Relationship Challenges We Face
While many of us voice our strong desire to be involved in a love relationship, we often complain about them once we get them. For some, we experience a series of difficult relationships. For others, we live in a marriage or life partnership that feels like hard work. And there are some of us who are involved in long-term love relationships that we are satisfied with but wish to take to an even deeper, closer, more caring and honest level. In many cases, it seems that people are confused and unsure about relationships, and this leads to some predictable outcomes. Consider the following:
- The average life span of a live-in relationship is 4.5 years (bridebook.co.uk, 2017)
- 39% of wives and 68% of husbands who admitted to being unfaithful reported that their spouses did not know of the affair (trustify.info, 2018)
- 45% of all first marriages, 60% of second marriages, and 73% of subsequent marriages will end up in divorce (mckinleyirvin.com, 2018)
- Only 10% of people who leave marriages end up marrying the person with whom they had an affair
How the Option Institute Can Help with Relationships
Relationship issues are often described as entities in and of themselves, to be navigated by those involved. We don’t believe there is any such thing as a relationship issue.
Our first relationship advice principle is: What others call relationship issues are simply two individuals, each having his/her own issues and thus being unhappy, judgmental or unloving with his/her partner. So, instead of helping you fix an amorphous “relationship issue,” we can help you to look at your own fears, hurts, and concerns – and help your partner look at his/hers.
A controversial idea: your partner doesn’t make you unhappy (no matter what he/she does).
Sound hard to swallow? We don’t blame you. We have been schooled repeatedly to believe that our happiness lies in the hands of others, particularly those of our lover. Much of the relationship advice we receive is predicated on this idea. This has set us up to experience love relationships marked by blame, distress and attempts at manipulation.
A New Perspective
However, it is possible to approach relationships from a new perspective. In fact, if your partner can’t make you unhappy, it follows that you can’t make him/her unhappy. And that also means that you can’t make each other happy. This is good news! This means that you have the power to decide how you feel regardless of what your partner does, and it also means that you are not to blame if your partner gets upset with you.
Some might see this as a license to be “harsh” or “callous.” We have seen the exact opposite. When individuals in a couple begin to take ownership for their own feelings and their own experiences, the door swings open for limitless expressions of love and affection without conditions, without blaming and without attempts at manipulation.
We can show you how to make such a love relationship a reality for you and your partner.
Therefore, our second relationship advice principle is: Take ownership for your emotional experience, and allow your partner the opportunity to take ownership for his/hers. Are you still waiting to get all that you really want from your love relationship? Let us help you get the type of relationship you’ve always dreamed of. One of our strongest areas is facilitating total authenticity in communication, which we see as the absolute key to a deep and satisfying relationship.
In fact, the website chickperspective.com ran a survey on their website (124 respondents, 85% of whom were women) and found that when respondents were asked to rank the importance of “honesty and complete trust” in a relationship on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the most important, 87% answered with the number 5.
And yet, many of us have difficulty making this happen in our own relationships. On the same survey, when respondents were asked to: “Tell me how you feel about the communication process in your current (or most recent) relationship?”
- 30% responded, “It’s perfect. It’s very relaxed and open. My partner and I can talk about anything.”
- However, even more people (37%) responded, “It’s strained, and I don’t really know how that happened. It doesn’t seem to take much before we find ourselves fighting, sometimes over really simple things.”
- And 24% responded, “It’s impossible. It seems we never talk about anything but the necessities, and when we actually try to have a real conversation, we end up arguing or on completely different pages.”
This brings the total number who characterized their communication as “strained” or “impossible” to 61% – a clear majority. Moreover, when asked what they would like to change about the communication in their relationship, by far the most – 62% – said “openness.” (“Less judgmental” came in third.)
We can help you with this issue, and it doesn’t have to be painful.
Quite the contrary: It can be done playfully and with caring. For instance, our “Principles of Happy Negotiation,” (offered in the Couples Course), can provide you and your partner with an easy, meaningful and fun method of negotiating for what each of you wants from the other in the relationship.
Not surprisingly, our third relationship advice principle is: Prioritize authentic communication first and foremost.
These are the most basic tools to begin with. With other tools into which we delve in detail in our programs, you can truly create, with your lover, the relationship you’ve always wanted but might have been afraid to hope for.
Personal Stories: Building Positive Relationships
Couples Course gave me all I expected and more. I learned to peel away layers of amassed ‘stuff’ and, more importantly, learned the methods to continue doing so for the rest of my life. We were able to take risks because of the warm, loving and safe environment, and those risks brought us greater and more sustained intimacy than ever before. I am truly excited about the prospect of spending the rest of my life with my wife exploring and becoming more intimate every day. Thank you!
Mediator/Investor, New Jersey
It might seem trite to say that Couples Course saved our marriage, but here I am making that exact statement. In one brief week, we learned how to use powerful attitudinal shifts and practical techniques that have now become part of our marriage. It is now stronger, more energetic and more peaceful than we could ever have imagined.
I came to Couples Course in a good relationship. Through the exercises, we made it a better relationship. We take away tools to make it a great relationship. The session on happy negotiation alone was worth the price of the program. I am grateful to have been able to participate in a program so well thought out by people who know and can teach relationship skills, which anyone can adopt to their advantage.