Monthly Archives: September 2016
When Christian and I first began our long-distance relationship (with me in California and him in Denmark), I found myself toggling between pulling on him for more connection, and appreciating what we had.
Without exception, every time I approached him from a needy, longing place for more connection, he pulled back in resistance. Every time I relaxed into appreciating what we had and trusting that everything between us would turn out in the end, he came forward.
• She wants to be with him. He wants space.
• He wants sex. She wants to talk.
• She wants commitment. He wants freedom.
• He wants to have fun. She wants to work on the relationship.
• She criticizes. He withdraws.
Unfortunately, this pull-repel dynamic is self-reinforcing.
When one person wants more and “energetically” pulls on their partner to come closer, the one being pulled on backs off and resists in reaction. This has the “Puller” only pull harder. The pattern repeats itself, sometimes for years.
What keeps this dynamic going is the assumption that our partner is doing something TO us on purpose, for some negative reason. We take their pull or withdrawal personally.
But it isn’t personal at all!! Both parties WANT LOVE!! That’s the bottom line! A desire for love is what is underneath all of this craziness! Both parties are screaming for love, crying out for love in their own way, but neither can hear this call for love because each is too busy screaming for love themselves!
Discovering this was a life-changer for me!
When Christian withdrew, instead of taking it personally and assuming it meant he didn’t love me or didn’t want to be with me, I saw his withdrawal instead as a call to be appreciated for who he was and for being enough for me. So instead of pulling for more, I stepped in with love and fully appreciated him. I was surprised to discover how quickly he softened and came forward.
Same vice-versa. When I complained about our lack of connection, instead of taking it personally and assuming it meant he wasn’t enough and wasn’t doing it right, he thanked me for loving him and wanting to be closer to him. In the face of his appreciation, my pull disappeared.
When you find yourself in your own version of this pull-repel dynamic, try stepping in. Listen to the desire for love underneath your partner’s words and actions and respond to their underlying positive intent.
Say things like, “Thanks for wanting to be closer to me. Thanks for wanting to marry me. Thanks for wanting to have sex with me. Thanks for loving me. Thanks for wanting to be appreciated. Thanks for wanting to be free to be yourself with me. Thanks for wanting to talk and make our relationship better.”
The second either party steps forward, the pulling and resisting stops. From there, genuine connection can occur. Love is felt. Freedom is available.
Remember, your pull-repel dynamic is but an ineffective cry for love. When you step in with love and gratitude, you replace the pull-repel dynamic in your relationship with a mutual giving of love and appreciation that will create an upward spiral of nourishment, love and support in your relationship.
PS. Here’s an old YouTube video we did on the push-pull dynamic (please bear with the video quality! 🙂
Divorce statistics hover between 50% and 73% (from first to third marriages).
But, did you know that women are more likely than men to initiate divorce?
Michael Rosenfeld, an associate professor of sociology at Stanford University, examined data from Stanford’s 2009-2015 “How Couples Meet and Stay Together” project, a nationally representative longitudinal study of relationships and breakups. * While breakups between unmarried couples were gender neutral — men were just as likely as women to initiate them — when it came to divorce, Rosenfeld found that wives initiated 69 percent of splits, compared to 31 percent of men. **
This matches my professional experience in the relationship field as well.
I was invited once to a women’s group as a guest. There were six of us. We had gathered to support each other. After hugs and snacks, we arranged ourselves in a circle.
As we checked in, it turned out that every woman except me was in the process of divorce. They were leaving their men. They were fed up.
They had heard for too long that they were too emotional and needy.
Their desire for affection and attention and intimacy had been missing for too long.
They had been lied to, ignored, taken for granted, yelled at and not talked to or touched, in some cases, for years.
Their requests to work together on the relationship had been declined. Their men said working on relationship was too hard and took too much time.
They talked about how their men didn’t take responsibility, were defensive, blaming and critical. They said their men were resistant to looking at themselves, to growing and learning anything new. They said their men were cut off from their emotions and unavailable for deep connection. They agreed that their men did not take their concerns seriously and were not interested in creating solutions.
