Tag Archive: Marriage



effective communication1Faithfulness is an important value in a marriage. After all, you pledged your vows of faithfulness and commitment ‘until death do us part’ on your wedding day, hoping to guarantee the faithfulness and commitment that allows you to confidently rely on the steadfastedness of the relationship. But we know all too well, that almost 50% of all marriages fall apart and end in divorce. There is also a high percentage of infidelity that occurs in relationships as well, some ending in divorce, others building from ground up to restore broken trust and revive the marriage with renewed vows of faithfulness.

Defining Faithfulness

Before we go any further, let’s take a few moments to think of some of the following words that have to do with the concept of faithfulness:

  • Trust
  • Confidence
  • Assuredness
  • Conviction
  • Fidelity
  • Truth
  • Certainty
  • Permanence
  • Rest
  • Commitment

Now I invite you to think about whether these are the words that come to mind when you think about faithfulness. Is this what faithfulness means to you?

I believe that true commitment and faithfulness means to be trusted in all areas, not just the sexual department concerning matters of fidelity. Being faithful means that you are trusted with the matters of each other’s hearts. Being faithful means that you can be depended upon to follow through with your promises. It means that your partner should have a confident expectation (or faith in you) that you will follow through and deliver on not only your promises but your wedding vows as well. This kind of confidence helps to eliminate fear or worry in a relationship.

If there is too little trust, little sense of safety, and little certainty about your relationship, this is a huge cause for concern and something to invest immediate attention to, for the sake of your relationships health. Intimacy comes from knowing the other person at a deep level. When this is not happening, there is always room for doubt and suspicion of where you stand with the other person, as well as questions being raised about how honest and open the other person is being. Openly and honestly sharing our thoughts, dreams, values, plans, decisions, and most importantly matters of the heart is an essential foundation for building that sense of security within a relationship.

Guardedness

Sometimes we put up masks or guards in a relationship about our areas of weakness for fear of being judged or rejected. But the more you share inside the relationship, taking risks of vulnerability, the safer your relationship becomes. If one member of the relationship cannot share his/her fears of abandonment, fear of closeness, or rejection, or fears of being controlled, or being seen as ‘all bad’ causing feelings of failure, and believing they are not loveable as they are, or have fears of sharing their own desires, needs or feelings in a relationship, this can become a major problem. Those sorts of things will seep out elsewhere if they are unable to be revealed within your committed relationship. This opens the door for infidelity, whether emotional or physical, where secrets now drive a wedge between you and the love of your life that you pledged your vow of faithfulness to. If you now share these secrets with a person outside the relationship, you may be at risk for some type of affair, and a ‘cooling’ of the committed relationship you are in. I encourage you, if you are afraid to share your deepest fears and needs with your spouse and you want to have a committed long term marriage with this person, face your fears. Bring your needs, desires, weaknesses and fears to your spouse and not to someone else, even if it feels risky. This is a great way to guard your marriage from outside intruders that may come in between the two of you and breakdown your marriage.

I also encourage anyone considering marriage, to take a look at the words above that outline what faithfulness is really about. If you do not believe you can do that, or do not have the same value of faithfulness, DO NOT COMMIT to marriage until you hold faithfulness in such a high regard. It is the only sure guarantee that you will have a successful marriage, if you REALLY do value commitment and faithfulness.

When the going gets tough, not when a relationship is in it’s infancy with all the feelings of infatuation… this is the time when your real values begin to show up. The test of time and hardship will help you determine the ‘stuff’ not only that you are made of, or that of your spouse, but it will also reveal how strong your relationship is. It will show you both what your ‘staying’ power is and willingness to stick with the process of being truly known and fully knowing, accepting and appreciating your spouse. This stage unfortunately is usually where the relationship begins to fall apart. But it is also an important crossroads for the relationship as you both begin to see your own moral failures, as well as your true values, and can be the beginning of the most confident, secure and wonderful committed relationship as you realize as a couple that you have made it through the most trying times and have come out stronger because of it.

Loyalty and Commitment

Here are some ways to increase a sense of loyalty and commitment, thereby ensuring faithfulness to each other:

  • Speak highly of your spouse in front of others. He will feel respected, she will feel loved.
  • Be involved in the things that are important to your spouse.
  • Help make decisions together, as a team, especially ones concerning finances (for him) and regarding the kids (for her) as well as other decisions that need to be made together for each person to feel considered, valued, and part of a team working together toward your family goals, values and dreams.
  • Don’t correct of be overly critical of each other in public, in front of the kids. Resolve these issues privately, and try to do so with as much love and respect as possible.
  • Don’t say anything that will tarnish your spouse’s reputation.
  • Don’t look lustfully at others outside of your marriage.
  • Make each other and your marriage a priority.
  • Defend each other.
  • Keep your commitments.
  • Speak positively of each other.
  • Work through your own issues of fear that affect your commitment and faithfulness.
  • Strive to be more faithful, loyal and committed.

Remember also that love ALWAYS protects, always hopes and always perseveres.

Stay tuned for value #5 on how to ensure that you are protecting your marriage from intruders. I will give some more key information on how to have the appropriate boundaries in your marriage to help keep your relationship safe from infidelity or other things that come into a relationship and eventually can break down the marriage bond.

————-

Looking to improve your relationship?

Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

Advertisements

couple huggingAt first glance, looking at the concept of unconditional love, the task itself seems forever daunting, if not completely impossible! How can we love our spouse so completely and unconditionally? No wonder so many of us give up on the thought of happily ever after and “until death do us part”. Love is complicated enough when we are NOT expected to love so perfectly. But perhaps unconditional love is not as daunting as we first suppose.

Perhaps it is our expectations of what marriage is and should be that we take a look at first. If we enter a relationship with the expectation that the other person is supposed to take the role in our lives of ‘completing’ us, or bringing us fulfillment, and the ideal perfect idea of happily ever after involving no conflicts and agreeing on everything (let’s be honest, when we say that, we really mean that the other person agrees with you) and couple all of that with the expectation that the other person is not a ‘broken’ person dealing with their own issues, and growing from them, what we really have is a search for a fairy tale, and not reality. It is also a picture of self-centered or self-focused love. We are looking for someone else to love us unconditionally, with no understanding of what unconditional love is really about. What I have just described is not only a recipe for disaster, but it is not what a ‘real’ relationship ought to consist of.

First let’s take a look at what unconditional love really is. The definition goes something like this: The one who loves does not do necessarily what the one being loved wants, but what is deemed best by the one who loves. It also has to do with the concept of preferring one another… not merely looking out for your own interests and needs but also to those of the other. This means that we are looking out for each other, to find and cherish the best in each other, and encourage growth in each others weak areas, so that they might become stronger and well balanced in all areas of life, rather than a marriage of convenience seeking what someone else can complete in you. It requires being other focused. It requires greater emphasis on building together something that will not only last, but grow and flourish and bring the best of the both of you through friendship and team work.

