Most people spend a great deal of time looking for the “right” partner – some even make a written list of the attributes they want to find in their future “right” partner, and then tick them off when they meet a potential partner.
However, what about spending time BEING the right partner?
What does that mean? Francesca and Stan Levine (who have been married for 55 years) from the Relationship Rescue Institute in Melbourne, Australia teach people just that.
It means that you need to evaluate who you are, what are your values, fears, goals and how you relate to others. These are often not things that people do – i.e., self-reflection.
This is not easy for those people who are used to making one’s life consist of reactions to others’ behaviours and regularly not willing to take responsibility for what goes on in their lives. It’s so much easier to point the finger at everyone else, and blame other people and organisations for whatever goes wrong.
That attitude really doesn’t work, and it doesn’t produce anything of deep or lasting value.
Honest self-reflection is not about beating yourself up. It’s about asking yourself the why’s and how’s of your behaviour, and being willing to change what doesn’t work.
What really helps is an acceptance of responsibility and a willingness to enquire as to your contribution to the conflict or other situation. Remember, when there’s any interaction between people, each person is making a contribution, whether positive or negative.
What is invaluable is listening, something that most people rarely do; I know most people say they listen, but often they are listening with the intention to respond; what Francesca and Stan teach is how to listen with interest and intention to understand the other person. That leads to compassion, validation and empathy.
In turn, that creates more connection, and connection is the basis of all good relationships. A relationship works well when you bring/give something to the relationship, rather than take from it. If your approach is “What will I get from this?”, then that does not augur well for the success of the relationship. Mostly, the more you give, the more you get.
To sum up- being the right partner requires:
- self-reflection, which leads to
- change, which leads to
- listening & giving, which lead to
- understanding, which leads to
- compassion, validation & empathy, which lead to
- connection, which is the basis of a great relationship.
Phone: +61 3 9427 0032
Published in Fox Daily Post