Each woman in turn said they felt powerless to affect change. They were unhappy in their relationships, and married to men who weren’t willing to work to improve their marriage.
So, what to do?
These women did what many self-respecting, dissatisfied, frustrated women do. They left their men in search of connection and intimacy elsewhere.
Huffington Post printed an article on August 3, 2016, by Brittany Wong, a divorce editor, detailing six reasons why women leave their marriages.
1. Women feel taken for granted and overly responsible for the relationship.
2. They keep having the same argument with their partner.
3. They’re not satisfied with their sex lives.
4. They don’t talk and emotionally connect with their husband like they used to.
5. They’ve outgrown their partners.
6. They get to the point where divorce is the only way to put themselves first again.
Women don’t start with divorce. They start with complaints about a lack of communication, intimacy or fulfilling sex. They make requests to go to therapy or take a relationship workshop or communication course to get support. They ask for more quality time with their mates.
But many men miss the clues that their wife is unhappy and on the verge of calling it quits. A friend of ours, Machen, shared his experience, “I didn’t realize my marriage was in trouble until my wife said, ‘You are moving out – today!!’ In retrospect, I could see that she had tried to tell me many times that she was unhappy, but I hadn’t been listening.”
Luckily for Machen, he and his wife worked on their marriage after they separated, attended our LoveWorks trainings, and reunited.
Most men are not that fortunate. They reach out for relationship support when it is too late, when their wife is already out the door and unwilling to work on their marriage.
Our message to you?
Don’t wait to get help!
Rekindle the love and passion in your relationship now before it is too late!
Here are some warning signs that your relationship or marriage is in trouble:
1. You feel annoyed by your wife’s requests or demands for relationship help
2. You don’t have much intimacy in your relationship
3. Your sex is non-existent, predictable or boring
4. You fight about the same things over and over again
5. Your wife doesn’t talk to you about herself and her life
6. You don’t make time, or look forward to spending time, together
Now we know that men are not intentionally inconsiderate and selfish. And it is not that they don’t care about their marriages and relationships! They just never learned about women, about how to treat a woman and how to make a woman happy.
In fact, most men, if you talk to them and really listen, are working REALLY HARD to make women happy, and feel like they just can’t win no matter what they do! Sadly, they end up working their butts off at all the wrong things, doing what their partner actually needs.
This quote sums it up:
To prove his love for her, he climbed the highest mountain, swam the deepest ocean and crossed the widest desert. But she left him – he was never home.
Here is the kicker …
It is EASY to satisfy a woman. If a man treats a woman right, he gets all the freedom, sex, appreciation and love he wants. And when she is happy, when she is filled up emotionally, she ain’t going anywhere!!
Most men just don’t take the time to learn…
If you aren’t having sex, if you are fighting all the time, if you are living in silence, or you are living like roommates dealing with logistics …
You have a BIG problem.
Men, don’t wait until your woman is fed up and walking out the door. Take the time to learn how to make your relationship hum like a well-oiled machine. You will be amazed at how easy it is…
And women, don’t assume he knows how unhappy you are. He might be like Machen and simply not know.
We can help. We can share with you our life-changing tips, and tell you what to do that has saved and improved lots of marriages and relationships.
Call for a free consult or visit us at one of our free introductory presentations. Or jump into our two-day relationship training, Give Yourself to Love, that has saved many a marriage!
In the meantime, a few tips for you men:
• Express appreciation for what she does
• Ask her what you can do for her to please her
• Make eye contact and really listen to her when she talks
• Tell her she’s beautiful
• Ask her if she is happy in the marriage or if she ever wonders if the two of you would benefit from relationship support?
• Better still, YOU initiate something for your relationship. Buy a book, sign you up for a course. Show her, don’t just tell her, that you care about your relationship.
And a few tips for you women:
• Tell him how wonderful you feel when he gives you attention
• Express appreciation for what he does that really works for you
• Notice where he works hard to provide for you, the home, and family and thank him for that
• Ask him what he would need from you to be willing to work on the relationship together? To attend a relationship training or coaching session?
• Be affectionate, touch, have sex. In short, love him.
There’s a lot you can do to mend your love and make your marriage sing!