Are You With the Right Mate?

Are you married to the right person. The cover story of the latest Psychology
Today asks that question and has many people buzzing. In fact, the article
suggests that everyone will ask that question at some point.

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Matt Townsend has some strong thoughts on
the article.

Here are a list of thoughts to review every time you start questioning if your
relationship is really worth it.

1. Soul Mates Are Created Not Found The endless search of
our soul mate will cause neverending torment and frustration. It is a much
healthier paradigm to believe that you need to work together to create a
healthy, united relationships than to find one. The one soul concept, is
forged over years of interacting, not years of search.

2. True Love Is Forged In Commitment and Character not Chemistry
You don’t “fall out of love”, you fall out of chemistry. If you could
actually fall of out love with someone, wouldn’t your teenagers be a more
likely target than even your spouse? Love is created by being committed to
consistently working, serving and loving those around us. The minute we’re
losing the love, you’ve probably lost the commitment first. Commitments
can last a lifetime, when chemistry usually can’t.

3. No One Person Can Meet All Of Your Needs The idea that
one person can meet all of your needs is simply untrue. In fact, I would even
go so far as to say, that one person can’t even meet most of your needs. The
expectation that one person has to be able to be dynamic and capable as to
meet all of your needs, puts an enormous amount of pressure on both of
you. Instead reserve the needs that can only be met by your partner for your
partner, and begin to look for other people who can help you to be more
complete. Stay committed and true to your partner while finding other ways
to have your needs met.

4. Happiness Is Found In You… Not Your Partner Lasting
happiness will always come from you and not your partner. Although they
will have the power to influence your life, you will get to chose how you
handle their influence. Never give another person the power to control your
happiness. Instead, derive your sense of happiness from the fact that you
are doing what you are supposed to be doing in a way that is aligned to the
values and principles you believe in. Happiness is a state of being, not
another human being.

5. Relate With Others as Companion, Not a Consumer In today’s
consumer and marketing driven world many couples are beginning to see
each other more as commodities, than companions. We start to believe that
we actually deserve to have the “highest quality” partners for the “best value,”
or for the lowest amount of work possible. We also think that our partners
are exchangeable, or come with money back guarantees. The truth is
however that companionship is quite different. Risks are taken, a lot has to
be invested and many times you don’t see an immediate return on your

6. Focus On The Whole Relationship, Not The Parts The minute
you start breaking a relationship down into its smallest parts, it actually
stops being a relationship. Instead of pinpointing all of the negative things
that your partner is doing to drive you crazy, begin to notice how the two of
you interact together, creating the struggles in your life. By focusing on the
patterns that make up your reality, you begin to see how you both contribute
to the pain and new solutions for how to fix the problem can emerge. Most
relationship problems in the end are problems not solely in either of the
parts, but in the interactions and connections between the parts

7. Remember You Are Most Bothered Where You are Most
Think about where your partner’s actions are most
bothersome. There little idiosyncracies, their ignorant gestures or
comments. The general rule is simply that we are most bothered by where
we are most vulnerable. If we are frustrated that our partner is incapbable of
holding a job down, it might be that we feel vulnerable financially. If we
don’t like that our partner is impatient, it might be because we don’t know
how to effectively handle their blow ups. If that theory is true, than by
having a partner around us who consistently pushes where we are weak
allows us to begin to change ourselves. In reality wouldn’t the strongest
healthiest person, not really be bothered by other people at all? So if our
parter is constantly bothering us, what does that really say about us?

8. Don’t Fixate On The Fantasy As someone who literally sees
hundreds of people a week to improve their relationships, I can honestly say,
I think I’ve seen just about ever relationship dysfunction out there. I can
honestly promise you that their really is no such thing as the fantasy partner.
There are simply too many variables that can blow up the fantasy like
children, inlaws, the economy, addictions, chemistry, history, etc. Eventually
everyone of us will default back to being human and so the power of creating
healthier relationships is not to escape away to the world of “unicorns and
perfect spouses” but instead to find ways to make parts of our fantasy fit into
our daily reality. Find ways to be better tooled and skilled at improving your
reality, learn communication skills, manage expectations and set regular
goals together. The more you share the dreams, the more the dreams can
become your reality.

9. Measure Your Relationships Over Years, Not Days On any
given day, most couples could be fairly frustrated with their partner. Just as
on any given day of the year you may be frustrated with the weather. The
best weay to determine if you like the climate of where you’re living will be to
assess the climate over many seasons and not just a few. The same is true in
your relationships. Give people time to change and improve. Identify the
balance that time provides as it somehow evens out the hottest summer days
with the coldest winter nights. In the end, the balance of the seasons is also
found in the balance of our relationships when we take the crazy days with
toddlers and a struggling student and compare it to the calmer days as
grandparents with a more stable income. Look to the long term to even out
the journey.

10. You Can’t Have More Character Together, Than You Possess By
“I don’t have any problems like this with any of my
other friends” is a phrase I hear almost daily in my office. People use that as
an excuse to validate the fact that they really are so skilled with everyone
else, so their problems must reside in their partner. The reality is, you’re
not married to everyone else, you’re not sleeping with everyone else and you
don’t have children with everyone else. Your problem may not be your
partner, but may simply be that you don’t know how to have a healthy
relationship with an intimate partner. Before ever moving on to another
relationship, make sure you personally possess the skills to be effective with
your most intimate partner. Make sure that you are not selfish, reactive,
divisive, negative, hopeless and quick to abandon. I wouldn’t leave my
partner until I could do these things with them and then you would have
hope that you can do it with another person. There is a reason that second
and third marriages have higher failure rates than first marriages.

For more information or to access Matt’s online information, visit,

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