So you and your partner aren’t getting on well together. You’ve been feeling stuck for a long time and you wonder how the state of the relationship can be improved. The tiny issues become big dramas and the smallest tokens of affection seem to get misunderstood or completely overlooked.
You both know this is bonkers; it wasn’t how you used to be, you still love each other, you still want to make a life together, but not this life that you’re living at the moment.
When people get that bogged down with the anger, frustration and disappointment that swirls around the relationship, many begin to get defensive about the role they play in the relationship’s demise. Often, this means that instead of looking at solutions like a team, they become rivals and enter the blame game. The focus switches from themselves to the other person and so instead of looking at solutions, they look at the problems.
You are in control of you but you are not in direct control of your spouse/partner so it doesn’t make sense to wish they were behaving differently instead of making yourself behave differently. Take charge over the things you do have control, and invariably, the rest of the relationship solutions will present themselves.
In the sales profession, a good salesperson will draw out all objections (excuses) that the potential buyer (prospect) may have for not buying what he is offering. That way, once all the objections have been overcome, i.e. the door has been closed on all the excuses, the conversation will inevitably lead to a sale.
We can apply that same approach to relationships if you feel that your partner is unfairly levelling blame at you for your relationship problems. It doesn’t matter if you tell them they’re at fault, it won’t change anything if they are focused on you and not on themselves. What you want to do is remove any opportunity for them to focus blame on you, leaving only one person for them to focus on – themselves.
If you think of yourself as the salesperson, your partner as the buyer, and a happy, successful relationship as the purchase on offer, how can you ensure you close the door on the excuses that the buyer (your partner) is using to not move towards the purchase, i.e. a happy, successful relationship?
- You make positive changes in everything you have direct control over.
- This removes any blame (excuses) that can be levelled at you which ordinarily distract your partner from positively working towards the relationship goal.
- Once the excuses have been removed by fixing all the things you are being blamed for, if the “purchase” of a happy, successful relationship is still not made, the buyer is then unable to hide behind the blame levelled at you (excuses) and is thus forced to look at the role they are playing in preventing you from having a happy, successful relationship.
- As a team, you can then address what they need to do in order to achieve your relationship goal, and how you can help them.
- If your partner is worthy of your love, they will then set about changing the role they play so that you can both achieve your relationship goal.
- If your partner still won’t change the role they play in the relationship problems, you know their actions have spoken clearly, where perhaps their words and promises have been ambiguous.
- If the relationship ends, you can’t be used as a scapegoat for the relationship’s failure and you can walk away knowing you did everything you could.
Assuming that you both want the relationship to work, if you both take this approach, of course, what you are really doing is focusing on the role you each play in the relationship and fixing what you do that isn’t working. If you both do this, guess what, the relationship will work!
Get your salesperson hat on, set about fixing the things in your control, take action to eliminate blame being levelled at you, and your path to happiness will become much clearer and easier.