BLOG: How Loving Better is Better than Lasting Longer
For Better or Worse
When faced with the choice of for better or worse, why wouldn't we choose FOR BETTER?
I get it. The idea that we pledge our love through thick and thin is beautiful and powerful. Yet the idea that we measure the success of a relationship by how long we stayed in it can be disastrous.
Most relationship work out there focuses on the “worse” part. How to fix or change the worst parts of our relationship. How to avoid divorce. How to fix problems. Cure conflicts. What if instead you focused on the FOR BETTER part?
If you focus on things getting better and better over time between you, you’re far more likely to enjoy your relationship than if you wait while life just happens, stress and arguments and residue build up between you, then BOOM, a blow up, blow OUT or even a break up happens.
When you lean into the FOR BETTER part, and Love Better as practice, you set your relationship up for endless expressions of play, peace and passion together.
Perfect Doesn’t Exist
Your love can be a breathtaking testament to what is possible or it can be an embarrassing and painful disaster. Often, especially right now, life can be so full and full on, that we settle for making it through the day without a major meltdown and call that a success. Nit picking and crankiness become acceptable everyday interactions until you stop wanting to interact much, if at all.
Often we blame ourselves, our beloved or both for letting things slip so far south, for not doing something sooner. Or we just have unrealistic expectations of our beloved, ourselves and how hard or easy a happy, healthy and hot relationship should be.
Alert! There is NO perfect relationship. They DO NOT exist.
The very nature of this intimate undertaking we call love is complex. Just think how layered and nuanced it is to deal with your own emotions, needs, desires, fears, etc. Then you put another person in the mix with all of that going on for them as well and it can get pretty complicated, pretty quickly.
There are perfect moments and you may be perfect for each other, still, a perfect relationship does not exist. Yet your relationship CAN just keep getting better and better.
There is no perfect, but there is better.
Longer vs Better
Often a relationship starts happy, healthy and hot and then slowly cools until nothing but ashes is left. That’s the accepted norm.
If a couple makes it decades into a marriage, it matters less the quality of their relationship but the length of it becomes the focus. “Wow, 20 years and you haven’t killed each other yet?!”
We didn’t divorce or kill each other? THAT is relationship success?! No thank you!
It takes courage to pursue delight in the face of society celebrating just staying together. The problem with living with that low bar is, you’re living with that low bar when there’s so much more possible! Love CAN get better year after year, even argument after argument.
YES you want to stay together through good times and bad, but don’t you want as much of it to be good times as possible? You can’t control life, but you can keep learning to Love Better. To love bigger and better than before. To love each other more year after year and certainly love each other more than any conflict or hurdle you might face in life or love.
“When I say I love you more, I don’t mean I love you more than you love me. I mean I love you more than the bad days ahead of us, I love you more than any fight we will ever have. I love you more than the distance between us, I love you more than any obstacle that could try and come between us.”
Don’t just stay together LONGER. Stay together happier, healthier and hotter year after year. Love BETTER year after year.
Sh*t Happens. Get Ready.
Most couples just bob along enjoying the start of their relationship. Then when a conflict or undesirable behavior pattern emerges, they start to question the relationship. When the reality is things WILL come up in EVERY relationship. It is human and even good. There is gold in those relationship breakdowns IF you seek out the opportunity for the breakthroughs they offer.
Relationship conflict will happen, so why not be ready? Why not have a plan and even a proactive HABIT for how to handle what you KNOW will happen at some point.
Sh*t happens. In life. In relationships. Get ready to fail. Get ready to mess up. Get ready to lose your cool. When that happens, what there is to do is Love Better.
Don’t make yourself wrong from the screwup. Don’t use your energy on feeling badly about the past. Own it. Then declare new action and take it.
Love is NOT about loving perfectly. It is about Loving Better.
Problem vs Progress
Focusing on the problems most often resorts to a blaming dynamic. Which then instigates a defense response. It is a race to the bottom from there with who wronged who and who screwed up the first and who screwed up the worst.
Focusing on Loving Better most often produces partnership. Leaning into Loving Better shifts you out of the conflict as adversaries and into ownership, compassion and creativity with solutions as allies and even playmates.
Intentional About Intimacy
Rarely do couples get intentional about what works and what can work better ever let alone early on. Most often a couple waits until they’re in dire straits emotionally to do anything about it. It’s not a problem, until it’s a problem, but once it is a problem, then you’ve got something to fix. But you’re not broken. Neither is your beloved. Nor is your relationship. A long term playful, peaceful relationship takes SOMETHING and sometimes it IS hard. That’s not your fault!
The Default Ditch
I often have couples come to me when they’re in what I call “the ditch of default”. They let healthy relationship habits go and slowly slipped into unhealthy habits. They waited until things got bad. They fell into the relationship ditch.
