Feeling like your relationship with your partner is not as fulfilling and happy as you had hoped?
If so read my article with Gabriella Taylor. She is a Professional Life Coach, Relationship Expert and Minister whose own journey includes having triumphed eating disorders, drugs and the effects of depression to many years of living internationally, having successfully created two businesses and is joyfully partnered with the love of her life, Nicholas.
Q: How would you describe a truly healthy and loving relationship between a man and a woman?
A: I would say the ultimate foundation that establishes a truly healthy and loving relationship is that they're walking in the same direction together. This is the overall context of similar life values, and a shared vision of where they're going in life.
The lens becomes very myopic if we're just looking at the other person and expecting them to fulfill all of our dreams and expectations versus if we're standing side by side looking ahead and walking the same path.
To me, that just sets the foundational strength that then allows for the ease that comes through shared lifestyle compatibilities, shared joys, and shared harmony. Relationship happiness becomes so much easier if we're on the same path.
If we are walking in the same direction that may mean that we both want children / don't want children, or greater service and purpose in the world, maybe it's a shared path of spiritual awakening and personal development. Whatever that path is, I've found that if it is an alignment of core values then that increases the likelihood of happiness.
Q: What would you say are the necessary steps to having a relationship like this?
A: Some of the necessary steps are really being willing to get into reality. So many women live in a fairy tale fantasy of how they want him to be, how they hope he might be, living in the potential of what he could be or how their relationship could be. Lean back and assess, what is this person showing me about themselves? Are we in alignment? Observe his actions, his behaviors, what is he revealing about himself? Do I feel like myself around him? Does he bring out my best? This allows you to see objectively if it is a good fit without the seduction of the almost/maybe fantasy.
Another step is learning how to seek the other person's essential goodness when conflict arises.
It's so easy to go into fight or flight mode when difficulties emerge. The way we respond to fighting or disagreeing really makes or breaks relationship happiness. It’s not about being a doormat and tolerating bad behavior if there is something that we're really uncomfortable with. It is about learning how to build a bridge. Build a bridge that I trust that this person has my best interest in mind even if they're being cranky. The step of learning to hold the highest and best picture for the other person really helps diffuse so much conflict and hurt feelings.
Q: What are your top three tips to having a healthy and loving relationship with a man whether it's for a woman who is dating or already in a relationship?
A: Number one is, do your work to clean up your past if it is affecting your future. A lot of people have different perspectives as to how historical experiences in life affect them now and they have different opinions as to what degree it matters to look into the past. Explore where there might be healing work to do based on if you keep experiencing repetitive frustrations. Get a therapist, get a coach, just get some help to just really look at what's motivating, what's behind the surface, of what keeps you unhappy.
My second tip would be to be rigorously self-honest about your own value system and how to stay in integrity with your value system. Another way of looking at Values is what brings out your best? When do you feel most like you? Every single one of us wants to become the highest version of ourselves. If you do not know what this is for you, make it your focus to find out. If you’re not in integrity with your own self, taking responsibility for your own happiness then you’re going to blame the other person for your unhappiness. If you are in integrity and living in alignment with your value system, then you’re going to be happier. If you’re unhappy, if you’re out of alignment with yourself then you are not going to be a happy partner in the relationship and you’re going to rely on the relationship far too much.
The last thing would be to really learn how to communicate effectively. It is a learned skill. Few people were taught how to communicate effectively especially when strong feelings arise.
Communicating effectively makes such a difference because we're all sensitive. We all have things that are important that we want to share about ourselves with others but sometimes it is difficult to get it out.
Communicating effectively helps us diffuse a lot of the charge that creates arguments and defensiveness. We need to be clear in our messaging, have a loving or neutral tone and communicate our needs, desires and wants consistently. It allows us to really feel seen and heard and also give someone else the experience of being seen and heard. We all want to be seen and heard.