Sadly, many of those unhappy endings could have gone very differently if relationship coaching had been employed much earlier in the relationship.
Most relationships become unhealthy because of a lack of communication. We simply don't discuss the core values and beliefs that form the foundation of any relationship. Instead, basic areas of incompatibility and potential conflict are hidden by the rosy glow of exploration and passion that begin a relationship. Left unresolved, they fester and eventually surface during times of stress or unhappiness when they are difficult to discuss.
Relationship coaching is most effective when it is employed just as the relationship is getting serious; for example when the couple is considering marriage, having children or living together. At that point, issues can be discussed constructively and resolved before they can poison the relationship.
What issues am I talking about?
Here are a few of the major areas of potential conflict and some of the questions that need to be discussed before entering into a serious relationship:
· How do we listen to, understand and work through conflict with each other?
· How can we get our ideas, feelings and commitments across to each other?
· What additional conflict resolution skills do we need to learn and practice?
· What rules will we follow to ensure safe and effective communication?
· What steps can we create for resolving fights, arguments or disagreements when they happen?
· Who will be responsible for what domestic tasks?
· How will we share the tasks neither of us enjoys?
· In what ways can we support each other while completing these tasks?
· How much time will we each spend on domestic tasks? How do we keep it equitable?
· Are we savers or spenders?
· How much debt do we each have?
· How will we manage our debt?
· Which of us will handle our finances?
· How will we handle financial emergencies? (e.g. loss of a job, medical expenses, etc.)
· How will we plan for retirement?
· Are we both comfortable discussing sexual relations?
· How often will we have sexual relations?
· Who will initiate sexual relations and how?
· How will we handle our differences concerning sexual relations?
These are four important areas; but, other topics can also create conflict, including Activities, Children, Religion, Careers and Family issues.
Merging two lives together is a complex and emotional process. For most couples, it's safer and easier to avoid discussing these questions. Unfortunately, these issues are the source of dissatisfaction that ultimately end many relationships. Relationship coaching can help you explore these issues in a safe and loving environment if you are willing to invest the time and effort.
If you are considering marriage, recently married or are struggling in a marriage, consider relationship coaching to create a healthier, more satisfying relationship. It will open the door to effective communication and provide the tools you need to enjoy a strong, healthy and happy relationship for years to come.