At that point, little things lead to big fights, intimacy is next to non-existent and play is a thing of the past.
They’re often embarrassed how bad it’s gotten and desperate for some hope and relief. Yet it’s totally normal, even predictable that your relationship slowly drifted into the ditch of default. It’s a cliché that love declines over the years until one day you wake up and it’s gone. It isn’t anyone’s fault. It just happens. It’s the default.
UNLESS you lean IN to Loving Better. Even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard! You CAN love each other more tomorrow than today.
Don’t be willie nillie or leave love to chance. Get intentional about your intimacy. Going with the flow is great, yet being proactive can be powerful too. And a default relationship can be disastrous. Stack the cards in your favor. Invest in awesome intimacy by Loving Better today and tomorrow and the days after that.
Feels into Future
I have specific processes for a couple when a couple has let their Couple Culture drift into the default. The Venting for Victory or the Rift Residue Removal personalized coaching programs are great, still the core approach here at For Better Love is to get the uglies out as efficiently and effectively as possible so you can feel the feels then turn them into a future you’re inspired, nourished and satisfied by and that calls you forward into that vision in partnership and even with play.
Step over nothing, feel your feels fully, yet don’t get stuck there. Translate those feelings into an empowered and empowering future for your relationship. Don’t be satisfied with just moving past a conflict, move FORWARD.
Translate complaints into creativity.
There is a wish in the argument. What is it? What are the needs that are trying to get met? How can you get closer to expressing and meeting those needs - without making anyone wrong? Lean into Loving Better, that’s how!
There are endless avenues for Loving Better. It matters less what you do, than it does that you do SOMETHING. Remember, it’s not about loving perfectly. It’s about Loving Better!
It’s About Improvement
Research has shown that it is not the actual state of your circumstances of your life that determine your happiness as much as it is about if things are improving or getting worse. So don’t focus on the idea of living the perfect relationship and life where all your goals and desires are pursued and fulfilled.
Just stop focusing on the problems and start aiming for awesome. You don’t have to be perfect. Just keep your focus on what you DO want, not what you don’t want. Take responsibility for leaning in to Loving Better day after day, year by year and even moment by moment.
Lean into Loving Better instead of assuming it should just be easier or happen on its own. What makes a difference is bringing your intention, attention and action to learning to Love Better. A little bit of energy, especially spread out over time, makes a BIG difference.
Remember it is not about being a perfect lover or loving perfectly. It IS about Loving Better. Progress, not perfect is a helpful mantra.
Progress not perfect.
You don’t have to figure it out and certainly don’t need to “know what you’re doing”. Just stay open, engaged and in exploration about what is next for you and your beloved in Loving Better as individuals and as a couple.
It takes bravery to pursue a blissful relationship. Still a healthy, happy and hot does NOT just happen. It is a HABIT. It takes something. Sometimes it takes A LOT. Yet a wonderful relationship is SO WORTH it!
A Word of Caution - You Grow YOU
It is quite common for both beloved’s to think they’re doing more than the other. Whether it is chores around the house or improving the relationship, both often think they’re doing their part and wish their beloved would do more.
Let it go! Forget about what they do. You can ONLY change you. As you grow and evolve, you can inspire your beloved into their own new action and personal evolution, just don’t press, push or shame.
Keep doing your part to Love Better and Love Better and Love Better and watch how you inspire them to Love Better too. Be the kind of partner that has you or your beloved want to be a better person, a better partner.
My husband never tells me I should work out or watch what I eat. He just eats well and moves his body a lot and is excited and positive when I join him. He inspires me to be a better listener by BEing a better listener, not by telling me how I should be or what I am doing wrong. He makes me a better person and partner not by pressuring me, but by what he draws out in me just by being a better person himself.
“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out.” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Who will YOU be and how will YOU grow on your path to Loving Better? Have fun with this in your own way. Then watch how it moves and inspires not just your beloved, but others around you to Love Better too.
Pick your prompts by selecting the images or quotes from this blog and posting them where you can see them. In your calendar, on your bathroom mirror, fridge or laptop with a note, on your phone or computer home screen, just find a place to post your prompt.
- Let go of focusing on complaints or problems. Refrain from blame. As a complaint emerges, ask yourself, what is the wish or need underneath it? Ask yourself, how can I Love Better here?
- Take ownership of your evolution. Lean into Loving Better by seeking what YOU resonate with as your next steps. Check out our other blogs, snap up our ebook or consider a course or even coaching.
- Create a Shared Relationship Vision (AKA Marriage Map & Mantra - either DIY, in a course or in the full limo ride personalized program), then post your mantra where you can see it. Say it often. Use it to come back to the Couple Culture you declared. Use it to set goals to create more play, peace and passion as a proactive HABIT seasonally.
Your Ally in Aiming for Awesome,
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