In my big relationship model – which I share at my live events – I talk about the importance of acknowledging that we all have a past.
We all do.
We all have a metaphorical chest full of memories, experiences and – for lack of a better word – trauma. That’s the baggage we all carry with us through our lives.
Not talking about these things, not acknowledging that they are there is dangerous for your relationship.
They are dangerous actually, for two reasons. First, your partner might involuntarily step on a time-bomb and unintentionally trigger you to explosion point – which is not a good dynamic in a relationship. Secondly, if you bury your past under a mountain of work, actions and distractions, you might internalise things for too long, which could easily come back and bite you.
I always recommend to have many active appointments in your relationship, and one of the most important reasons for this is because it gives you both an opportunity to exchange stories and trauma from each other’s past.
Now, your future is even more important.
Why? Because you have the chance to create it. You can learn from your past experiences and traumas, and use the lessons learned and wisdom gained to craft a relationship that you really want.
This is your life, it is your relationship, and these are your dreams. No one else can create your future but yourself.
You’d be surprised to know that in my online survey there are many couples who have been together for more than 7 years, and they have neither common life goals nor agreed on a family-budget.
How do you expect to create a respectful and lasting relationship if you have not shared the life-changing moments from your past, which will ultimately help you set up aligned life goals for your future?
I recently met two young people – they’ve been a couple and decided that their vision for the future was so different that they’d rather split up now instead of being disappointed two or three years down the track. One of them had a clear plan of when to settle down and have children, and the other was way more open to what the future might bring.
They clearly spoke about their goals and future and explored whether their vision was at all compatible. As they found out it wasn’t, so they decided to end it amicably in the present, to avoid it dissipating sadly in the future.
When your vision is stronger than your memories, then you can move forward.
Remembering and acknowledging your past experiences and memories is important and that’s why it is good to look into that chest of baggage every now and share it respectfully and trustingly with your partner.
Focus on your vision for your future together, your goals and aspirations, so that your baggage can be put to good use.
You want to lift the fog.
You want to see the path in front of you.
You want to be able to walk this path together with your best friend – your spouse.
So what can you do?
The easiest way is to write down what you want in the different areas of your life. What do you want to do, be or have in five or ten years’ time?
You could write an essay or just a list.
You could make a mind map or post-it notes.
The more detailed, the better.
Lift the fog of your future. The clearer you can describe and articulate your vision, the better your mate will understand.
Create a visible representation of your ideas and dreams – called a vision map. Use old pictures from magazines and newspapers and stick them on a visible reminder of what your goals are.
You too can build your future.
Once you have done this, you could encourage your partner to do the same and then go ahead and compare.
You might actually find that this is so much fun, creating your future together with your partner and helping them to create theirs.
And the most exciting part is that – in a few years – you will find that many of your dreams and aspirations actually came true.
If you want to learn more about how to create your future and which areas you should include, please send me a note. I’ve got a pretty cool process for this and am more than happy to share.