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"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trying Too Hard


Couples often ask how they can resolve their differences and the one who wants to resolve more - perhaps - than the other, will then go on to tell me "I am willing to do whatever my husband/wife wants.

That would be a colossal mistake. This is what I am labeling as trying too hard in today's post. Not because I'm against pleasing a partner - of course that can be a wonderful thing to do, but because I don't believe in the value of attempting changes for the sake of another but that don't of along with a true desire to make those changes in the heart and mind of the person him or herself.

A case in point: if your partner has desperately been requesting you for years to take greater interest in one of his/her hobbies (skiing, theatre, football, opera, etc.), and you now make it your business to accompany your partner to any and all of those activities, or to watch them on television together, in order to gain points with your partner, you are setting yourself up for a rapid disaster. At first, your partner may be lulled into believing that you have, indeed, changed, and that you are now beginning to show interest, but unless your interest is genuine, you will stop showing interest shortly after you feel the rift between the two of you has been resolved.

A similar case in point - although on slightly more serious lines - could be a partner who has been asking you for nearly all the time you've been together, to spend more quality time with him/her, and also with the family. You've demurred, you've given excuses, you've been lazy about it, and above all, you never really tried. Now it's crunch time. Your partner is threatening an endgame. So you've decided to cave in and finally do what has been asked of you so often for so long. In and of itself that is good. But what if you do it simply to ensure your partner stays with you? What if little of what you are doing is coming from a place of real desire to change the part of you that has kept yourself so distant, and is mainly coming from the place that wants to ensure the survival of the marriage because as long as the marriage exists you feel good or safe? Just as in the earlier example, this will mean that once you feel things are back to an even keel - i.e., your partner is no longer threatening abandonment - you will in all likelihood revert to your former behaviour.

In each instance above you try too hard for the wrong reason and therefore you will stop trying once you perceive the danger to have passed.

That begs the question: what would be the right reason? Are you meant to like opera even though you find it stultifying? No. Not in the least. You might, however, come to an agreement with your partner in which you 'exchange' liking an activity the other enjoys. Perhaps you enjoy bridge and have long wanted your partner to join you in the game. You might agree that once a month each of you will spend an evening participating in the other's activity of choice. That is very different from trying to like something; pretending to like something just so you feel that your partner is safe in your hands again. Being honest and trying to find a viable solution for both, as opposed to simply refusing to participate will go a long way to create good will.

In the other example is is even more important to be clear about exactly why you are attempting to change. Merely paying lip service is of no long term use. So how about this: becoming aware of and recognizing that if you want a partnership, but are not willing to spend quality time with your partner and the family, signifies that something is not quite right in your emotional make-up. Understanding, furthermore, that this therefore means that this warrants some attention on your part. Not so much for your partner, but for you. In order that you may grow in positive ways. Such self-discovery will go a long way towards creating more good will in your partnership, but above all, it will help you become what you truly can be.

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Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books. My new book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is now out globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

Books by Dr. Gabriella Kortsch


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