It was a normal Tuesday morning when Steve entered the building.
It was not a normal Tuesday for Steve…
Last night he had a bad row with his wife Louise. It was really bad and they both said things they hadn’t said to each other in a long time.
Even the kids, Sandra and Mitch, were woken by their loud voices, Louise comforted them back to their beds.
He hasn’t seen her since… He went to bed shortly after that – still angry and distressed, but Louise never showed up.
He was too upset to look for her and when he left this morning at 6:00am to go to work she was nowhere to be seen.
Most likely she slept in the kids’ bedroom to comfort them and get away from him.
He doesn’t blame her.
It was not the first time that they went at each other, but last night it was really bad.
“I’ll call her as soon as I’m at my desk” Steve thought when he’s finally arrived at the office.
Now it is nearly 7am, so she must be awake.
He calls her mobile – no response, he calls home – no response, he calls her mobile again and leaves a message.
Next he turns on his computer and start to read emails. There are so many from his headquarters in San Francisco…
But Steve can’t concentrate… what was it that Louise said during their verbal fight?
He can’t recall. What was it? Something like “I’ll leave you…” Did she really say that?
His computer screen becomes blurry. He need to call her and apologise.
At 7:45am he’s on the phone again, trying desperately to reach her on the landline or mobile.
Why is she not picking up? Why is she not calling back? He’s starting to send her texts.
His first meeting is at 9am.
He’s in the room, but not really listening.
Under the table, his phone is on his lap and he’s constantly scanning for calls or texts coming in.
At 10am, he realises he does not even remember what the meeting was about.
None of his emails have been answered.
He’s completely distracted. On autopilot.
Back on the phone.
“Hey Lui, it’s me Steve, I’m SORRY – please call me back. We need to talk….”
10:30am and the next meeting starts. This time his boss is there too, so he can’t keep an eye on his phone.
By 10:47am he excuses himself and goes to the bathroom. He doesn’t need to go, but he needs to check for calls, texts or private emails. Still nothing. Back to the meeting.
It seems everyone else is in top form, he can’t concentrate.
Thank goodness, nobody seems to notice.
12:07pm and finally the meeting ends – it went way overtime.
Steve wasn’t paying any attention. His mind was constantly circling around the fight last night.
He replayed the scenes in his mind and yes, he can clearly recall now what she had said.
“I’ve had enough! I’m leaving you.”
Steve picks up the phone again and calls 3 times, all unanswered, one after the other. He eventually leaves another message.
“Hey Lui – me again – I’m so sorry about last night. I lost it. I really did. But I am under so much stress at work. PLEASE call back. Don’t do anything RASH… PLEASE – I love you.”
Nothing. Silence. Steve’s phone stays silent as if it’s been disconnected.
1pm, 2pm, 3pm goes by and every passing hour makes Steve feel more and more desperate.
The kids must be home by now. Why is nobody picking up the phone?
His output so far today: he answered three emails and sat through 3 meetings, he is totally miserable.
Thankfully all his colleagues seem to notice that he doesn’t want to chat, so they leave him alone.
3:15pm one more meeting and he can go home.
At 3:47pm his phone rings. He nearly jumps out of his chair and leaves the meeting in a hurry, embarrassed.
He can’t place the number, but he doesn’t care. He hopes it’s be Louise calling from a friends’ place. Maybe her battery is flat.
He picks up “Hello”
“Hello“. A deep, distant voice responds .
“Is this Steve Morith I’m talking to?”
“Yes, who are you?”
“My name is Peter Jenkins, I’m a lawyer at Stansons & Sons, across from me sits Mrs. Louise Morith.”
“Oh. What? What’s happened? Can you put my wife on the phone, please?”
“That is not possible at the moment. Say, Steve, do you have a lawyer?”
“Your wife is filing for divorce. She is not coming home tonight. The kids are with her.”
“Noooo!, please put her on the phone, dammit, I’ve been trying to reach her all day. I want to apologise”
“No need to swear at me Steve, I’m just the messenger… Have a good day”
And with that, the line goes dead.
Steve looks at his phone. Tears building up in his eyes…divorce? No way.
He presses on recent calls and connects to the number.
