Updated: Nov 19, 2022
Recently, someone I was chatting with asked me what I do for a living. "I coach couples to have a happier marriage," I said.
Her reply was "Oooh, that sounds interesting. So, how can I get my husband to do what I want him to do?" She seemed to believe that controlling her husband was the way to a happy marriage. For her, at least.
So many individuals turn to control when a relationship is in jeopardy in an effort to save it.
However, the opposite is true.
The happiest of marriages are the ones where each person feels free and able to be themselves, yet within the security and love of a union. They feel accepted, trusted and connected. Manipulating, criticising and trying to get your partner to do as you want erodes these vital parts of a relationship and works in the opposite way that you want it to. It also shows a complete disregard for how your partner is feeling or what they want. How does this make them feel? Loved? Valued? Important? Maybe not...
If you want to get the best out of your partner then let go of controlling them or the relationship. This way they will feel accepted and validated, able to be themselves, and they will want to please you!
Men especially love to please their wives when they are in a happy relationship. A man who is confident that he makes his wife happy feels great about themselves. A man who does not feels like a failure, this will never get you what you want, not without resentment brewing under the surface.
Maybe you can remember a time in your own relationship when your partner loved to please you? Do you ever wonder why they don't do that anymore? Are you criticising them? Being bossy? Do you desperately try to get them to be a certain way?
It is understandable for you to try this, we all want to be in control of our lives. And when things get tough it is natural for us to try even harder. But when it comes to another person we need to create a space for them to thrive, which means surrendering control. That's how we get what we want, which is a partner who chooses to strive to make us happy, because they want to.
We do this by striving to make them happy first, by respecting them and loving them for exactly who they are. (even if we think we can improve them!)
Never try to dominate someone you love or your relationship. A partnership where one party exercises control will eventually become problematic.
Even when one partner acts in a way that is detrimental to the relationship, the other partner shouldn't use control. Control produces hostility and a sense of suffocation, which can result in resistance.
However, it's critical to comprehend the causes of control-wielding behaviour. The behaviour has been created in an effort to shield the person from hurt, vulnerability, the worry that they are not adequate, and a desire to over-protect so they may feel good about themselves again. The underlying causes for the behaviour are numerous and specific to that individual.
This is ineffective.
I want you to repeat this to yourself in your head today and to take it to heart. Remind yourself repeatedly of the following advice if you feel yourself trying to exert control over your partner or a circumstance you are in:
Love is always about giving, never about controlling.
The first step in mending your relationship is to understand your own feelings and what you are doing.
Someone must be aware of their own behaviours, the advantages and disadvantages associated with them, in order to feel secure in a relationship.
This becomes more important after an affair. Now, trust has suffered significant harm. It is possible to reclaim it, but before it happens, both couples must comprehend the reasons for the affair and the behaviours that contributed to it.
Now is the time to figure out why and what efforts you can take to improve your relationship if you believe and feel that you are in a partnership where one or both of you are in control.
If you don't, "freedom" will start to look more and more appealing, and one of you may end up leaving the relationship. This is usually not the right rationale to leave.
The good news is that this can be very empowering for you. You DO have control over your own behaviour and actions. You can get what you want, you have simply been going the wrong way about it.
Your 'work' is always on yourself, not your partner.
If you would like some help with this please get in touch with me and we can explore how you can change these behaviour patterns.
I look forward to hearing from you,