Love Coaching: Neither One of You is Perfect

Love coaching for a better relationship! It’s an easy thing in relationships to get carried away by the imperfections of your lover. It doesn’t take a lot of skill to point out to your partner what she does wrong and to imagine that the true fault in your love life has much more to do with her than yourself. Love and relationship coaching is about looking at yourself, asking yourself what things you can do to improve your partnership or marriage, and better appreciating how your partner loves you.

One of the things we focus on in love coaching is communication. A key for improved communication is empathy, better understanding your partner’s point of view. People naturally want to express what they do, what they want, what they think. This is well and good, but when it comes to closeness, it’s far more important to put energy into what your partner feels, needs, and wants. This is not to say that your needs are unimportant, rather that the most powerful way for you to get your needs met is to make sure you understand where your partner is coming from. As you better understand her, you make it far more likely that she will want to reciprocate to help meet your needs.

A client recently and expressed frustration that his wife felt unheard and unimportant to him, she told him she felt very little hope that he would ever change. When I asked what his response was to her complaints about him, he said he tried to explain that she was very important to him and that he did listen to her. He went on to say how she then became angry with him. I explained to him that his response was very natural, that he was in the best way he knew trying to reassure her. Then I suggested to him that it was the worst thing he could do and that he made a difficult situation worse. In amazement he asked how that could be so. I told him that basically he had called his wife a liar. In shock he asked “what?” I told him that what he needed to do was appreciate her better by recognizing what she said and acknowledging the truth of her feelings. His response to me was, “but she was wrong!” That idea is what was getting my client in hot water. He sees himself as attentive and as a good listener, but he’s ignoring that she “feels” unimportant and unheard. The fact of whether she’s important to him is not the issue. The moment he defends himself he is in fact telling her that her feelings are wrong. The result is likely to be a fight, tears, blame, withdrawal, and frustration. I gave my client a love coaching homework assignment: “Go home, tell your wife you haven’t been really listening, that you haven’t acknowledged her feelings, that you’re truly sorry, and that as of today you’re going to practice being more attentive.”

Fortunately this client really loves his wife, but he didn’t realize that he was focusing on her imperfections rather than the things she does right. He realized that he was behaving as if his words and actions were truly perfect and all that needed to happen was she needed to listen to him. In the coming weeks, with a bit more tweaking and love coaching, he’s highly likely to become a much better listener. Marriage and family counseling can really help couples. For a marriage counselor, give us a call at 512-653-4316.

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