This concept of love does not fit so well with your typical Hollywood romantic movie. A perfect example comes to mind is the upcoming movie, “About Time” with Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson, about  a guy who finds out from his dad that the men in his family have always been able to travel through time. The character Tim in the movie (played by Domhnall Gleeson) can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life. As the movie trailer indicates, Tim goes back to the same moments in time several times to edit what he presents of himself to the girl whom he is falling in love with, so as to present a more ‘polished’ or ideal presentation of himself. Click below to watch the trailer for this movie:

Sadly, this is not what real life or real love is about. It is most often the opposite. The person with whom you are the most intimate gets to observe you in ways that outsiders do not see. The day to day habits, character issues, un-edited versions of each other. I will admit, in the early stages of a relationship, yes it is true that people most often show the best parts of themselves at first, but eventually the flaws show. Eventually disillusionment enters the relationship, especially when you are seeking the ideal mate.

couple arguing in bed

While it is quite disappointing when people first see the flaws in their spouse, it is a perfect opportunity for something real to develop and the perfect place for unconditional love to be tested. This is the part of the relationship where your real values surface. When you first see the flaws – the temper, the blameshifting, the hidden secrets surfaced, the addictions or bad habits show up… what do you do? Do you see this as the perfect opportunity to run away and leave the relationship? Do you withdraw emotionally and disconnect? Do you fight and bicker and stick it out? Most of these responses come from something deep within us that longs for the ideal, coming out in language like “I need to find someone better than this.”

If you have followed my blogs for a while, you may recall a series I did a long while back on boundary development. To refresh, boundary development happens in the first few years of growth, going through the following stages of development: First we need to attach and connect, then we need to separate and individuate and begin to notice that mommy and me are not the same. This is also where boundary development begins. Knowing what you want, or don’t, determining your likes and dislikes, and differences between you and others first takes place. The next stage involves knowing that you are loved unconditionally; that both your good and not so good parts are loved. Finally, there is the stage of adulthood and authority. These are the stages we walk through while growing up in our first family. I mention this because, as many of us know, we all carry baggage with us into every relationship we enter. Everything that is unfinished business in our growth and development needs a safe place in which we can continue and complete that growth, that missing element. This is a perfect example of what the intention of marriage is for.

Marriage is meant to be a safe place to finish growing and be cheered on by our mate to continue to grow and develop throughout the remainder of our lives. Without continued development, we grow stale and become stagnant. Where there is no vision, the people perish. We are meant to continually live with purpose for the remainder of our lives. The same man who was quoted to say that without vision we perish, is the same man who tested the measures of life, as you can read in the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament of the Bible. Solomon was claimed to be the wisest man of his age, and after an experiment of experiencing all sorts of pleasure, and riches, work, even wisdom itself, came to the conclusion that everything in life is meaningless without purpose. His conclusion was that God gave purpose to life, and that without purpose, there was really no point, because everything comes to an end. You can’t take your riches with you. Pleasure alone without purpose leads to depression, and loneliness. He realized that life was not meant to be live self-centeredly.

So too, marriage is not meant to be lived for the convenience of others making me happy, but rather to work as a team together building each other up, and being a help to each other spurring each other on toward more and more growth, and personal or professional or spiritual growth, as well as coming to deeper levels of maturity within the relationship. Sharing not only the joys and successes of life together, but also walking together through the painful seasons of life along with all of the trials, and through each others weaknesses, openly communicating and sharing with each other brings a deep and rich fullness to your lives together, and ultimately leads to a life where there is never a dull moment, or distance between you, but rather a rich sense of ‘wholeness’ as you draw closer together, always preferring one another.

This is what unconditional love is meant to be.

————-

Looking to improve your relationship?  Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach

 


This morning I was inspired by a blog I read on igniting more passion in your marriage, and since I’ve just begun a new blog series on marriage, I decided I would host blog this touching article, and link to a video that has recently gone viral, entitled “Sweet Lorraine” about a 96 year old man whose wife recently passed away and the love song he wrote to her after 75 years of marriage. It was such a touching story, it brought me to tears, and I would like to share it with you!

Please follow the link below to the article and the you tube video, “Sweet Lorraine.”

http://tolovehonorandvacuum.com/2013/09/passion-in-marriage/


These are the 7 values that are important safeguards for your relationship.

happy romantic couple

1. Unconditional love

Unconditional love is the most important value in a relationship. It is committed love. It is defined by doing what is best for the other as deemed by the one loving. It involves compassion, preferring each other above yourself, protecting, and commitment to love even in conflict – when the ‘ feelings’ aren’t there. Make a promise to love in good times and bad, in sickness and health, in plenty or in want. Love is patient, kind, rejoices with truth and does not fail. See 1 Cor. 13:4-8.

2. Honesty

It’s critical to having a ‘real’ and authentic, trustworthy relationship. Dishonesty is one of the primary ways to break down both communication and the foundation of the entire relationship. Suspicion, lack of trust and safety form without honesty, and can single handedly destroy the marriage. Intimacy is always blocked when truth is absent. Honesty brings what is hidden to the light.

3. Faithfulness

Safety and trust are fostered within the relationship, paving the way for a deep, abiding and trusting relationship. It brings assurance that this relationship is committed. It guards against fear. It holds each other in high esteem and treasures each other. It always protects, and preserves the bond between the couple.

4. Forgiveness

Remember basic goodwill toward each other when in conflict. Try to empathize with your spouse and listen and understand their point of view. Evaluate what is beneath your anger to work on the root issues, rather than simply using anger as a protective barrier against your partner. If you are looking out for the best interests of each other, it diminishes areas of conflict and there is less to forgive.

5. Protect Against Intruders

Set limits on how close you become with outsiders to the relationship. Boundaries guard against infidelity and deep emotional connections that tear away at the intimacy between the couple. This is where honesty, faithfulness and love come in to undergird and protect the relationship. Guard against flattery from others. In order to keep your marriage safe from intruders you need to come up with a strong plan of action to ensure the security of your relationship!

couple talking in cafe6. Good communication

If you clearly, honestly and openly articulate your needs, desires, expectations, assumptions, beliefs, concerns, fears, etc. then you are well on your way toward making your relationship great! Communication is important. Connect heart to heart and share your real self with each other -this is the glue that holds it together.

7. Conflict Resolution

Finally, make it a point to work together to resolve conflicts and problem areas to foster growth and a mature, deep and committed relationship that will endure. If you are both invested in making it work, you both have work to do. Working together is incredibly important!

These values promote healthy, thriving and vibrant relationships! Over the next few weeks, stay tuned as I delve deeper into each of the above mentioned relationship values! Enjoy your long weekend!

————-

Looking to improve your relationship?

Check out my online Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach


“I love you but I don’t trust you”. Does that sound familiar to you at all? If so, you’ve come to the right place to find some answers to resolving the issue of trust in your relationship. Can a relationship survive without trust? Do you want it to? Do you feel conflicted about whether you should stay or should you go?

I’m sure we’ve all been there at some point in our lives… whether it is as severe as a gambling problem that has depleted your financial stability, or as nasty as an affair can cripple a marriage, a severe addiction that your loved one is involved in that is affecting you as a by-product, abuse, or a betrayal by a friend… there are many ways in which trust is broken, and different levels of severity to be sure… but the types of broken trust I hope to address today are the ones that cause you to ask difficult questions about whether the relationship is salvageable, or better yet, hope for total restoration!