“Stansons & Sons, what can I do for you?” a chirpy voice responds…
“Oh, it’s Steve here, someone just called me, my wife – Louise – is with him, could you put me through please?”
“That must have been Mr. Jenkins“, she asserts him, “but I’m sorry Sir, he instructed me not to take any calls for him at the moment. Sorry.”
“Is there anything else I could do for you, Sir?”
“Yes please go and…” Steve disconnects the line just in time…
Let’s leave Steve and Louise to their own devices for now.
Here are some questions for your consideration…
- Would you say something to your colleague when you see that their relationship is in dire straits?
- For how long, do you think, will Steve not be as productive as he normally is? (a month, six months, a year)
- How much stress would it put on you if your colleague is not fully present?
Relationship breakdown effects the marriages and workplaces of many Australians each and every day. Productivity hits an all-time low during a crisis, with mental health and ambition taking a backseat while those suffering struggle to keep their head above water and their minds focused.
If you value the health of your staff or colleagues, and see the correlation between relational health and happiness in the workplace, I can help.
Maybe you would like me to speak at your organisation on the topic of “Healthy Relationships”? It is what is best for your team, and ultimately for the productivity of your company.
Please let me know: jurgen@Inspiring-Relationships.com.au
There are plenty of articles and scientific research on the general benefits of meditation.
Meditation is good for you because it can –
- Reduce stress.
- Control anxiety
- Promote emotional health
- Enhance self-awareness
- Lengthen the attention span
- And it can also widen the gap between stimulus and response
But what does this mean?
Widening the gap between stimulus and response means that the reaction from someone who meditates regularly to any outside situation is less likely triggered by the limbic-brain response of fight or flight. The practices involved in meditations can promote a deeper analysis of a situation, a calmer response and a more thoughtful reaction.
How does this all now help you in your relationship?
Meditation is a very personal thing. You can meditate together in a group or with your partner. No matter how you practice meditation though, in essence, you are training your own brain. Meditation is for yourself. Meditation is for your personal growth, and in my view, everything you do for your personal growth is going to help your relationship to grow.
Everything in nature wants to grow or expand. Every tree, every weed and every animal feels the natural inclination to grow. And the same is true for us human beings. We want to grow, we want to expand, and we want to reach new heights.
What I observe with a lot of couples is that there is a phase in the relationship, typically after living together or being married for some time, when they stop looking after their own personal growth. They think that with their life-partner they now reached a plateau from where they don’t need to move forward anymore.
Let me tell you, this is a very dangerous thought. The moment your relationship gets into a daily or weekly routine, you have set yourself off on the path to boredom and unemotional cohabitation.
To avoid this you need to look after yourself. You need to put on your own mask first.
The moment you start meditating you are doing something for yourself. You are expanding your mind and you are reducing your stress levels. You are better equipped to handle any challenge thrown at you from your boss, your colleagues, your clients, your children, and from your partner.
Meditation helps you to apply the filter of Love and Understanding to anything your partner does or says. Meditation gives you the calm mind to put yourself in the shoes of others before you react to their words or deeds. Meditation lets you rest within yourself whilst the world around you might get into chaos.
Meditation does not mean you are passively accepting everything others do to you. It does not mean that you are giving in to any argument or challenge. You will not become weak through meditation – on the contrary, you will become much, much stronger in your mind.
Where and how do you start?
I hear all the time – “My day is full to the brim already; I just don’t have time to sit still for ten or twenty minutes…”. And truthfully, I have said the same thing too. In the beginning I couldn’t even concentrate for a minute, let alone ten minutes or more. I was struggling big time.
But then I forced myself to sit for ten minutes every day using a free app called “Calm” and it changed my mind – quite literally. (And there are many more apps out there you can chose from)
Now I do this (nearly) every day. For ten minutes, I focus on my breath and try to calm my mind. Each day, I find my mind wanders off to far places, some are in the past, some are in the future and some are in the land of fantasy. And then I realise that my mind was somewhere else and not focusing on my breath anymore. So, I pull my mind back and focus again on breathing.
Is it easy? No
Do I succeed every day? No
Do I struggle? Yes
Does it help? Yes, big time.
