But there is one aspect of life in which I think I am an expert, where I think I can give some very useful advice: how to improve your relationship with your significant other (spouse or steady partner). Shelly and I have created an incredible relationship and I think some of the things we do can significantly improve your relationship, although you might have to eliminate some beliefs in order to implement some of the suggestions.
The door closes
After Shelly and I had decided to get married but before the wedding, she complained about the fact that I was already leading a couple of evening seminars a week and was thinking about taking on an additional one. She said that it didn’t make sense for her to live with me if I was never going to be home to be with her. It wasn’t a threat, but the clear implication was that it made no sense to her for us to live together if I was going to be away “so often.”
I said, “I only have one demand if we are going to get married.” Now, Shelly is not someone who does well with demands, so she responded with surprise: “Excuse me!” I said, “I promise I will never cheat on you, I will never do anything I know will hurt you, and I am willing to work on myself to fix anything that is a problem in our relationship, but if we are going to be together, as of this moment you have to give up the right to leave, your commitment has to be absolute. If you are going to marry me I want your word that this is forever.”
I explained, “If we agree there we will never ‘entertain leaving,’ then we will have to find a way to make our relationship work. As long as leaving is a possibility, then there will never be a total commitment to making it work.”
Shelly was stunned. She told me later that she was terrified to make such a commitment. She had experienced the “freedom of a single life” for over 30 years. But she said that at that moment when she chose to give me the commitment it was as if a safe vault door was shut and she was on the inside. She later told me that the freedom she had experienced when she made the commitment was amazing.
In the early years of our marriage when we did argue a lot and had a lot of disagreements, this commitment that we had both made always kept us focused on finding a solution instead of thinking that we could leave if it didn’t work out.
Love for no reason
I’ve written about this next “tip” before, so let me review it briefly and give you a link to read about it in more detail. https://www.mortylefkoe.com/love-unconditionally/#
When Shelly and I were living together, shortly before we got married, she asked me why I loved her. I answered her, “Just because I say so.”
She didn’t like this answer. She wanted to know which qualities about her made me love her. I kept insisting that I only loved her because I said so, not for any particular reason.
At some point I explained what I meant. “If I love you for specific reasons, then my love is conditioned on you being a certain way. If you stopped being that way or if you weren’t that way at a given time, I wouldn’t love you. But if I love you just because I say so, then my love is unconditional and I can and will love you no matter what you do or don’t do.” I’ve repeated this to Shelly many times during the past 30 years and I think it’s finally okay with her.
As a result of this unconditional love, whenever I haven’t feel love toward Shelly at any given moment, I realized that I was not creating it and that it was up to me to figure out why and to start creating it again. I wasn’t blaming her for anything and I wasn’t waiting for her to change in some way. That gave me complete control over the way I felt about her, in other words, there was not only nothing she had to do to make me love her, there was nothing she could do that would lead to me not loving her.
I love a lot of things that Shelly does—such as the way she supports me, the way she loves me, and the way we read each other’s minds—but I don’t love her because of those things. So I am able to love her just as much when she doesn’t do those things as when she does.
This tip alone has me able to love Shelly 24/7, 365 days a year, regardless of what she does or doesn’t do. It makes for an incredible relationship.
Create love newly every day
Closely related to the prior suggestion is the importance of creating love for each other every day. I don’t try to remember how much I loved Shelly yesterday, I just wake up and create loving her, newly, every day. The first thing I say to her every morning is: I love you. Which is usually the last thing I say to her before we go to sleep at night.
I probably tell her how much I love her at least five times a day and frequently send her Google chats or emails that say: “Just in case you forgot: I love you massively.”
I find that the very act of saying “I love you” makes it easier to create that feeling in me.
(While I was editing this post Shelly suddenly appeared in my office, walked over to me, kissed me, and then walked out. Does life get any better than that?)
Stop giving meaning to things your partner says and does
As a result of implementing the relationship suggestions I’ve made above, Shelly and I have always had a very good relationship, even when we argued a lot in the early days. But even after eliminating all the beliefs we could find about ourselves and relationships, and after living the suggestions I’ve made in this post, there were still daily things that Shelly did that resulted in me feeling frustrated or annoyed with her.
For example, when I married Shelly over 30 years ago I was a mess. I had just been divorced for a second time and was getting depressed frequently. When we argued my way of coping with my upsets was to withdraw … and not just for a few hours. I’d withdraw for a couple of days! Shelly, on the other hand, would “get off it” (in other words, let go of the upset) in an hour or so and then wonder why I was reacting to something that had ended hours or even days before.
As I used The Lefkoe Method (TLM) to eliminate beliefs and conditionings, the time it took me to let go of my upset decreased, until, like Shelly, I could get off it in an hour or so after the argument was over.
At some point we created a friendly competition to see who could get off it first, in other words, who would be the first one to let go of the upset totally and be back in relationship with the other person. I ultimately acquired the ability to do that during an argument (as opposed to after it was over). I was able to stop right in the middle of it and just smile and say: “I’m sorry that whatever I am doing is upsetting you. Is there anything I can do to resolve this? I love you.”
Here’s what’s important about what I was doing. I didn’t say these words to placate Shelly or use extreme will power while still being upset. I was able to stop the upset and then say words that were true for me.
How did I learn to do that? I started asking myself what meaning I was giving Shelly’s behavior and comments. I realized that my upset was due to the meaning I was giving her behavior, not due to what she actually said or did. And then I followed two steps to get rid of that meaning.
First I realized that Shelly’s behavior had no inherent meaning, in fact, I realized that all events in the world have no meaning. Then I asked myself if I could literally “see” the meaning I had given her actions and statements. Obviously I never could “see” the meaning I had given, I could only “see” the events.
So it became clear to me that the meaning existed only in my mind. What she was doing and saying had no inherent meaning. The only meaning was the one I had given it.
As you know if you’ve eliminated at least one belief using the Lefkoe Belief Process, events that have no meaning can’t make us feel anything. So the upset that I thought Shelly had “caused” was, in fact, caused by the meaning I had given what Shelly did and said. When that became real, the upset literally disappeared.
For example, if your partner doesn’t do something you asked her to do and then you give the event the meaning that you can’t get what you want, you will get angry. If you give the event the meaning that your partner doesn’t care about what you want, you will be hurt or upset. If you say that your partner’s behavior has no inherent meaning, you will feel nothing. You’ll probably just calmly do what you needed yourself or ask your partner again if she will do it.
And that is something you can learn to do consistently, with practice.
Try implementing these four suggestions and then use the comment section below to let us know how they affect your relationship. Great relationships really are possible.
If you found this post useful, please tell your friends and followers by using the buttons at the top of this post.
If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com/free where you can eliminate one negative belief free.
For information about eliminating 23 of the most common limiting beliefs and conditionings, which cause eight of the most common problems in our lives, and get a separate video of the WAIR? Process, please check out: http://recreateyourlife.com/naturalconfidence.
These weekly blog posts also exist as podcasts. Sign up for the RSS feed or at iTunes to get the podcasts sent to you weekly.
copyright ©2011 Morty Lefkoe