I read a book by the title of my opening statement: “I love you, but I don’t trust you”, written by Mira Kirshenbaum, who has some great advice and much wisdom on the subject. I would highly recommend this book as it is a great read for anyone wrestling with complicated trust issues. Today, I hope to briefly review some of her recommendations that I believe are full of wisdom!

From the back cover of the book, it grips the reader with compelling questions such as:

Is my relationship worth saving?
Will the trust ever come back?
How can things ever be good between us again?

As a quick overview, some of the most important messages I pulled out of her book where most often questions that left you thinking… but help to pull you out of the vicious trust cycle of “should I stay or should I go.”

Asking the following questions should help you not only sort out the answer to that question, but help to answer the question of “Can trust be restored once it is broken?”, once you’ve made up your mind to stay.

Try asking yourselves these questions:

1. Would you want this relationship if trust could be restored?
“Guideline #1: If you didn’t think this was a good relationship before the betrayal… then why would you want to stay in it now? But if the relationship was a good one, why wouldn’t you want to try to salvage it?

2. Does the fact that this betrayal happened ruin everything for you?
“Guideline #2: If the betrayal has changed who the other person is for you so thoroughly that you can’t imagine wanting to be with him – not even after your anger has died down, not even if you knew for sure he’d never betray you again – then trust isn’t the issue and you’ll be better off ending the relationship.”

3. Can I imagine the possibility of forgiveness?
“Guideline #3: If you can see your lack of forgiveness as a self-destructive act, if you can see forgiving as a life-affirming act, and if you can sense the realistic possibility that one day you might be able to forgive, it makes sense to work at healing this relationship. Otherwise, not.”

4. Does the person you mistrust care about how you feel?
“Guideline #4: If the other person doesn’t care about how you feel in the sense that he consistently hasn’t gone out of his way to do things to show his caring, then he will not be able to work with you during the trust-restoring process, and so it’s not likely to happen. Why bother trying?”

I need to insert something I have personally observed in this stage of restoring trust: It is far easier to fixate on the problem (broken trust) than to actually notice and take into account the other person’s caring actions. Be careful in this stage to pay attention to the internal messages you are taking in. Is everything coming through the broken trust filter, or are you able to cognitively reason instead of looking through an all-or-nothing point of view? Can you intentionally give credit to the other person when they ‘go out of their way to show they care?’ If they are unwilling to rebuild trust… you will know it.

5. Can the other person work on your relationship with you?
“Guideline #5: A good way to tell if the other person is willing to work on the relationship is this. What happens if you attack less and listen more? If that makes the other person more willing to work on things with you, then you’re in good shape. If it doesn’t make a difference, or if you can’t bring yourself to attack less and listen more, then you may not be able to go through the process of rebuilding trust.”

Broken trust CAN heal. We were hardwired to trust. It’s in our DNA. “We want to trust. We need to trust. We’re designed by nature to be trusting creatures.” As Mira says in her book.

The reality is, as I mentioned in my previous blog on trust, when we stop trusting, we lock our hearts up in a cave, impenetrable. We become hardened, and isolated, and we lack ability to sustain caring and attached relationships because something inside of us has been altered by broken trust. Our sense of safety has been dismantled… our belief that there is good in the world turns into suspicion of every person we meet…

“Our thinking goes something like this: If HE could hurt me the way he did, than ANYTHING could go wrong, EVERYTHING has the potential to blow up in my face. I can’t even trust myself.”

I know. I’ve been there too. It’s like you no longer csn trust yourself to make good judgments. But again, if we turn it into an all-or nothing belief, we will completely discredit ourselves because we did something perfectly normal, perfectly human: we chose to trust someone with our heart and they disappointed our hope.

In closing, I will share this great quote from another favorite author of mine, that really helped me to understand why just because you trust, it doesn’t necessarily equal that someone else will be trustworthy in response:

“If you are a responsible and loving person, you might assume other people are like you – responsible and loving… You do the right thing by taking responsibility for yourself, for your mistakes, for your work, and care about other people and how your actions affect those people. You have concern about how what you do affects others. Doesn’t it make sense that everyone else would be like you and really care?”

Unfortunately, if you were to read further, you would realize that this simply isn’t the case. But just because it is not the case, does not mean that we automatically suspect everyone as a person who is self centered and out to get you.

Eventually, we must come to a point where we reach out and risk again, despite how unsafe it feels. Check out my blog on “Safe People” for tips on learning what qualities need to be in place for you to believe it is worth taking the leap of faith and trusting again!

And don’t be too hard on yourself. It is a process, and as they say, time heals all wounds…


That’s right, I’m blogging Saturday instead if Friday! That’s because my husband swept me away up the grand river yesterday to go canoeing for a fun birthday event before taking me out to dinner to celebrate my birthday (which was the 23rd of August!) the night before that we checked out the busker festival downtown TO. (Toronto for those not local to the Toronto area!)

So, I thought this would be a great segue to today’s topic: how to keep the romance alive by coming up with some great date ideas!

I mean there’s always room for the traditional dinner and a movie out! But sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and check out new restaurants you’ve never been to, and expand your palate by trying new foods… Something very easy to do when you live in a melting pot of many cultures with all the verying types of food to try.

We are lucky in Toronto to have everything from Jamaican, Chinese, French, Italian, vietnamese, Indian, Greek, Thai, Israeli, only to name a few!
So mix it up!

You can also try different types of clubs or lounges with different atmospheres in each, whether it be a jazz club, to a salsa dance club, to anywhere they play live music.

Check out the local festivals in your city or town as well! Anything to get out of doors and experience the culture in your town!

How about going for a long walk on a beach nearby (or make it a day trip if the beach is far away) or walking hand in hand in a beautiful garden?

Dancing in the rain? Finding your favorite song together?

Renewing your vows?

Indoor picnics on a rainy day?

How about a blast from the past and check out a nearby carnival and indulge in cotton candy or a candy apple as if you were just kids again? Check our the rides while you are there too!

What about checking out the nearest local zoo or museum, or check out a water park for the day or go to a horse race or a casino for the day?

Make plans for short weekend getaways, not so far from home, somewhere you’ve never been, in between your big annual or bi-annual vacation plans?

Check out Montreal or Quebec city or manhattan, Vegas, Florida or LA?

Cruises can be fun, or sunny beach destinations as a vacation idea.

How about rainy day fun? Plan an indoor picnic! Go all out! Put your blanket on the floor, food in your picnic basket and enjoy some creative fun picnic food!

Create your own holiday and come up with fun ways to celebrate!

Here’s a fun one: book a couples massage!!! Or spend a day at the spa!!

Hot tub dates?

What about a random birthday or anniversary idea?

A romantic stroll in a romantic town. If you happen to be anywhere in Europe, Paris perhaps? Or anywhere really in France or Italy! In Ontario, check out Grand Bend, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Stratford… Or locally, a nice park, walking hand in hand, stopping only to kiss under the biggest tree you can find!

What about waking up early together to catch the sunrise quietly together in a beautiful part of town. (or for the not so early risers… Check out a sunset together instead!)

