I need to ask you a blunt question:

Is your relationship headed for Thriving or Suffering? Because it’s either one or the other.

Relationships are like gardens, they are organic.  They are either growing and flourishing, or dying and being taken over by bugs and weeds.

If you don’t know, in your gut and without question, that your relationship is headed towards thriving, I challenge you to take 5 minutes and read about some clients of mine and discover how their solution might help you.

This Story can change the course of your life!

You see, I’ve been doing life and relationship coaching for 20 years and written two books on relationships.  When people learn this about me, it is amazing the personal details they will share with me and ask for my advice…especially at a party after a couple drinks.

Meet Melody and Darrel – Can you Relate?

That is exactly the situation I was in when I met Melody and Darrel for the first time.  They told me that they were (recently) in love and ecstatic about it. It showed.

They were so excited to tell me about how special their connection was and how easy it was to talk to each other. It just felt so good to be in each others presence. Most importantly, they insisted, they both trusted each other to really hear the others concerns, which had them open their hearts more and more to one another. They were soul-mates.

Now, although I have heard this story hundreds of times, it always inspires me, even though I know that 9 times out of 10, a year from now they are going to be at each others throats…IF they make it that long.

In spite of that, I always get inspired and encourage them, because I know in my own life and the lives of my clients, that a relationship filled with Love, Teamwork, and Fun IS possible.

Unlikely? Sure. But possible? Absolutely!

Anyway, I liked them immediately and felt warm and fuzzy being near them in love.

Predictably, things changed a bit.

The next time I saw Darrel was at a birthday gathering, where he came up to me in a group of people. After some pleasantries, we “somehow” ended up in a corner alone in conversation, where I asked how Melody was doing.

“Oh yeah, it’s been a while hasn’t it” he said, as pieces of our initial conversation seemed to come back to him as we talked about it.  “She’s great and we’re great,” Darrel added hastily.

“That sounds … great.” I responded, mirroring his voice tone around the word “great,” then waited in silence, guessing that he had much more to share.

“Yeah,” he repeated, “great” and fell into a thoughtful silence of his own.  “You know,” he said after a pause, “I am remembering how happy Melody and I were when we met you. Not that we’re not happy now, but…relationships can get tricky…”

I assured him that I did know about that, and invited him to tell me his story.

So what was really going on?

It turns out that, through time, Darrel and Melody started getting on each other’s nerves. Instead of expecting the best from each other and giving each other the benefit of the doubt, they had started arguing with each other.

Their initial “spark” seemed nowhere to be found, and in its place was a much less pleasant reality:

Hurt – Suspicion, distrust, and resentment – Sometimes if felt suffocating.

Frustration – Increased numbers of arguments and negative thinking.

Disappointment – A lack of physical intimacy.

Tired – Less time and energy to spend together. Emotional detachment.

Stuck – Feeling like there are no options.

Self-Doubt – Feeling like there you must have some deficiency that is causing all this.

Darrel had tried “working on” the relationship with Melody.

He offered her reassurance, that he loved her and that he would change somehow. He was hoping and wishing the relationship would survive but he wasn’t so sure.

He was convinced that they were the only ones in the world this was happening to.

Darrel’s “duct tape” patches for the relationship — swallowing the sour pill and digging the hole deeper or smoothing things over and hoping the patch will hold — simply were not working.

I asked him what he wanted to do.

I told Darrel that this is not the kind of thing that gets better on its own.

“You don’t have the time to sit and wait for a miracle to happen, for Melody to suddenly change her mind or her personality” I told him.

The fact about relationships is that they are either headed towards thriving or towards suffering…

…and the tendency is towards suffering.

This is why I see so many broken relationships and many others staying together in miserable condition. They are suffering– devoid of teamwork, lacking intimacy, and certainly no fun.

“If you don’t change your path, Darrel, where are you two headed?” I exclaimed.

His blank stare told me my words were having an impact.  He knew this was the truth, however painful.

“The truth is, “I told him, “It’s not your fault.”

Our culture is messed up.  Too much change, differing values and expectations, inherited patterning.

We have no training.  We weren’t taught this in school, in fact, no one ever taught most of us how to deal with the challenges of modern relationships.

I implored with Darrel to take action now, before it is too late.  “Don’t let this all-too-common slide into suffering happen to you.”

He agreed, and added that if he doesn’t make it work with Melody, his secret dread was that he would just do it all again with the next person.

I gave him my card and he said he would certainly call me, he just needed to check in with her about it.

The next time I heard from Melody and Darrel was…

When Melody showed up in my office.

