I had to learn this the hard way so I want to give you a head start…
I had the best of intentions with regards to my marriage but yet when issues arose I struggled to find a solution to the problems.
We focus so much, as men, on the result that we want.
More affection, less arguing, more connection, less distance…
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It’s easy to find faults when a relationship is running off the rails and all our training points us to fixing what’s not working. Plug the hole and she’ll right herself…right?
In this video I discuss how our approach is often all wrong and give an alternative way to communicate that removes the focus from the negative and leads toward what you want rather than what you don’t want.
What I’m talking about I call “make it happens vs let it happen.”
This is a minset shift that can be difficult, especially when you’re in a relationship which is struggling, where there’s tension and frustration.
Part of the reason this is a tricky shift for us men is that we always want to fix things. We’re taught from a young age how to find and solve problems, how to identify causes and implement solutions.
And we’re REALLY good at it!
We have laser focus and we’re very good at using that to concentrate the attention, effort and time needed to work out a solution.
In every area of life, that works brilliantly…except for in relationships.
In relationships, the more you focus your time, attention and energy on what’s not working, the bigger and more broken it can feel to her. It can feel like the problem IS the relationship. That the struggle is all that’s going on in the relationship.
The result of all that focusing on what’s wrong in the relationship is that there’s an increase in tension and pressure felt by both people.
In fact, when we’re the one that keeps bringing up the need to work on it or address the issues, she can often feel like it’s her that’s the problem, that it’s all her fault and that all the blame lies at her feet.
It’s not. Relationships don’t get to this point of tension without there being disconnection on both sides for a prolonged period of time.
But the natural thing that happens when there’s pressure and tension in a marriage, is for someone to back away, or to put up walls and protect our emotions. That’s where the emotionally distant wife (or husband) starts to show up. That’s when the affection and connection start to dry up.
When we approach the relationship with this mindset of finding problems and implementing solutions, we become really good at identifying what’s wrong. We’re not so good at identifying and explaining what we’d like to happen, what we want, and how we could move forward.
The good news is that when you’re able to find out what you don’t want, you can also identify what you do want.
So when you know what the problems are, you can flip that around and clearly see what you want to happen instead.
A good example of this is when a guy contacts us and says, “She’s always criticizing me, nothing I ever do is right. She’ll never be happy. I just don’t know what to do.”
What he really wants is to feel RESPECT and CONSIDERATION from his partner.
Or maybe he says “We always argue about what hasn’t been done. I don’t know why we blame each other all the time.”
What he really wants is to feel APPRECIATED, and UNDERSTOOD by his partner.
The more you spend some time thinking about what’s lacking or what’s missing from the marriage, the more wants you should be able to identify…maybe some of yours might sound like:
I want to be adored
I want her affection
I want to receive her kindness
I want to know her generosity
I want to feel her love
I want closeness and togetherness
I want us to show a unified front
So now you have a list of things you want to experience, how do you go about communicating those in a way that can move the relationship forward rather than causing more problems?
When you communicate what you don’t want, often that’s received by the other person as criticism or judgment which makes them shut down or withdraw and go into self-protection mode.
When you communicate what you do want, you’re starting to lead the relationship in a new direction, you’re moving forward, and you’re opening yourself up to CREATING something new in your life.
To help with this, it’s useful to have thought about what each thing that you want to experience provides for you.
Many of us men struggle to say what we want. We have hidden shame and guilt triggers around a lot of the things we desire.
Being able to state clearly what you want, not question or tentatively ask for her feedback, but calmly state what you want from the relationship, is a very attractive thing for a woman to experience from a man.
There’s an important understanding here which is that humans are constantly changing. What we’re feeling inside our bodies is constantly changing. What we’re thinking about is constantly in flux.
Bringing that awareness into the situation when you’re talking to someone, especially if it’s a difficult or tense conversation, enables you to empathize with them, to bring understanding and compassion for their perspective.
Underneath a lot of the problems that we have in relationships is the need to be heard. That’s it. We just want the other person to hear us. To understand us. To see from our perspective, to empathize with us.
And the reason is that we FEEL CONNECTED to them when we know that they want to understand us.
We often have a pre-conceived expectation that our partner will meet our needs exactly as we think they should but when you’re in a conversation and you expect a certain response from the other person, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
If you can let go of your attachment to the need to be responded to exactly as you expect, then you’ll find that you’re far more likely to be able to have a proactive discussion and make progress to finding a solution that works for both of you or a compromise that you’re both happy with. At the very least, you’ll be more connected which gives you a much better chance of moving things forward.
Are you reluctant to ask for what you want? Are you afraid of being viewed as demanding or needy or controlling?
Maybe you’re just used to being bottom of the pile, your needs never taken into account? Or you lack confidence and don’t believe that you deserve to get what you want…
In my case I grew up learning subtle ways to manipulate people to get what I wanted.
Contrary to popular belief, stating what you want makes life much more straightforward for her, too. It is not just self-serving, it serves everyone involved.
She knows what your needs are and why.
If she communicates her needs honestly too you can understand how your behavior has been affecting how connected she feels to you.
When everyone is tentative and not saying what they want, the outcome is always unsatisfactory for everyone.
Being direct does have some negative consequences. Those who tend to manipulate or be controlling struggle because you take away their power when you state your wants and needs.
However part of our coaching is to accept that you can only control how you show up, not how others react to you. By being honest and stating your desires, you take the lead and you start to move the relationship and your life in the direction you want to go.
With the lack of telepathic humans. In order to create the relationship you want you must say what you need; I cannot emphasize this enough.
When we don’t communicate what we want, we end up becoming resentful and in most cases your partner wants you to be happy, so why not try?
Ask for what you want and you may be surprised at how often you get it.
If you want to move from focusing on the negative all the time to a more positive relationship, we would love to help you get clear on what you want as well as the next decision or action you need to take to start CREATING the life that you want.
What if this next year everything changed for you?
That’s what we want for you brother.
Books, articles and videos are great but to really make quick progress and get to a point where you’re consistently calm, confident and enthusiastic about life again you need other men who understand what you’re going through and who will challenge you to make the changes that you need to make. This is the truth that I want you to LEARN – this is the thing I had to learn first before I could grow in this way – you need other men to do this work!! Why do you think indigenous tribes have male only initiation ceremonies?? It’s incredibly powerful and life changing!
Come and join us, either through 1-on-1 coaching with my colleague Dan Dore or me, or in our group coaching program with other amazing men who are travelling the same path as you right now in our Men’s Live Coaching Roundtable where we will help you re-find the confident, attractive man you know yourself to be.
Come and try our coaching through our Roundtable live coaching program here. There’s an amazing tribe of guys in this group with us, supporting and helping each other through this process of growth and self-realization.
We love teaching men these tools – how to be better, how to know who you are, what you stand for, what you want and how to CREATE it in your life through our Masculine Confidence coaching programs.
Dan and I are here to guide you on this mission.
If you want to become a man who knows and trusts himself to create the life and love he wants, apply for a free consultation call with me or Dan. I guarantee you’ll feel a whole lot better by the end of our talk.
My new book Straight Talk Tools for the Desperate Husband will help you to lead yourself and your relationship back to good health. Understand why your partner acts the way she does toward you and learn how to lead your life in the direction you want it to go. You CAN have the relationship you want, fulfilling all your desires while maintaining love and respect.
I wrote a free e-book to help men learn how to lose their fear and be more bold in their marriage to create the love and connection they want. Get The Hard to Swallow Truth About Saving Your Marriage HERE
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