, standing in their power, out of choice? It could bring amazing dynamics to the relationship.
It does not mean everything is solved nor that there are not other areas to work on. But it can open up the door to raw honesty and awareness, and from there couples can really move to become more intimate in other areas - sexually, emotionally, psychologically - as real partners with genuine intimacy, showing the stuff we think and feel and sometimes hide or are afraid to say.
I wanted to bring this to the Heart of Relationships, and our practice, and to share this in a blog as
just a fragment of what we do and is possible for you and your relationships too - really your imagination is the limit. Imagine bringing such intimate honesty, passion and love for what you really want to many other situations!
And if you are like me, perhaps you may feel inspired with confidence how embracing things which seem negative to begin with love can turn everything around and become productive and very creative!
If you'd like to know more about Dr. Iverson's step stages of anger on Youtube please click here
I hope you have a wonderful day!
If you have tried other couple counselling or coaching with little or no success do not give up hope as we offer a powerful and life-changing approach
During our time working with couples and individuals over the years it has become very apparent that not all couple counsellors or relationship coaches are trained adequately or have enough experience to really help couples.
When some couples contact us they say that this is often their last chance, if this doesn't work they will seriously consider separating or divorcing. They tried traditional couple counselling or relationship coaching and feeling in a state of despair.
Once of the first questions we ask couples when they have previously worked with a couple counsellor is:
Many traditional couple counsellors are very well meaning however often they do not have the necessary training to really help couples move from where they are to where they want to be.
This is what sets us apart from traditional couple counselling and coaching.
On our couple counselling and coaching programme:
We will help you to set goals both individually and as a couple so you know where you want to move to and share this vision together.
We teach the art of communication so you know how to communicate openly, honestly and with respect. We also teach you how to really listen and hear what your partner is saying.
We teach relationship skills such as conflict management to help you in your future so you are equipped with the necessary skills to manage any disagreements or conflicts.
We help you to rebuild your relationship with honesty, trust, integrity, love and respect
We are solution focussed and goal orientated. We only address any childhood issues if it is impacting your relationship now.
We teach you the necessary skills to make your relationship successful and to build a powerful partnership together to enable you to have the strength and the resources to deal with whatever life throws at you.
If you are committed and are ready to work with us to save your relationship we look forward to hearing from you.
Please click here to contact us
Sometimes when couples come to me for Couple Counselling in London, they are at war. Often it's not that they don't value and respect whatever the other person is putting forwards, but they have their values in a different order than their partner.
For example, one partner may prioritize their child's education, believing this will give them the opportunity to have a good job; another partner may prioritize simply getting a good job and place education way down the scale.
From conflict into alignment
When a couple came to me, at war with these exact issues, I helped them to align to the same values they shared, although in a different order.
They both agreed education was important, and that their daughter getting a job where she was able to live a fulfilling life was also important regardless of the different order they placed these things in.
When they could agree that somewhere along the list of each of their criteria they could tick off the same values - they had peace. Amazingly what happened, was that they found they could work together in perfect harmony, supporting their daughter, and supporting each other to do the best for their daughter.
Often it's not that certain values or criteria are totally unimportant to one partner, it's that certain values or criteria simply aren't held in the same place in the hierarchy of their values as their partner may hold the same value.
When each partner can accept that they still hold the same values somewhere on their list of criteria, that's when a couple can really work together.
If you notice you or your partner arguing about things. Specifically if you notice arguing about which order things "should" be in as the most important, you may discover that by supporting your partner's values and the order that they are in, however different from yours' - gives you an opportunity to work together as a team.
Because it's not the order of importance which is most important, what is important is that somewhere along the line of your hierarchy of criteria of what is important to you - you both share and value the same things.
This is one of the keys to build strong relationships - alignment and acceptance.
John Donlon London Couple Counselling
What makes our couple counselling and relationship coaching experience different?
When Deborah and Tony came to me after doing the rounds of couple counselling and still no further on in their relationship, they told me almost immediately, that what I was doing with them was different.
They were able to talk, and hear each other, and consequently discover their shared mutual goals which drew them together and gave them a shared vision for their lives, for the first time, ever, since their marriage.
In a structured couple counselling session there are a great many elements, some of which are inter-linked – but I’d like to share with you just one thing I do with clients which really works.