Their relationship had been moving slowly, but steadily downhill until she ended up here…devastated.

She woke up one day and realized that, despite everything she had tried, her once-blissful relationship had been shattered. Her whole world was turning upside down and she had no idea what to do. She felt like she was on the edge of a relationship abyss — with the idea of breakup relentlessly pulling her over.

On the one hand, she felt a searing heartache that felt like it was going to tear her apart. On the other, she felt numb and empty.

Melody was experiencing:

Numb – Sleepless nights, Loss of appetite then binge eating for comfort, massive depression.

Hopeless – Things appeared beyond repair. Felt like you are going over the same old arguments again and again. Trying to reason with the partner.  Having ineffective, nasty communication or long bouts of stony silence.  Lingering in poisonous unresolved conflicts.

Powerless – Partner is hard-headed. Self is not capable, like a deer in the headlights.  Nothing seems to get them to change.  Not believing they even care.  Feeling rejected, unloved and alone. Seeing your own part in the pushing away, even when really wanting closeness.

Trapped – Boxed in, social, financial, family, friends – Can’t leave.

Undeserving – You made this bed, now you have to lie in it.  You can’t do any better. utterly defeated.

I snapped her out of it.

After hearing Melody unload all this, I told her that I understood. It looks really bad. I see that she is scared and doesn’t know what to do.

Then I asked her, “What do you want to do? Do you want to save your relationship with Darrel or are you done and just asking for my blessing to end things?

She stared at me in shock.  She couldn’t believe I asked her that.  Melody cried and asked for an explanation.  I just looked at her with care.

As she took a moment to think about it, she remembered the hours she had spent discussing the issues with a friend who was convinced it was Darrel’s fault, not hers. She had come to believe that their history of pain, suffering and conflict seemed like an impossible burden to carry, and she would love to just put it all down and simply walk away.

But her heart felt broken at the thought of losing what they had and she didn’t really want to let it go.  She was just hopeless and couldn’t see how to make it work.

She realized that she owed it to herself and her future daughters and sons to change this pattern and break this cycle forever.

You need to act, and smart.

I asked her, “Is this pattern going to change on its own?”

She answered slowly, “No.”

“It’s time for you to commit to master the game of relationships” I told her. “I am here to help you, and this will happen fast, but it all relies on YOU and what YOU are going to do right this moment.

“Do you really want to dig deep and fix this once and for all? It’s simple really.  Make the choice that you will learn what you need to learn. Get on the path and take this course to Create Thriving in this and all of your partnerships.”

The Key To Thriving Is In Your Mindset – Choose to Thrive!

The people who fail at relationships, fail because they they never take the truly hard action it requires to truly thrive:

The action to change their mindset. To tap into the power they have to make a difference, to get on track, to get good at partnership.

The irony is that taking this action is actually a relief. It is the NOT choosing that causes the agony and despair.

Is this pattern going to change on its own?  No.

Melody made the choice.  YES!

I took her under my wing and taught her the essential steps on how to save her relationship with Darrel. Walking piece-by-piece through The 5 Keys of Thriving Partnership, Melody started to think clearly, make new choices, and feel confident about her new skills.

Day by day, step by step, in only a few months Melody was applying the tools and strategies I gave her.  She learned so much about herself and the tangible things she could do, even Darrel was unresponsive.  Bit by bit, the barriers were broken down.

She found words to describe what she REALLY wanted with Darrel. She recognized opportunities to build common ground with him and took them. Things started getting easier, momemtum began to build, and true hope started to dawn.

The small breakthroughs got bigger and stronger.  Melody was getting her old spark back … and Darrel was responding by getting inspired to give his best to her, to open his heart to her.

They started to talk, really talk, in a way they never really had before – sober, profound, not like the pollyanna way they had in the beginning, but really understanding and accepting each other and figuring out how to work together in a way that worked for both of them.

The floodgates opened.

It wasn’t like they no longer had any conflict, in fact, a really big one erupted when this new way of being was fresh for both of them. Melody had a total flip in the way she handled it compared to the past. She found herself doing things that at first seemed counter-intuitive in the face of his anger. She avoided her first instinct to beg, blame or be a victim, and to let go of the anger and frustration.

She knew she wasn’t going to sell herself out anymore so she felt safe.  She could actually listen to what he had to say and find a way forward — in partnership.

Their partnership became stronger and better than it ever was before!  Their problems literally became the solutions!

The next time I saw them together, they were staring at each other with renewed energy and love, hand in hand, laughing and smiling at each other…like a honeymoon couple!

And the Sex? Well, a gentleman never tells. And, the look in their eyes said it all.