As soon as autumn shows its first glimpses, I sense a change in my clients: their focus moves away from summer-extroversion to cold-weather-introversion. Along with their turn inward comes a more self-reflective way of being, as well as a deep desire to be nurtured, held, and cared for. In other words, their desire for romance and soulful connection increases drastically.
Over the years of coaching women how to cultivate a loving relationship with themselves and how to transform their lives, I've discovered a series of difficult questions.
Especially when it comes to romance, I've realized that there are particular questions every person ought to ask him or herself to create an amazing, fulfilling, and sustainable love life.
Below, I've distilled the most fundamental issues to consider into 8 questions. Take your time with each and answer honestly ...
1. Do I know what I need and can I communicate it well?
Your partner isn't psychic and cannot read your mind. It is extremely important to be able to have clarity within about what you need in order to thrive in your relationship.
The second (but just as important) step is to communicate your needs to your partner in a loving and compassionate way. Rather than using blame or an accusatory tone about how your partner didn't give X, or failed to do Y, approach the conversation from a different place. Always assume that if your partner knew what you needed, he or she would love to give this to you. It's your job to let him/her know.
2. Do I gratefully receive the things my partner naturally gives me?
Your partner is his or her own person. He/she has unique things to offer and give to you, regardless of your particular needs. These things can coexist.
Even though you may be very clear on what you want to receive, or working on tapping into this question, it's also important to not reject your partner's natural gifts to you. Can you find pleasure in his/her unique idiosyncrasies? Can you see your partner's natural value?
3. Do I know what my partner needs?
From there, ask yourself, "Have we created an environment where we can communicate these needs openly?" This pair of questions leads to the third but arguably most important question, "Do we trust each other?"
It's essential that you and your partner are able to feel vulnerable in front of each other without fear. Trust is a fundamental cornerstone of any relationship.
4. Do I feel proud to be with my partner?
This question will help you get to the core of whether you notice your partner's positive attributes or his/her deficiencies first and foremost. You can train your mind depending on where you choose to put your focus.
If you are currently focused on his/her deficiencies, it's important that you intentionally bring forth his/her wonderful qualities and focus on these first and foremost. Nobody is perfect and expecting this of your partner isn't fair. If you cannot live with some of his natural and unchangeable deficiencies, it might be time to have a serious conversation.
5. Do I expect myself to be perfect all the time?
Perfectionism is basically an invisible jail that may look admirable on the outside, but starves you on the inside. If you are perfectionistic, it also means that you likely have a hard time being vulnerable in front of your partner.
If nothing is ever good enough for your personal standards, you will inevitably struggle to create a sense of contentment within the relationship. How can you give yourself the gift of imperfection?
6. Do I and my partner share a common vision of an ideal life together?
In other words, can you and your partner dream together? The beauty of a partnership is that two people can come together and pull on the same string, pursue common goals, and keep each other motivated and enthusiastic about what life has in store even if times get difficult.
7. Do I feel beautiful in front of my partner?
... when naked, in pajamas, without makeup, after the gym, and so on. There is no better feeling than to stand in front of the person you love and catch a glimpse of admiration and adoration in their eye that lets you know that they see your beauty, physically and emotionally. It is equally important to give that feeling back and be generous with your admiration and adoration for him/her.
8. Do we depend on each other needing to be "saved"?
In my coaching work with women, I have come across numerous scenarios where the relationship works wonderfully as long as one person in the relationship needs constant care, or to be "saved," in other words.
However, as soon as that person no longer needs "saving," the other person feels a lack of purpose and the new constellation doesn't work anymore. How can you shift your relationship toward a dynamic of mutual empowerment and personal responsibility?
In the comments below, I'd love to hear from you. Which one of these points resonated the most with you? Which one do you know will require a bit more work on your part?