New Year, Stronger Relationships: How To Truly Connect
01.04.2017 by Dr Bob Wright
How many of us would like a stronger connection with our partner in the year ahead?
Maybe you’re married or in a relationship, or in the words of social media, maybe “it’s complicated.” Whatever your relationship status, whether you’re single, dating or long-attached, chances are you wouldn’t mind bringing more passion and a stronger love connection into the New Year!
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. So if your current actions aren’t resulting in the connection and charge you’re hoping for, why keep doing what you’re doing?
Time to change it up! Ignite or reignite the passion and get fired up!
Those in long-term relationships and marriages, might be thinking, “Yeah, yeah, but after a while, don’t you just get kind of…comfortable? Isn’t all this ‘fiery passion’ just for new couples?”
How boring! Who wants to be in a passionless relationship?
What if I told you, you could have the same connection, the same passion and the same attraction for your partner today that you had when you were first dating? For those of you who are still playing the field or who might be re-entering the field after a breakup or divorce, wouldn’t you like to REALLY connect with someone else?
What it Means to Truly Connect
What does it mean to truly connect with another person? It’s more than sex or attraction. It’s also more than just “getting along.” When you see couples with a real connection, you might notice that they have a great back-and-forth or rhythm they follow. They just “click.”
The great thing about the click is that it’s not limited to just long-term couples or certain personality types. Everyone can click with another person and truly connect. In fact, you’ve probably clicked with quite a few people in your life already, whether they’re good friends, siblings, and yes, significant others.
Now, of course there are factors like physical attraction, fundamental values, and other things that help us form bonds and create new relationships. If you’re dating online or if you’ve been “fixed up,” chances are you’re well aware that not everyone you meet is going to offer a love connection. Some are simply friendships, and some people have too many fundamental differences to bridge the gap.
However, two people who are self-aware, and who each have an openness and desire to engage, have a great chance at finding that “click.”
We have to get beyond the idea of a fairytale romance. The idea that someone else can “save” us, change us, or be the answer to what we need, sets us up for a false expectation and disappointment, leading to eventual resentment and distance. There’s no “one” person out there for any of us.
While this might sound unromantic or harsh, in reality, it’s the opposite! After all, if there were only one person out there in the world for each of us, what are the odds we’d ever find them (and find them at the ideal time in our lives to make the connection)? How sad would it be if our happiness hinged someone else or on simply one other person in the world?
Instead, when we open ourselves up to the possibility that there are many humans to connect with and learn from, the world seems like our oyster—a giant playground where we can test our relationships and connections, where we can learn from each other and experience new realizations about ourselves and about those we come in contact with.
Together, we can explore, learn and grow.
Similarly, if you resent your significant other or spouse for not being the answer or your “everything,” then this realization that there’s no “one” person out there should enable you to let that resentment go as well. Your spouse is just a person, just like you. They have their own wants and needs. They have their own yearnings and they’re made up of their experiences and interactions.
Viewing your partner as someone to explore, to get to know, and to learn about can help you shift away from the boredom or the feeling that your relationship is drifting along a passionless shoreline. There are things about your partner you have yet to learn. Even couples who have been married for fifty years still surprise each other and can discover and unlock new things about each other. Get back that sense of wonder; it’s the desire for growth and exploration that will propel you forward!
Each experience we have and each person we meet helps us form new context and opens up new neuropathways in our brains. Our brains are constantly growing and changing! As children, we’re always in a state of development and discovery because we’re confronted with so many new opportunities and new situations. As we age, these situations and opportunities come up less and less frequently. We get up, go to work along the same route, do the same job, come home, eat the same dinner and go to bed.
That routine, as comforting as it might seem, sets us up for boredom and discontent. As it turns out, we all need and desire new experiences! New experiences keep us feeling smart, engaged and alert. We want to continue to grow and learn. This growth and forward momentum is at the core of our humanity. We crave new experiences and with each discovery, we feel more alive and more connected.
So guess what? If you want to change the status quo with your spouse or if you want to feel invigorated and impassioned, you need to find a way to wake up your brain! This might mean trying a new activity like getting outdoors, going for a walk in a new neighborhood, exploring a new restaurant, or learning something together. You don’t have to fly to Giza to explore pyramids or take up skydiving; just a simple change of pace and new experience will set the wheels in motion.
Stop Avoiding. Start Engaging.
Whether you want to reform and strengthen your long-term connections or build a new connection, you have to get in the game. Dating sets up the perfect context for new activity and experience. Each moment is a new opportunity to explore something together. After a few years, you might be used to the same restaurants and the same patterns, and that’s when boredom can settle in.
Instead, we have to engage! Budding and established relationships both require engagement. This also means embracing conflict. For so many of us, in our relationships, new or old, we shy away from conflict and confrontation. We want the other person to like us and we don’t want to fight. Maybe we were raised in families where fighting was scary or avoided. Maybe our parents taught us to ignore problems or pretend things were always “fine,” even when they weren’t.
If you want to feel MORE in your relationship, let the emotion in! That means it’s okay to say to your partner, “You’re really pissing me off,” or to tell them when you don’t like something they did or said. You can engage in a little debate and discourse. Just be sure to fight fair. Conflict is healthy!
Sometimes, when we’re conflict avoidant, we’re just building up resentment and distance. To snap out of it and reverse the trend, we have to let it out. As you explore your yearnings, you may start to identify areas where they aren’t being met. When you reach for ways to meet these yearnings, bring it up to your partner. Speak up and tell your partner how you feel!
Make this year the year you reignite your passion. Do the things that speak to you and keep you feeling vibrant and engaged. Open yourself to new experiences and explorations, and invite your partner to do the same. If they’re hesitant, don’t let it hold you back. Often, as you grow, you create a ripple effect to those around you. When they see you happier, more creative, more alive and more alert, they’ll want to “have what she’s having…”
Go forth and engage in self-exploration and discovery! Unlock what makes you happy and connect you with the world around you. For more information on ways to grow and transform your life and the world around you, read more on our blog here.
|Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.|
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