How about romantic notes for each other or a special card? Emotionally flood your partner with a list of the 12 most important things about your partner that make you smile or that you love the most!

Breakfast in bed is a traditional and wonderful way to wake up in the morning! Turn up the charm! If you haven’t been romantic in a long time, things like this are great to soften a heart that feels hardened by emotional distance between the both of you?

Sexy lingerie?? Or how about offering a simple foot massage, or a sensual full body massage?

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about sporting events! Check out your favorite teams and sport and book tickets for the both of you to go together!

Or the ballet, catch a show like the blue man group, or a live play like Les Mis, or whatever is currently playing near you in the theatre!

Play your spouse’s favorite love songs by the fireplace to get the mood going!

A home cooked meal for the person who usually does most of the cooking!

A bottle of champagne for a special occasion!

Buy gifts for your partner that symbolize things they are passionate about to show thence you notice their passions and care!

Don’t forget some of the basic things: give your heart, not just gifts!

Write poetry for your spouse!

Make a little loving gesture each day for a whole year – discuss with each other what they consider loving gifts or gestures!

Buy her or him books by their favorite authors!

Buy their favorite movie!

Buy her shoes and purses, and jewelry! She will love that!

Fun sexy games to try:
Anything that involves stripping! Like poker, or chess…. Twister??

Basically, get creative, to keep things from feeling stale! All creative efforts show you are interested, and are usually appreciated! Timing is everything!

Know your spouse… This will help you better come up with great ideas they be sure to enjoy!

Be careful not to let fear of failing or things not going as perfectly as you planned kill the moment! Improvise or try again! It will get better with practice!

Don’t worry about feeling like you are not creative enough, or that you lack self confidence, try to stop worrying about the cost. These things can kill the moment!

Here’s another thought: write a list of the 50 reasons why you married them!

Dud I mention flowers and chocolate? Or whatever the favorite dessert is in your relationship?

Leave secret love notes tucked away somewhere for them to find randomly!

Get a babysitter for the night so you have uninterrupted quality time together to invest in your relationship! Set rules that date night is NOT the time to bring up issues in the relationship or even to discuss projects you’re working on, anything work related, or even the kids. This is a chance to re-connect and get away from the normal busy schedule!

Have fun creating your own fun ideas! May I recommend the book: ‘10,000 ways to say I love’ you by Gregory Godek for a whole bunch of ideas to get your creative juices flowing!

Finally, get ideas from your friends and some of the romantic things they have tried in their relationships!

Go ahead! Put some fun and spontaneity into your relationship and get the romance going again!

Schedule a date night now, and start planning… And never forget how romantic a secret surprise is that is unexpected and random!

Have a great weekend!

20120825-113957.jpg

20120825-114053.jpg

20120825-114147.jpg

20120825-114303.jpg

20120825-114423.jpg

20120825-114521.jpg

20120825-114642.jpg

20120825-114750.jpg

20120825-114906.jpg

20120825-115239.jpg

20120825-115341.jpg


Before I get started on today’s subject, I would like to point out that today is my husband and I’s 16th anniversary – and I’m only 34! We got married young! Lol! We celebrated last weekend with a picnic dinner and movies under the stars, and will be going out for dinner tonight and a full day at the scandinave spa in Collingwood Ontario on Sunday to celebrate. For our 15th anniversary, we went on a cruise to Europe! So beautiful! I will likely blog more about it next Wednesday!

Telling you this is an important segue into today’s topic on love and respect, touching on the differing needs of men and women. Why is it important to mention my 16th wedding anniversary, you might ask, other than the obvious reason to share a special occasion with you? Because, even after 16 years of marriage, there is still much to learn, and new ‘aha’ moments about each other, as we journey together through life, watching and participating in the areas of change and personal growth in each other’s lives. An anniversary is a perfect time to reflect on the successes, growth together as a couple and as individuals, as we look back through the years from where we started to where we are now. And there is still much to learn.

For instance, I picked up this book a couple of months ago, called “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs and as I read it, I realized I was very much unaware of how desperately men need to feel respected. Before all the women raise their defenses and women’s lib ideas of ancient traditional perspectives of men ruling their wives, often involving suppression or control, and take a modest look – let us put our biases off to the side for the moment and consider what Eggerichs has to say, and take away from it what you will.

I personally felt that hesitation myself as I am very much an advocate of women’s rights, and equality, and quite liberal myself when it comes to very traditional and limiting perspectives of women. So bear with me because I think the author does a good job of addressing both women’s and men’s needs quite equally.

Having said that, here is a synopsis of what he suggests women need. I will start with that first, so the women readers are more open to hear what their men need! And if you have a great relationship and equal status with each other, this will serve as another great tool to understand each other better.

The author of the book suggests that most women desire closeness, openness, understanding, peacemaking, loyalty and esteem. She fears respecting him because her deeper fear is being a doormat. He suggests that even in conflict, women confront to connect. We are seeking a peaceful resolution to restore the closeness and the connection. If the conflict is left unsettled, she feels a ‘gulf’ between the two and will continue to confront until it is resolved. Oftentimes Dr. Eggerichs suggests that in these confrontational moments that men feel that she is trying to control her man, but disagrees with this common perspective and suggests to men “your wife is confronting you to connect”. When a couple gets this, it remarkably improves their interaction with each other.

On the subject of a woman’s need to feel close, he suggests women feel close when her partner holds her hand, hugs her, is affectionate without sexual intentions, spends alone time together focusing on each other, pillow talk after sex, and I might add to that, feeling connected heart to heart in conversation that promotes emotional intimacy.

The author suggests she wants her spouse to open up and shares his struggles with her. She wants to be understood and not to be viewed as a problem to be fixed. She needs to be listened to, to be heard.

When there is conflict, she wants her man to own up to his contribution in the matter and say he’s sorry instead of blaming and not taking ownership. It takes two to tango. Usually there is fault on both sides, even though percentages of ownership may vary from conflict to conflict. She just wants him to own up to, or should I say “man up” to his part in the problem area.

She desperately needs to know you are committed to the relationship and to be honored and valued and treasured. This is her version of being respected. She will feel respected and esteemed when you speak highly of her in front of others, telling her you are proud of her accomplishments, giving her affirmation and praise, and value her opinion.

Keep in mind, this is a synopsis of the book, if you want a more in depth understanding, you will need to buy the book!

Now that the women are softened and are feeling a little more understood, we are a little more prepared to hear about his needs. What does your man need? How do we understand him?

The author uses the acronym C-H-A-I-R-S to describe his needs. By the way, the acronym he uses to describe her needs is C-O-U-P-L-E.

His needs are: conquest, hierarchy, authority, insight, relationship, and sexuality. How many of you women cringed at a few of those words? Especially hierarchy maybe?

He explains that conquest has to do with appreciating his desire to work and achieve. He feels it is his duty to provide for his family and he wants to do it well. He will feel you appreciate his desire to work when you listen to his work stories, you tell him verbally that you value his work efforts, allow him to dream bigger and encourage him to reach toward accomplishing those dreams. If you criticize his work he feels disrespected.

