I recently met with some counselors, LMFTs (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists) and other professionals in the area of love, marriage and family relationships. We discussed something that is key to our success with clients—how the client is the expert of their life. As experts of their own lives, they already know what they need to do, the desired result of that action and, many times, they know the plan of action to get that result.
But these clients have barriers in the way of their plans. It’s important to figure out how to develop and execute a plan to get back to the place they want their relationship to be. And that’s where we experts come in. And it’s here that I’d like to provide some complimentary advice.
Below are simple tactics to help work on a broken relationship. Now, this isn’t advice like a friend would give that is well-intentioned yet with no thought or plan. This is professional, tried and tested advice to get to the right result in your relationship.
You Are the Expert
No one else understands or lives in your situation better than you. Everyone who is well-meaning or well-intentioned has not walked a mile in your shoes. They have no idea how scary this could be for you right now. Although someone may say they understand the consequences of your next move, they don’t have to live them; you do! This said, you are the expert of your life, your relationship and your situation. Your feelings and thoughts are valid, regardless of what others say or think about you. Being the expert also requires taking responsibility. Only you know how you have been treated or how bad your situation may truly be. You also understand the ramifications if you do the wrong thing or if you do nothing at all.
You deserve to be happy and have the best relationship possible. If you are married and the relationship is in a bad place, understand that you can make a choice to work to get the marriage back to where you want it to be. You can’t do it alone, but you can make a decision to work harder, more diligently and more consistently than ever to save and protect your marriage. Being the expert requires you to be responsible for your situation and doing your best to resolve it.
No One Can Give You Answers
Friends can give you advice. Counselors can give you steps. Coaches can ask powerful questions. No one can give you answers. You already have the answers.
As professional counselors, we focus on symptoms, instead of true causes of issues. If there is a financial issue, spending is likely a symptom. The issue could be someone just doesn’t manage money well. Another cause could be someone was deprived of things throughout their life and they are trying to fill a childhood void. But the important thing to note is that no one else really knows what is going on deep inside of you—but you.
You are the experts, so you have the answers.
Sometimes those answeres are covered in pain, fear, lack of self-esteem or abandonment issues. Professional counselors and therapist can help you get to the answer sometimes, but if that’s not an option, take a moment to look at yourself and what is at the core of your issues. Be honest and lay out the core issues. Address the core issues; and unlock the answers. Know that the symptoms leave once the disease is cured.
Find the Breakthrough
Here’s where good relationship advice is really, really bad. Advice allows no room for a breakthrough. Fifty people can give you the same advice, yet it does not resonate, because those people don’t see it through your eyes. You have to come to the conclusion of the answer on your own. You have to be invested in making a change in your relationship to the point where YOU recognize the core issue and YOU make a decision to do something different about it (your answer).
As a coach, I can see the signs and I can “help” with a few simple steps, but I never like to offer pure advice or help in that fashion. But YOU have to arrive at that answer on your own.
Remember you can create change by being strategic and putting in the work. Be the expert of your life, find your answers and look for the breakthroughs. You can look forward to a better relationship.
BMWK, do you know the answers to your relationship problems?