You will find that after five days of meditating for ten minutes, you look a life from a different perspective. You might find yourself recognising more beauty in the small things. You could be less agitated if something does not work out the way you’ve planned it, you might even have the clarity of mind to realise you are enjoying life more.
All of this helps you to grow as a person and that helps your relationship to grow and strengthen.
I am more than happy to discuss this with you in more depth. All you need to do is send me a quick response to this newsletter and we take it from there.
One thing I often observe with many couples is the way that they talk to each other. Many couples I see have been living together for five, ten or even twenty years. And because they know each other so well, they are at a point in their relationship where they can literally finish each other’s sentences.
Although this is definitely a sign of being in sync with each other, what I notice a lot is that then instead of listening to their partner attentively and patiently, they almost seem to want to rush ahead and speed up the conversation. There is no doubt that this can sometimes lead to very funny misunderstandings and discussions.
Equally, many couples have seemingly stopped appreciating the other person for what they really do, have and are. Your relationship is like a big jigsaw puzzle where each person brings in an equal number of pieces, and you both together build the picture of your life together from these puzzle pieces.
When you started out with your relationship, you were – more likely than not – both appreciative of each other. You would tell your partner how much you loved them and what specifically you liked. In the beginning, you probably each praised the other for particular skills or tastes, or even for your commonality. You might have even become excited when you each exclaimed “That’s exactly what I like/think too!”
Fast forward some years, and you may have unknowingly started to take the other person for granted. You’ve fallen into a routine and it seems to work. Say for example that one of you is responsible for the laundry. Why mentioned it then, it’s their job, isn’t it? Imagine the alternative, of noticing and appreciating, by saying something along the lines of “Thank you for taking care of my work clothes again. What would I do without you?”
Instead of the weekly instruction – “Remember, tomorrow is waste collection” or “Have you taken the bins out?”, imagine how much kinder the exchange would become if you could add the words “please” and “thank you”.
You might think it’s no big deal. And you may be right. You live together, you know each other, and you’ve been through some ups and downs together. You are so comfortable with each other that you don’t need the fluffy talk of please and thank you anymore. You are just getting the job done.
Still, as efficient as your conversations may be, I would urge you to give it a try and really appreciate your partner on a daily basis for all of the things they bring to your partnership, and all of the things they do for you, big or small, routine or not. You could even emphasis your words and gratitude with a quick kiss.
Imagine if your partner’s face lit up after you said the words – “Thank you for cooking tonight, this meal is wonderful” and then planted a loving kiss tenderly on your partner’s mouth. Imagine again, if you did this in full view of your children, who are constantly learning from your interactions with each other. I believe that every person at your table would feel better for having been a part of that exchange – yourself included.
There are so many opportunities to notice and appreciate your partner out loud. When your partner is wearing something particularly nice or clothes you have selected together in a shop, make a comment and praise that you really like what they are wearing. Don’t be discouraged if your partner has a hard time accepting your compliments, especially if they are not used to hearing them, but simply encourage them to accept it and say “Thank you”.
Respect is more important than love in your relationship.
Your words of appreciation for your partner will increase their self-worth, their confidence, and their happiness.
One of my beliefs is that we often treat our partner in a way that we would never dare expose to even our best friends. Just imagine you are at your best friend’s house and they offer you a beer or glass of wine – you would take it and say “thank you”. Why do we not give the same courtesy or respect to our partner at home?
If a total stranger holds the door open for you at a supermarket, you say “Thank you” and offer a smile. When your partner opens the car door for you, you perhaps don’t even notice it.
These little gestures show to your partner that you are not taking everything they do for granted and that you are deeply grateful for having your partner in your life.
And from time to time, it really is best to verbalise it.
If you feel guilty of perhaps falling into the routine of marriage and forgetting to notice what your partner brings to your relationship, then I invite you to write down ten things you are really grateful for in your partner. Take your time and please put some thought into this. Be mindful in really acknowledging which area of your relationship is your partner really shining.
Once you have these ten points together, read them again and then, have a think about presenting the list to your partner.
You could send a text saying “I am really grateful for having you in my life because of…a), b), and c). Or if you are a bit more romantic – like myself – write your partner a beautiful card and leave it next to their pillow or in their breakfast spot one morning.