Hierarchy has more to do with his desire to protect and provide than to lord it over you. Women who are reading this will appreciate this quote from the book: “women hear (the word hierarchy) and think immediately of the chauvinist mind-set: ‘The male dominates the female’…’It’s a man’s world’…’Men are superior and women are inferior’… And on and on. I can’t really blame these women,” he says, “because over the centuries men have…justified all kinds of terrible treatment of women” but disagrees wholeheartedly against such abusive treatment of women. Rather, he suggests that if a man is “good-willed”, his wife’s respect and his hierarchical position will not cause him to abuse, because that is not his nature. He will not use his position as “chair” of the family against those he is to love and protect” and provide for. He wants to be responsible. This is one of the ways he wants to show you love, by providing and protecting.

As for authority, the author suggests that a man needs appreciation of his desire to serve and to lead. Another hard concept for women to swallow! Authority comes with responsibility, and is not to be given irresponsibly. Mutual submission to each other is necessary, but a responsible man knows this, and when he leads with authority, he is serving his family, by preferring her needs above his own. Eggerichs suggests that your husband wants “your acknowledgment that he is the leader, the one in authority. This is not to grind you under or treat you as inferior.” He suggests it is because your man wants to be responsible. “Appreciating and respecting his desire to serve you and lead the family takes faith, courage, and strength on your part” he tells women. He will feel you appreciate his authority and leadership when you tell him you are thankful for his strength and enjoy being able to lean on him for support, he will also feel this way if you support his self-image, or praise his good decisions and show grace towards his bad decisions. If you disagree, tell him in private and not publicly in order to honor him.

I know women need him to ‘just listen’ and not problem solve, but he needs to feel as though his insight is appreciated, as well as his desire to analyze and counsel. He will feel this way if you thank him for his advice, let him problem solve occasionally, and recognize that problem solving for him is his “male brand of empathy”.

As for relationship, he appreciates “shoulder to shoulder friendship”. Sometimes he just wants to be in your company, not to talk, but just be in the same room, or doing the same activity together, as he would do with his male buddies. He just wants companionship sometimes.

Last but not least, which really needs no further discussion as we all know a mans desire for sexual intimacy!!! He needs you to understand he needs sexual release just as you need emotional release. He needs you to respond to his sexual advances and wants you to initiate too!

In closing, I will add that the author suggests that these aren’t universal principles across the board, and rigid concepts. Some women may have needs that the author suggests a typical male to have, and some men may relate to the needs mentioned in the C-O-U-P-L-E acronym suggested as typical female needs. That is normal as each of us has differing needs regardless of gender. Dr. Eggerichs is merely pointing out some common themes he has seen within his counseling practice throughout the years.

For what it’s worth, it is a riveting look at how we relate to each other, and the foreign needs of the opposite gender and how we can learn to both love and respect each other better in a marriage relationship between man and wife.

Happy anniversary honey! I pray I can better understand and meet your needs, even the ones I cringe at and wrestle with!

I look forward to engaging in your comments, questions and opinions on this subject. I’m curious about the responses of those reading this blog!

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one or couples Relationship Coaching Program which will equip your relationship with the tools it needs to grow!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your no charge Personal Freedom Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach


Couple Romantic HoldingThis month I am primarily going to be talking about marriage relationships, but these tools are great for anyone in a committed relationship to keep in mind to have a thriving, healthy relationship!

Over the course of the next few weeks, I will touch on how to love and respect each other, forgiveness, keeping the romance alive, and some basic marriage 101 things to keep in mind that everyone should know about marriage.

Today is more of an introduction, but an important place to start, as we lay down some ground rules about building and maintaining healthy boundaries in marriage. You may think… Boundaries? In Marriage? Why should there be any boundaries in a marriage? Hear me out, and determine for yourself if the following 7 ideas are important safeguards for your relationship.

happy romantic couple hugging1. Love

Ok, we’ll start with an easy one… Or perhaps this is the most difficult one of all. Hmmm. Food for thought! Love is perhaps the most important value in a relationship to sustain the relationship. Because love is not just the mushy, romantic moments together in a relationship. Neither should love be confused with sex. But sex is definitely an important part of keeping a bond between each other that reassures the other that they are loved! But love is more than this. A good goal is to discover unconditional love. Unconditional love is committed love. It is love that always maintains basic goodwill toward each other, even in moments of great conflict. Unconditional love is defined by doing what is best for the other, not necessarily giving them everything they want, but doing what is best as deemed by the one loving. It involves preferring the other above yourself, it involves protecting the other from thongs that may prove harmful or not beneficial to them. It involves compassion. It involves commitment to love even when the going gets tough, and the ‘loving feelings’ aren’t always there. It keeps it’s promise to love not only the good parts of the other, but to accept the ‘whole self’ of the other, which includes the less than perfect characteristics that annoy you from time to time, or the areas where they still need to grow in. As they are loving you the same way, this allows for mutual growth and benefit for both people, as true intimacy can be attained this way, and self esteem is nurtured as you learn that you are not merely loved for how well you perform, but you are loved unconditionally. This is a great boundary to set… To make a promise to love in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, in plenty or in want. Love is the glue that holds the relationship together. Don’t take it for granted. Keep the love alive!

Another passing thought before I move on… Couples who have a strong, mutual connection to God also tend to have a stronger commitment to love, as unconditional love is a strong commandment among many faiths. It is always esteemed as the most important value.

2. Honesty

Honesty is critical to having a ‘real’ and authentic, and trustworthy relationship. Dishonesty is one of the primary ways to break down both communication and the foundation of the entire relationship. Honesty is like one of the 4 pillars to build a relationship on. Without it, it breeds suspicion, lack of trust and safety in the relationship, and can single handedly destroy the relationship altogether.

Ask yourself this: why is it I don’t want to be completely honest with the person I love? Why do I feel I have to hide things about myself, or my bad habits, or whatever the case may be. What are you afraid of? What are you afraid will happen if you reveal what you are being dishonest about? What is the likelihood that when you reveal your secrets, what you expect to happen will actually happen? Not only will answering these questions reveal something about your own sense of integrity, or your weaknesses you struggle with, it may also reveal the weak points in your relationship. It may mean the person you are with is not loving unconditionally, it may mean you or your partner have an opportunity for growth. It could be your partner wrestles with grace for your flaws, or is looking for an ideal, perfect relationship, rather than a real relationship. It may be a perfect opportunity for growth. Intimacy is always blocked when truth and honesty are absent. Think of this as an opportunity for deeper growth in the area of intimacy. It may be an opportunity for growth for the one hiding things from the other. Is there a root issue there? Have you been rejected before and fear it again, event though it may not happen in this relationship? Are you blocking the other person in the relationship the ability to really come through and show you you are loved regardless? Examining Dishonesty reveals what is hidden. Honesty brings what is hidden to the light so there is an opportunity for repair.

Couple Holding Hands3. Faithfulness

It’s integral for a long term, committed, till death do us part kind of marriage. A commitment to faithfulness is a way to foster safety and trust within the relationship. It fosters protection, and paves the way for a deep and abiding trusting relationship. It guards the marriage from outside influences that could bring potential harm. It sets limits on outside relationships to preserve the bond between the couple. It brings assurance that this relationship is safe, nurturing, committed, and always ‘there’. It allows each other to rest in the reliability of the relationship. It nurtures love, and guards against fear. It holds each other in high esteem and treasures each others hearts, assuring each other “you are safe here”. It always protects, and preserves the bond between the both of you.

Couple Hugging4. Forgiveness

I will not go into great detail today as I’m dedicating a whole blog to it in a couple of weeks…. That is how important this issue is!!! Make your promises of how you will work through forgiveness. Remember basic goodwill toward each other even in conflict. Try to empathize with the other person and where they are coming from, or what they have endured. Evaluate what is beneath your anger to work on the root issues, rather than simply using the strength of anger as your protective barrier against the other. Remember that your job is to protect each other always, rather than protecting yourselves from each other. Remember to prefer each other, and this will help diminish the areas of conflict. If we are both looking out or the best interests of the other, we will have less to forgive. Stay tuned for my forgiveness blog in a couple weeks as I go into more details and practical tools to work through forgiveness. Forgiveness is hard work. But essential to keep the toxins out of the relationship!

5. Protection against intruders

I briefly touched on this when I talked about faithfulness. Theses two go hand in hand. You will need to set limits and boundaries on how close and connected you allow yourselves to become with outsiders to the relationship. Determine together how close is too close to outsiders to the relationship. This helps to guard against infidelity, affairs, deep emotional connections with others that tears away at the intimacy between the couple. If you find yourself able to be closet to someone outside the relationship that could potentially break down the strength of your committed marriage relationships, ask yourself why this is. Discuss it with your spouse first. This is where the values of honesty and faithfulness and love come in, to undergird and protect the safety of your relationship. Perhaps it is an indication of something that needs to change or grow in your relationship or that something has grown stale and needs to be revitalized. Guard against flattery from others. This is a commitment you need to make together that you want this to be an exclusive relationship. Say what you will about ‘open’ relationships, or friends with benefits or free love, but none of those things help build trust, safety, intimacy or assurance that you are truly loved… Which is a basic need and desire we all have whether we admit it or not. If you want to keep your marriage safe from intruders you need to come up with a strong plan of action, and your own values and boundaries to ensure the safety of your most important relationship to each other! This is a perfect segue to the next boundary:

6. Good communication

If you are able to clearly, honestly and openly be able to articulate your needs, desires, expectations, assumptions, beliefs, concerns, fears, etc than you are well on your way toward making your relationship great! Communication is important. Not just talking about the weather or what you did at work that day, but to connect heart to heart and share your real self with each other, this is the glue that holds it together. If one or both of you struggle with knowing what your concerns are, or how to confront and voice your needs, or to identify your needs, this will affect your ability to communicate effectively. Make it a goal to learn together effective communication skills. In fact, I will recommend a book for you to check out which identifies a lot of the problem areas in communication. I’m talking not just about what is said, but how it is said, or understood, or clarified. I’m also thinking of what is unsaid, and the verbal body language we make assumptions on and don’t ask clarifying questions to ensure we have received the right message. I’m talking about assumptions we make, which often turn into beliefs whether accurate or not. If you find you have trouble in the area of communication, and are committed to making it work – check out this book called “Love is never enough” by Aaron T. Beck, MD.Working Together

7. Working Together

Finally, make it a point to work together to resolve the conflicts, problem areas, weak areas, in order to foster growth and healthy, mature, deep and committed relationships that will endure the test of time. If only one of you is committed to making it work, one of your pillars has broken down. If you are both invested in making it work, you both have work to do. One person cannot carry the entire relationship. If you are the person not investing in making it work, why is that? Have you given up on love or basic goodwill towards your spouse? Is there a communication blockage that has caused you to give up? Are you open to outside help to give it another shot? Perhaps there is some piece missing that you have not yet identified.

Working together is incredibly important. If one of you gives up, it can be detrimental to the future security of your relationship. If you find that you don’t care about the future of your relationship, you desperately need to seek professional help outside of the relationship to see if the relationship is salvageable and whether or not you are invested enough to try and save it.

With a little work, your relationship will have the best chance for survival, healing, repair and the ability to thrive. Hopefully some of these tips help.

————-

Need some extra help?

Check out my one-on-one Relationship Coaching Program and get started today!

Katie Meilleur – Certified Relationship Life Coach


I’m starting a new series for the next couple of months on relationships and marriage. Over the next several weeks, I will discuss such concerns as how to effective deal with confrontation, forgiveness, receiving love, some marriage basic ‘need to know’ tools, differences in gender needs and love languages, etc. Today I want to start the series off right by addressing some essential characteristics of healthy relationships. I will address more of the same in subsequent blogs.

Relationships can be difficult even for the best of relationships, and even though those relationships you look to as examples of how to get it right, that seem so streamlined and perfect while you watch them in admiration from a distance – those couples know a very important secret: Healthy relationships take work! While there are many contributing factors to making a relationship great, I am going to touch on some key elements to getting you started on making your relationships great!!

First of all there is commitment. It must be paramount in your relationship with your spouse or potential future life partner (for those of you not married yet).

What is commitment and how sincere is your commitment to each other? We live in an age where commitment is a word not really understood. With high divorce rates looming, we seem to as a generation lack a clear understanding of what commitment means. The marriage vows we read on our wedding day, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, give way to the wedding plans and the excitement of the day itself. And many traditional wedding vows are no longer being used.

Just what are we committing to? And when you’ve been down the road of marriage for many years, just how fresh in your mind do those early vows remain? There are reasons why the book of proverbs tells us so clearly to guard our hearts and even our eyes, to keep us from the temptation of greener pastures elsewhere when you are doing the real hard work of marriage -being truly know and loved for your flaws and all. Commitment certainly is something we need to newly re-evaluate and determine once again: till death do us part.

Honesty is integral. If you cannot be honest with the person you are spending the rest of your life with, you will have major problems down the road. Your secrets will not stay hidden, even if you have been successful for years. All that is hidden comes to the light. Once it is exposed, often the damage is so severe that many relationships fall apart. Without honesty, you cannot have a real relationship. You cannot be fully known. If you are not really known, you cannot truly experience intimacy. To be known requires openness. if you cannot be open, you are putting on a show. This is called ‘performance’, or even people pleasing. Eventually, resentment will settle in your heart because you are not being up front. What is not expressed is your responsibility. You are responsible to own your own needs, your own flaws, failures and weaknesses. It is ok to have weaknesses. It is important that they be brought into the light of relationship so that grace can cover over your failures and weaknesses, and that the other person can offer their strength, support or skill to help you become better in some of your weaker areas. This is how it is meant to be. Two imperfect people in a partnership, helping each other along to become all that God meant for them to become.

Connectedness is also necessary. If you do not have common ground, common interests, or understand how each other needs to bond and connect, one or both of you will experience great lack. It is important however, for me to uncover a great misconception here: your partner is not meant to meet ALL your needs. There are varying relationships in your life, as it was meant to be, for you to find fulfillment and be well balanced in your life. Women need women friends. Men just don’t understand the finer details that another woman ‘gets’ quite naturally. The same is true for men. Guys bond in ways in which women cannot understand, or compete with. But at the same time, there must be a connection in your primary relationship with each other. It is a good idea to sit down and determine how you need to bond and attach, figure out what ways make you feel the most loved or respected. How do you feel heard and understood? What do you need? Figure out what these things are and sit down and communicate to each other so that you can both work diligently at preferring each other in order to connect and attach in ways the other person will feel most loved and connected with you.

