In the latest episode, part three of Relationship Reality Check, Dr. Phil delves into the critical concept of establishing compromise and mutual accommodation within relationships. The episode underscores the significance of bridging differences and arriving at compromises that cater to both partners' desires and necessities.
Dr. Phil dismantles the notion that an exemplary relationship is contingent upon complete agreement, an enchanting romance, and impeccable conflict resolution skills. Instead, he introduces a novel perspective on relationship excellence. He advocates for personal growth and development as the key driver of positive relationship dynamics. This perspective encourages individuals to focus on self-improvement rather than attempting to remediate perceived shortcomings in their partners.
To delve into these insightful teachings and gain a more profound understanding of how to foster successful relationships, make sure to tune in to this enlightening episode of Relationship Reality Check. Your perspective on relationships is bound to undergo a transformative shift.
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Finding Middle Ground: Relationship Reality Check PT3
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Is your marriage at risk of falling apart? Take Dr. Phil’s “Marriage Inventory Quiz” — these are 6 signs that you or your spouse could be landing your marriage in a ditch.
1. You control or abuse your spouse.
Controlling people often participate in emotional extortion, like saying, “Agree with me, or else ...” Sometimes it’s more productive and healthier if you agree to disagree. Or, does your spouse attempt to control you, possibly with money? Call you demeaning names? Why would you accept that from anyone, and why would someone who truly loves you treat you that way? If there is an imbalance of power that causes you to lose yourself, you may be in a toxic relationship.
2. You or your spouse define your relationship with jealousy and insecurity.
Do you often check up on your spouse? Do you attempt to read his text messages because you’re just not sure what goes on behind your back? Jealousy is a poorly disguised need for power and control — and that’s a red flag. You have more power in your love, respect, personality and magnetism than you do when you try to be controlling.
3. You lie and deceive your spouse about money.
Have you and your spouse both been completely honest about your finances prior to the marriage and since becoming a union? People who have nothing to hide, hide nothing. What are you hiding and why? And what else are you willing to lie about? Lying about money does not bode well for the underlying trust that a marriage needs at its core.
4. You or your spouse involve your parents or in-laws inappropriately.
If you go running to your parents or your in-laws with your marital problems, you’re not respecting the sanctity and boundaries of your relationship. You’re an adult now; deal with the person you married, not the people who raised either of you.
5. You and your spouse fail to be a united parenting front.
If your kids are successful at dividing and conquering you and your spouse, then they are further driving a wedge between the two of you. Not to mention that if you fight in front of the children, it literally changes who they are. You’re scarring them for life and they don’t deserve that. Be mature enough to stop the screaming and put their needs ahead of your own.
6. You ignore your spouse’s intimacy and sexual needs.
A couple’s relationship in the bedroom is a direct reflection of the rest of their relationship. Intimacy is essentially vulnerability. It’s when you let your guard down, you let somebody in close and you share things in a physical way. If you spend all day fighting, you’re going to have a hard time making intimacy a priority — which it ought to be.
Putting Passion Back Into Your Relationship
Diagnose the problem. Examine your lifestyle and make sure that you are carving out time to have sex with your partner. Sexuality is a pattern, something that needs to happen on an ongoing basis or else other things will crowd it out. It's about behaving your way to success. Like the old adage: Use it or lose it.
Figure out how sex got moved down the priority list. One of the biggest mistakes that couples make is when they have children, they stop being friends and lovers because they've become moms and dads. Being a parent is just one of the roles that you play, and neglecting the role of partner and lover is a huge mistake. It's possible you may need to spend less time at the office or learn to say no to other commitments.
Put your sex life on project status. Make a conscious decision to recommit to each other and move sex higher on the priority list. Physical intimacy in a relationship deserves a lot of attention. You can start by making small changes. Put your kids to bed earlier, don't fall asleep on the couch and go to bed at the same time as your partner.
Ask yourself what you might or might not be doing to contribute to the situation, and what you can do to change things. Men are visually stimulated, so find places where you can make small changes. For example, fix your hair, lose the weight you have been talking about for years or dress sexier.
Give yourself permission to get what you want. Claim your right and give a voice to your needs. Being sexually satisfied and feeling wanted by your partner is a legitimate and healthy part of a relationship.
Talk to your husband about your concerns. Remember to be sensitive when bringing the subject up and pick an appropriate time — not when you are in the middle of an argument. Your husband may resist the conversation because there may be underlying issues such as stress, depression or medication that are interfering with his sex drive, but be supportive. If he is reluctant to be open about it, encourage him to look within himself in order to gain insight into his issues. If all else fails, ask him to participate in one session of couple's therapy so you can start making changes.
Stop complaining about what you're not getting and start creating what you want. Women tend to take marital problems very personally, and consequently feel sorry for themselves. You are not a victim; you are an adult and can work through this problem.
Get creative with your sex life. Find new ways to put some fun, energy and excitement into your relationship. Have sex in different rooms of the house. Try different positions. Don't feel shame or fear when asking for what you want. Give yourself permission to explore each other's fantasies any way you can. However, bringing a third party into the bedroom is not the answer.
Be patient, and most importantly, turn toward your partner. Come up with a plan together that you both agree on and can be excited about, and will put it into action.
Additional Resources & Videos:
Communicating with Emotional Integrity
If you respond to stress or conflict with an ingrained pattern that includes avoidance, anger, denial, etc., it can get in the way of effective communication, distancing you even further from your partner. Dr. Phil suggests using the steps below in order to communicate with emotional integrity.
Give or receive input.
Be open to receiving input from your partner. You have to be willing to test and be tested. You don't have to say everything you're thinking, but everything you do say has to be accurate. If your partner asks you if you're upset, and you are, you have to be willing to say, "Yes." It's important that both partners know they are going to be told the truth.
Reflect content and feelings.
After receiving input from your partner, verify that what you are hearing is what your partner is actually saying. You've got to say, "What I hear from you content-wise is..." Then, to make sure you understand what he/she is feeling, you can say something like, "The feeling I'm getting from you is resentment/anger/hurt, etc."
Accept feedback and respond.
If you are the person who is giving the input, you have to clarify things if your partner isn't hearing what you are honestly trying to say. If you are the person receiving the input, you can respond once you know what you are responding to. Now that you are clear on what your partner is really saying, you can accept the feedback.
Stay in the moment.
Stay with the issues at hand. Do not discuss past history at any time during this process.
Do not leave.
Do not leave the discussion until it is completed. To keep it from dragging on, you can negotiate a time limit beforehand so that both of you know how long the conversation will last.
Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse | The Gottman Institute: Relationship Behaviors that Lead to Failure
Making Marriage Work with Dr. John Gottman
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