Appreciating your partner every now and then for what they are and for what they bring into your relationship is a beautiful way of refreshing your love for each other and strengthening your relationship. And I promise, you will be both feel good for doing so.
If you want more tips you can order your signed copy of my book here.
In my online quiz “Find out: Your Relationship Performance Indicator” I have now collected over 2,150 responses. Over 80% of these are from women and I am sorry to say that I have lost count of how often their question is “Does he love me?”
In one of her great songs, Cher believes the answer is easy – ”it’s in his kiss!”
And we all know the saying that “you need to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince” – which is a common saying in Germany and France.
So why are so many women feeling that they’ve been left in the dark?
What are we men doing to not communicate that we love our partner?
People fall in love. They have butterflies in the stomach and their feelings go through the roof. When they meet they can’t keep their hand off one another. In this phase, no one doubts that their partner is in love with them.
But as the for big question at hand – “Does he/she really love me?” – most of us are okay with not knowing the answer to this so early on in the game.
Fast forward by three, six or twelve months and our couple has move in together and starting to plan their life together. Now the BIG question is valid. Are we meant to stay together? I do love my partner. Does he/she love me back?
It might be the case that one of the two is still not 100%, sure. Maybe there is a past trauma that plays out so that they can’t commit fully. Maybe there are other reasons.
Does moving in together mean the relationship is going to be a life-long relationship? Definitely not. So, you wait patiently, hoping that the feelings are being mutual.
As time goes by, it is not uncommon to feel more and more sure that what you have is real, mutual love, or you realise it is not going to work and you quit.
Time is a critical indicator here.
I once met a couple that has been together for ten years and in one of our sessions, the wife asked me the question “When do you know he is the one?”.
A very valid question “When do you know he is the one?”
Even after being together for ten years, she still had moments of wonder, the question still posed itself to her. Where is this question coming from? What is he doing that makes her insecure and what is she expecting that he might not know of or can’t fulfil?
And maybe this is where the answer lies…
As my wise grandmother used to say to me, when I was in my early twenties – “When you want to know the true character of the person you are dealing with, don’t listen to their words, but only pay attention to their deeds.”
Action speak louder than words!
If you are not sure whether your partner really loves you, some senses in your brain are on full alert. Or in your gut. Because your intuition sits in your gut – brain.
If their actions do not match their words…or…
if their actions are not in line with your expectations…or…
if their behaviour leaves you in doubt…
then your gut-feeling of “does he/she really love me?” is probably a good warning sign, that something is missing.
To the person on the other side of this equation, who has a partner questioning the authenticity of their feelings, I might say:
If your true feelings are not showing through…or…
if you’ve stopped making an effort in your relationship…or…
if your actions are contradicting (not supporting) your words…
then it is no wonder that your partner feels insecure and not fully loved.
What you can do.
My online quiz is a great conversation starter for any couple who wants to find out where they are standing. If you’ve asked yourself the question “Does he really love me?”, take that as a clear indication that something in your relationship is already amiss.
I can’t say what it is. It could be too high expectations on the one side or too low commitment on the other side. Or it could just be a mismatch in communication.
Let’s put it this way: in a loving, intimate and respectful relationship, this question would not come up, because both partners know what they have in each other, and both partners know that they can depend on the other person 100%.
Again, take this article and the online quiz as a conversation starter to find out where your partner is and where you stand in your relationship.
Opening your eyes to a situation is the first step of dealing with it.
I am more than happy to help you to facilitate your discussion.
Just book yourself an obligation free call with me to find out whether and how I could support you.
And remember Cher, maybe you just want to kiss more often. Because it really is all in his/her kiss. 🙂
Many couples report that over time they’ve been drifting apart.
The early cracks are getting wider and wider and eventually the chasm isn’t bridgeable any more.
In his regular podcast “Conversations on Purpose” Justin Cooper is interviewing me and we are exploring the early warning signs every couple should be aware of.
Here are some of the signs…the early cracks…the canary in the coal mine:
- The normal life infringes on your relationship
- You stop making time for each other
- You actually stop dating
- No Active Appointments
- No longer sharing of deeper thoughts
- Not spending quality time together
- You stop talking
- You don’t have the desire to come home
- You are exchanging fewer kisses per day or stopping kissing completely…
Listen to the complete podcast here.