What I do, is I teach them the most advanced counselling listening skills that I myself learned and have taken years to develop and get to grips with – and encourage the underlying qualities clients have as human beings which make those skills really count in their relationship.
So that clients can take a skill they’ve literally experienced and has helped move them on further along in resolving or perhaps completely solving some issue between them, and really implement that into their lives.
Not only do they learn a skill, but they grow as human beings – as people, and they grow together, which helps to form a bridge and connection between them - and that is just some of the beauty I find in couple counselling and relationship coaching – that couples take things and make them their own, and get creative with the content of what they want, and what they want to say, so that their lives expand beyond anything I might have imagined for them.
If you’d like to come to couple counselling relationship coaching assessment to experience how you and your partner can move forwards, ring 0800 024 8647 or 07960 214 336 and you can ask to speak with John or Linda today.
There are things you can do, to make your life better, and to live as a better person, adding to your own stature as a human being and other people's lives, especially in your most intimate relationships.
Remember: When two people live consciously in this way, it is most powerful!
1. Start the day consciously and positively: When you wake up, make sure you greet your partner in a positive tone of voice - and start the day by saying at least 3 positive things - and always be grateful for whatever positive things they do. If you ignore your partner when you wake up, and the first things out of your mouth are complaints or negatives - perhaps a string of negative statements, this isn't the best way to consciously begin your day. Start by creating positives! And two people creating positives - create a positive Circle!
2. Have a positive outcome for the day, which brings you closer to your big dreams, and several smaller steps which make the day more positive: Your big dreams are obviously you bigger goals, which may not be doable immediately, so do something today which moves you towards those dreams practically. Smaller things you can do, should include getting in touch with your body at the beginning of the day - have a shower, go for a walk somewhere you love, make love, have a bath, a nice meal, dance.
3. Use the power of perspective: The power of perspective can change the whole meaning of a situation. One of the things we do at the Heart of Relationships is reframe problems as opportunities for growth. If you have a problem and feel it's a roadblock, then you may feel you have no future. Being able to use a problem or an issue to actually increase your resources, skills and talents, and enjoy the process of overcoming it brings with it not only tremendous confidence, but inspiration, love, and wisdom. When someone was unfair and negative towards me I viewed it as an opportunity to stand up and show who I am in what I said and did and didn't buy into their negative reality - which in turn changed the situation and the whole relationship. You too can use the power of perspective to reframe things in the kindest, wisest, most compassionate - and also honest and real light, in your relationship. And the more you do it, the more it creates a positive pattern, as a way of being, in yourself and in your relationship.
4. Consciously sort for positive instead of negative: NLP discovered that people "sort" for things, on either side of a spectrum. If you take a person's sentence, you can generally understand how they are sorting for things, which can be a help if you want to get into their world and communicate better. It can also help you have more control and understanding of the way you sort for things, and this kind of understanding can help you change the way you think and have far more awareness and conscious choice of the way you are in relationships.
Examples of the way people sort for things on either side of a spectrum as defined by NLP are listed below.
In time (present focused) Through time (future focused)
Towards Away from
Internal validation External validation
Improving situations depends upon how you sort for things, and responding appropriately. There are many other factors involved, such as empathy, mutuality, honesty, ect. But understanding how people sort, and how you sort for things, can be very useful.
Seeing the table just above may give you more awareness and inspire you to sort for things in the most constructive and generous way for your life!
Some obvious suggestions are: Consciously sort for positive instead of negative. Consciously sort for gratitude instead of blame.
If you want to improve you life, sorting for positive and gratitude, can begin to implement a positive circle - which works like a blessing to generate amazing things, if both people are doing it honestly and generously!
5. Always state things in terms of a positive solution rather than a problem: The following statements are ways of taking the exact same situation in different ways. They are also deliberately using negative individual vs positive team building statements.
Problem focused thinking: Solution focused thinking:
I don't know if I'm attracted to my partner any more. How do I create an amazing sex life with my
partner and for myself?
He never does anything for me anymore. How can we do more for each other, to make
our relationship better?
We haven't enough money. How can we work together to create what
we want and need?
6. Go first: Living with unconditional love is a basis for change - change is not a basis for unconditional love!
This simple statement is so important, that understanding and implementing it in the way you live your life with your partner, is literally the difference between creating and building your relationship - or destroying it.
If you want love - appreciation - an amazing sex life or whatever - and you are waiting for your partner to change - Don't wait for your partner to go first - or you might be waiting a long time to create what you want - make sure you begin with you! Make sure you go first!
Change the game - change the dynamic - instead of having two people with their arms folded waiting for the other person to change - extend the invitation with love for your partner to meet you in what you are offering to create!
When you begin with unconditional love for yourself, what you say to yourself, and the way you think, your statements will begin to change too! You can move from conditional self-limiting demanding to unconditional self-love and relationship building statements!
Below are just a few examples of conditional self-limiting statements vs relationship building statements
I am not going to have sex until things change. I am going to change first and make the effort with goodwill, knowing that generosity and
love is a basis which creates a State where
things are already changing for the better.
So I am going to initiate the change to create
a better sex-life!
(Notice in this statement the person puts
State as a basis for Action to
produce Results! Being aligned like
this as a person produces statements and
actions which are effective, genuine,
creative and giving. When someone is
aligned spiritually with their values, beliefs
and actions you know you're talking to
someone with understanding, love, and
generosity who is already being the change
they want in this world)
I am waiting for my partner to appreciate me, before Appreciating myself means I can act out of
I show them love or give anything. a place of strength rather than need - so I
meet my own needs and I'm not waiting for
love - I already have it in myself! And that's a
great place to build a loving relationship with
So I'm going to show my partner I love them
and welcome everything they give. I action
and offer the opportunity to grow together!
Quite simply, two people are stronger working together, and have something to build on - when they start with love.
If one or both partners starts tearing down the relationship, fixated on what they want instead of appreciating and using what they have, then they create a ruin - and ruins are not very good foundations to build upon.
Which is why at the Heart of Relationships we nurture the best positive perspectives, and values for relationship building and encourage both people to adopt and implement them - and then upon this basis implement the skills techniques and interpersonal-processes we teach and experience the results!
7. Live making an effort for your relationship today: Do something special or new or outside of your comfort zone to make your relationship a little more special today.
8. Look at things in terms of universal goodness - that is - what is good for both of you instead of just from your own side. People who focus on what they can give in a universal sense give spontaneously and originally. Adding to the relationship in this way means also giving things alot of people who have the same universal sensibilities and values would appreciate and enjoy in the world if they saw you. This is living out of your skills talents and gifts - so that you are shining. And two people giving and receiving are shining.
Universality means similar patterns and processes which cross language, culture, religion and which people share as part of the love of Good.
I have a friend Lucy; when we talk speak about things we talk in a way which has a strong personal meaning which unites the heart - no matter what culture, language, religion or philosophy you hear it from.
9. Live generously and appreciatively being thankful for and using what you have rather than fixating on what you want with blame
10. Notice how your thoughts begin, and live with the love of good: Every thought has a beginning. If the thought we begin with isn't true in the sense of loving goodness is true - as one thought lead to another - and this is how we construct our stories and personal realities - it's essential to notice how thoughts begin, and begin deconstructing and constructing the way we think with the love of goodness.
Byron Katie suggest four questions to apply to our thinking which helps us to do this. The questions are, simply: 1) Is it true? 2) Can you absolutely know that it is true? 3) How do you respond - live your life - when you attach to that thought? 4) Who would you be...without that thought?
Using this process people can deconstruct thoughts which aren't true and find better paths and ways of living. This is also part of mindfulness and enlightenment.
Applying this process to explore your thoughts, your life, your self, and your relationships, can help you become lighter, clearer and wiser.
Added to this, the love of good is very constructive - this can all help you build a wonderful life and partnership!
If you chose by understanding, implementing and actioning that what is existentially true is actually the love of goodness, which builds up relationships, and is creative, you can enter upon a path of personal enlightenment which can change your life for the better.
11. Live with goodwill: Will is a powerful word, and good will gives force and power to generosity - use it! In other words, Action the good that you see to do!
12. Act with commitment and don't stop "until" you see the positive results you want to see: many people have all the ingredients of success, all the strategies, the values and beliefs to get what they really want in life but don't succeed - because they don't practice these things until they succeed - Keep going until you succeed - realise that success ultimately is a life-long process - and don't exit beforehand!
John Donlon and Linda Connors work at the Heart of Relationships, helping people transform their lives and relationships.
John offers relationship advice, solutions and share their thoughts on love, relationships, marriage and intimacy.