Effective communication. This is a very critical element required to sustain a healthy bond with your partner. This is also where most relationships break down. Effective communication involves active listening, affirmation of what the other is saying, and though this might sound silly, sometimes even simply acknowledging the other person’s point of view before jumping in with your own can de-escalate an evolving crisis! Make sure you clarify what you have heard the other person say, and ensure you understand his or her viewpoint before running on your own assumptions of the other person’s motives. Remember, we don’t EVER know another person’s motives unless we ask questions to clarify. Try and avoid ‘Always’ and ‘Never’ statements, blaming, and only seeing from an all or nothing perspective fixating your attention on every flaw in the other person. Try and remember to be merciful and gracious towards each other, believe the best of each other and have basic goodwill towards each other. There are many more tips I can offer on this most difficult part of relationship, but these are some great tips to get you started!

Separateness & respect are not often addressed when looking at relationship tools, but are definitely not to be dismissed. Oftentimes, initially in the early stages of a relationship, both people feel like they are ‘the same’ as each other, that you both like the same things, hold the same moral or tradition or religious beliefs, but can be sadly mistaken down the road to realize ‘I am not the same as my spouse’. I hold different ideas on how to raise a family, or how many kids you want, or different vacation preferences. These things can extend into very deep areas as well. You may hold different theological perspectives on life, or even just enjoy differing leisure activities. The more we can learn to both respect and appreciate the differences in each other, the closer we come to a place of the desired intimacy you both want. No one wants to be controlled. No one wants to feel manipulated into doing something you are opposed to. We need to respect each other’s individuality, encourage it, come along and support each other in the areas of difference. In this way, we are respecting each other and loving the ‘whole’ person rather than accepting only what adheres to our own perspective, sending a message of rejection to the other person that who they truly are is not good enough.

Dealing with conflict well. Here is where your effective communication skills need to be used meticulously! Do not get sloppy in this area! Remember in your anger that you love the other person enough to treat them respectfully and with dignity and grace. I will address this subject in further detail in a subsequent blog as I believe it deserves fuller attention than the scope of today’s overview.

And above all, love. Speaking of which, the most important element in healthy relationships is love. Sadly, love is a word thrown around so easily, and taken away so quickly when the going gets tough. We misunderstand love immensely in this culture where we love everything from our favorite television program to our Gucci handbag, to our favorite car or pair of shoes. We love our iPhones, our favorite dessert, to most any kind of food really. We use the word so carelessly that it has lost its meaning. And love in these terms has a limit. We take it back when we don’t mean it anymore, when we no longer ‘feel’ loving towards someone. This kind of love is not real love at all. Real love never fails. It never gives up, it never quits, it never stops hoping or believing for good to come about. Real love is unconditional. It does not seek its own agenda first, but prefers others above oneself. It never gives up. This is the kind of love we need to learn to emulate.

Stay tuned for next Friday as I unpack healthy confrontation tips further!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


ImageI’m wrapping up my series on abuse, with some tools to break the cycle! We’ve discussed verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse, as well as the subject of bullying and violence in the workplace over the past month. Today I want to equip you with some tools to know when to stay and when to go, how to hold your ground and maintain your boundaries, and respect yourself in the process.

The decision to continue or end the relationship will likely be a difficult one. You have history together, some good and some bad. You are likely fueled with hope for repair, that maybe ‘this time it will be better’. Envisioning your life free from the abuse is foreign and distant, and let’s face it, often things that are unfamiliar are fearful. What will life be like without him or her? You hold onto hope, because there is a part of you that is so attached to ‘need’ for the relationship. As I mentioned a couple weeks back while discussing sexual abuse, the same holds true for all abusive relationships: “our lack of connection is a big reason why we choose unsafe people. If we are not able to connect in an intimate way with others, then we will often pick people who are unable to connect as well. If someone is isolated inside, she will pick isolating relationships until she addresses her problem. Fear of abandonmennt fuels an ongoing isolating connection.Many times someone who is in a painful relationship should set strong boundaries or cut off the relationship altogether for a time. But he fears being alone so much that he can’t do it. Every time he thinks of standing up to the other person, or getting out of the relationship, he is overwhelmed by feelings of loss and aloneness, and he either avoids the difficult step to begin with, or he quickly caves in. Because he doesn’t have primary safe and supportive relationships, he would rather have the unsafe relationship ghan nothing at all. This… keeps the isolation and abandonment going.” Dr. Henry Cloud PhDImage

The above quote is the precise reason why choosing to end an abusive relationship is so hard.

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”

-William Blake

Before we examine reasons to leave an abusive relationship, let’s take a look at some good reasons to stay.

If your abusive partner has admitted to being abusive and has begun to take some of the following steps to change the abusive pattern, you may want to consider going the distance or at least staying a while longer to see how sincere or permanent this change is. The steps your abusive partner needs to take are as follows:

  • 1. Admit to himself that he is abusive and acknowledge the damage he has done.
  • 2. Understand the reasons why he abuses.
  • 3. Understand her abusive pattern and work on her unfinished business from the past that traps her in the abuse cycle (ie. having been abused as a child – hurting people hurt people)
  • 4. Admit to your partner that you have been abusive.
  • 5. Apologize to your partner and work on developing empathy for her and others.
  • 6. Learn and practice ways to identify her anger, pain and sress in constructive and healthy ways.
  • 7. Identify your triggers and false beliefs.
  • 8. Seek professional help. Be willing to see a counselor for the long haul until the root issues are revealed and being dealt with.

However, this is not the only thing necessary for change to occur. Believe it or not, the abused person needs to take some action as well in order for this process to work. If the abused partner is willing to do the following steps, there may be hope for real change in your relationship.

  • 1. Admit to yourself that you are being abused and acknowledge the damage you have experienced as a result.
  • 2. Understand the reasons why you chose an abusive partner to begin with. (ie. examine the isolation/fear of abandonment mentioned above).
  • 3. Examine and understand the reasons why you have put up with the abuse.
  • 4. Understand your pattern and work on completing YOUR own unfinished business. This can be done with a therapist if you are unsure how to go about doing this.
  • 5. Confront your partner on his or her abusive behavior. Believe it or not, but this is a CRUCIAL step. If you are unable to do this, there is little hope for real and lasting change. You will need to examine the subject of boundaries and how to set and maintain them for your protection.
  • 6. Pay attention to your feelings. Sometimes emotional abuse is subtle, and you may not even be aware that it is taking place, especially when you become accustomed, or ‘used to’ it. Notice physical reactions like knots in your stomach, or tightness in your chest. Pay careful attention to how you are feeling when you are with the abusive person. You DO have the ability to determine when things are ok, despite possible put downs you endure frequently that cause you to second guess yourself.
  • 7. Take your power back by setting up and enforcing your boundaries. I am a certified personal development and relationship life coach and spend a lot of focus on developing solid boundaries. Feel free to contact me for a complimentary coaching session with me if you feel you need help learning about and setting boundaries. You can find me on my website at http://www.freedomlifelove.com to book your free consultation to see whether working with me is the right fit for you. 
  • 8. Continue to speak up each time abuse occurs. If you let it slip just one time, you may be giving up your power, and allowing the abuse cycle to start all over again.
  • 9. Be prepared that if you confront, things MAY get worse before they get better, as being confronted most likely will not sit well with the abusive person at first. But setting limits is the only way to stop the cycle.
  • 10. Be on the alert for the moment it is not working, and you need to make preparations to leave to ensure your safety.

