If there was a secret your spouse or partner was hiding from you, would you want to know?
If there was a ticking time bomb in their heart that YOU put there without knowing it, would you want them to tell you about it?
What if that thing they were hiding was buries so deep within themselves even THEY didn’t know it was there…until it exploded and demolished everything in range?
Over the years I’ve worked with couples in all sorts of situations, but one of the most difficult scenarios is this: one partner’s success at work is doing damage to the other partner’s soul…and neither one of them even knows it.
Maybe they fight about surface-level things or avoid conflict like the plague, but either way, there’s a growing gap between them and they have no idea how to fix it.
If this sounds like your situation, here’s a secret that can help, and if this isn’t your right-now reality, hopefully this can keep it from getting that way.
The more successful you are at work, the more likely your spouse feels IRRELEVANT.
Let me explain.
If you ask any good psychologist, counselor or mental health professional, they’ll tell you that one of the core elements of healthy relationships is that both partners are meeting each others’ needs.
Certainly not ALL of our needs can (or should) be met by our partners, but in stable relationships there tends to be a sense of balance, fairness, and mutual appreciation for what each person brings to the table.
But what if your needs are being met by someone or something else?
What if the place you go to feel good about your life isn’t your home, but your office?
What often happens in that case is even though you may not be mistreating your partner at all, they feel like a bystander at best or a burden at worst and that’s a very, very uncomfortable place to be.
To make matters worse, for many people that nagging feeling is hard to identify, much less deal with.
It’s much easier to point the finger at you and say, “You don’t spend enough time with _____” or “You’re not doing X-Y-Z…” but in reality, those actions (or inactions) aren’t the issue at all.
The issue is WHY you are doing them, and HOW they are making your partner feel.
So, if your spouse or partner is feeling irrelevant, how can you fix it? Here’s three steps.
1) ASK them if they feel irrelevant/unneeded/unimportant in your life. You’d be surprised at just how often people really can identify deep emotions like these if you give them some language to work with.
2) TELL them exactly how you still need them (prepare these points in advance), and how their presence in your life really DOES make a difference for the better (and an apology for making them feel irrelevant can go a long way, too.)
3) SHOW them you appreciate them through little gestures in the days and weeks ahead. Notes, texts, gifts, even just ongoing verbal encouragement about how much they help you can be a great place to start.
Will doing these steps one time fix the issue overnight? Of course not.
But, if you use them as a starting place to build some better habits, you might be surprised at how quickly things can turn around.
(p.s. You probably know that one of the BIGGEST pitfalls of many relationships (personal or business) is poor communication. If you could use some help in that area, I’ve developed a free tool I call “The L.C.P.R. Cycle” that can help you turn conflict into connection. If you want it, send me a message and I’ll send it your way!)
Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash