We all have different stories in our heads about how secure or satisfying our relationships are. It’s common for one person to be satisfied while the other isn’t. That’s why it’s important to know how to get positive results in your relationship.
Some of us take pride in managing our money and then later found out a check bounced. Or we’ve balanced the checkbook and then discovered we spent more on the eating out category than budgeted.
Using another example, have you believed you were eating well, then were surprised the scales registered 10 pounds more than expected? Have you written down everything you ate? Then saw you were taking in many more calories than you were actually burning?
Uncertainty in Your Relationship
Many couples enter counseling with a lot of uncertainty. One is usually dragged in by the other.
One person says, “We need help.”
The other says, “We’re doing fine. . . We can work this out on our own. . . We’re not as bad off as you think.”
It makes sense that couples who detect problems in their relationship, on average, wait an additional six years before they get help.
Tiger/Turtle Syndrome in Your Relationship
It’s very common for one spouse to minimize and the other maximize. I call it the “Turtle/Tiger” syndrome.
Turtles typically hide in their shells and avoid conflict or accuse their partners of blowing things out of proportion.Turtles tend to see things “not as bad” as they really are.
Tigers, on the other hand, roar and persist until they are heard. Many times they DO see things worse than they are.
Consider Charting Your Patterns In Your Relationship
A couple years ago, I created The Partnership Pattern chart which helps you keep track of both positive and negative behaviors in your relationship. It can be a great way to balance the checkbook of your relationship. All you have to do is observe, experience, and check off measurable items that are going on now in your relationship.
But after I created it, I hesitated to share it. Why? I’m glad you asked.
- The tendency is to focus our attention on what our partner is doing wrong rather than what we are doing wrong. You’ll find what you’re looking for. So if you look for the positive behaviors, you’re likely to find them. And, of course those negative behaviors scream for your attention.
- Normally, we don’t realize how our own responses and reactions invite negativity from our partner. We’re paving the way to get the things we don’t want.
Here’s why I’m offering it anyway.
If you could be honest with yourself, it can be revealing about how to get positive results in your relationship.
Ideally, it’s great for both Tigers AND Turtles to participate. But if the Turtle in your life is still hiding, you Tigers will have a great outlet for grounding in reality.
The idea is to check off what you experienced most in the relationship that day. Do it every day for one month and get a clear picture of what you need, whether it’s an enrichment weekend or crisis intervention. Know where your relationship stands.