Other Reasons why you stay:Image

  • My partner told me it was my fault and i believed her.
  • I’m afraid I am unlovable, or unattractive, stupid, etc. because he says I am.
  • I am afraid I will never be loved by anyone else.
  • I’m afraid of what he will do if I leave.
  • I am afraid for my safety.
  • I’m afraid I can’t make it on my own financially.
  • You may also struggle with a strong desire to avoid confrontation or
  • a tendancy to try and believe that things are better than they are.
  • You feel responsible for their behavior.
  • You blame yourself for the problems in the relationship because you believe what she says that you ARE the problem in the relationship
  • You listen to the lies spoken and believe them as fact.
  • You make excuses for their behavior.
  • And once again… that dreadful fear of being alone.

Be prepared that if you confront, and say something like “I don’t want you to talk to me that way.” Or set a limit such as “If you hit me I will leave until you can calm down.” or simply let them know that their statement is abusive. In response, you will likely get an argument (or further berating or familiar abusive tendancies.) Are you prepared to stand your ground if this happens? Don’t engage in the argument. Simply stand firm by repeating the same thing you stated before. Be prepared to follow through on whatever limits and consequences you set on their behavior. They may give you the silent treatment. Don’t let him get away with that either. Remind him that this is also abusive and disrespectful and that you do not appreciate it.

If you can do all the above steps (there are tons more… too much for one blog) you may have grounds to stay in the relationship.

Another good reason to stay (at least for a time, to see how things fare) is if you and/or your partner have admitted to being abusive and have begun working with a counselor or marital counseling. Do not stay on the basis of the promise alone that she will go with you to therapy. If she makes good on her promise, then you might have a chance. If she makes a promise to seek professional help and does not follow through, her commitment is not sincere, and you are likely in store for more of the same.

If you make it clear you are unwilling to tolerate abuse of any kind, and your partner is willing to work on changing their behavior and makes positive steps toward change, then you may have a chance of making it work.

If your partner has begun already any of the processes or stages mentioned above and has become less abusive, or not as often, this may be an indication of their willingness to work on and change behavior. Change takes time. Abusive speech and actions are a learned behavior and will have to be unlearned. They may have slips from time to time, but if it is decreasing, and they have become more loving and treat you as an equal partner in the relationship and are actively working toward bettering themselves, deciding to wait and see may not be such a bad idea. Each situation is different, and if you feel in danger in any way, remove yourself from the situation as quickly as you can before it has the opportunity to escalate further.

Some questions to ask yourself to determine the amount of good will in your relationship, as well as to help you determine if getting out or staying is the best choice for you at the time are:Image

1. Do you and your partner have an equal footing in the relationship?

2. Do you have an intimate connection?

3. Do you feel like your partner’s intentions are good when it comes to how he/she treats you?

4. Do you have much in common?

5. Do you experience more joy than pain in the relationship?

6. Do you believe your partner genuinely wishes you well, and may just have some bad communication habits, rather than an intention to deliberately undermine, control, manipulate or destroy you?

Even if you want to say yes to staying based on what I have said above, here are some things to consider when it comes to whether you have endured too much pain in the relationship to stay.

ImageGood reasons to Leave

If your partner refuses to acknowledge and take responsibility for his abusive actions, or admit to being abusive, he is beyond reasoning with, and needs the limit of your leaving to protect yourself from further injury.

If your partner does not seek out help for her abusive behavior… on their own. If you have to do it all for them, you are taking responsibility for something that is not yours to own. They must see the reason for help and seek it out on their own, thereby taking responsibility for their own actions.

If you have made yourself clear that you will not tolerate any further abuse, but she still continues to abuse, you should leave.

If you or your partner are unwilling to follow these suggestions and/or the ones given to you by your therapist, there is little hope for things to be any different. As the saying goes: “The definintion of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result!” And another one I particularly like is this: “Until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of change, then you will change.” If you continue to stay involved in the same cycle over and over, nothing will change until you are tired of the cycle and finally the pain is too much to remain trapped in the abusive cycle.

WHEN YOU DEFINITELY NEED TO LEAVE!!!Image

  • If you or your children are being emotionally, physically or sexually abused by your partner. If your partner is overly dominating, controlling, critical or rejecting of you, this pattern may be passed on to other members of the family, such as your children.
  • If your children are being damaged by the emotional abuse between you and your partner.
  • If your partner is physically abusing you or threatening to do so.
  • If you have reached a point where you now have become physically abusive as well.
  • If you are fantasizing about ways to kill or harm your spouse.
  • If you are seriously questioning your sanity.
  • If it becomes clear to you that your partner has no respect for you at all.

Seek outside help immediately. Go to your supportive friends or family members, or an agency in your area that can help you get the help you need.

Learn how to prevent abuse in the future.Image

Ways to spot an abuser:

  • someone with poor impulse control
  • low self esteem
  • selfishness and narcissistic
  • being needy and demanding of your time, attention, etc.
  • Alcohol or drug abuse or addiction
  • A history of abuse (either as an abuser, via his/her reputation among peers, or experienced it as a child growing up. Most kids who were abused grow up either as abusers or the abused.)
  • Any history of mental illness
  • If they exhibit anti social behavior, have a personality disorder.
  • Becomes agressive, demanding or abusive.
  • A need to feel powerful and in control.

Make a list oImagef what you will not tolerate in future relationships. For instance, “I won’t have a relationship that is not equal”, or “I won’t stay in a relationship if it becomes clear that it is all about him/her”, or “I won’t be in a relationship with someone who criticizes me,” or plainly and simply, “I won’t have a relationship with someone who hits me and does not have control of their anger.”

Make your list and set your limits. These will prove to be the boundaries you need to stand on and enforce when and if the time comes for you to have to confront the issue.

If you still wrestle with how to find safe and supportive relationships, circle back to a blog I did in my boundaries series a while back on identifying safe people if you have not already read it, or need a crash course reminder on the subject!

I hope that this information has been informative and beneficial to you, or as a tool to offer someone you know who is currently in an abusive relationship. Please tell them to read this blog and encourage them to seek outside help!

If you’d like to look at another great resource, check out my one-on-one Boundary Development Program which will help bring control back into your life!

————-

If you have any questions on today’s blog or would like help on taking steps forward, I’d love to hear from you!  Post a comment below or visit my website and register for your Complimentary Strategy Session to discuss your situation in more detail.

Katie Meilleur – Certified Life Coach

 

%d bloggers like this: