With February being the month of romantic love, I wanted to write about some common challenges in relationship and how to overcome them.

  • Conflicting Wants – Sometimes couples struggle with wanting different things. You want to live in the country; your partner wants to live in the city. You want a child; your partner wants to travel. You want a Porsche and your partner wants an SUV.

Solution: Talk about the things you want and try to find a way to have both. You live in the city with a country home for weekends. You have a child and travel as a family. You flip a coin and buy your vehicle this year with the understanding that the next time a vehicle is purchased, it will be your partner’s turn. If you absolutely must choose one and not the other, see if there is a choice that could be satisfying for both of you—a house in the suburbs, getting a dog, and buying a sedan, perhaps.

  • Different Values – there are many values in the world and sometimes couples struggle with having different values or valuing different ones at different times in different circumstances. I remember when my husband and I had this occur. We both valued family loyalty and honesty. In a situation involving our children, I prioritized honesty and he prioritized family loyalty, creating conflict, not only for us but for our children, too.

Solution: Discuss your values and why one is floating to the top for you in the situation. Explain how you are see the situation. Do not try to make your partner wrong. Know that a value judgement is like an opinion—there are no rights and wrongs, they are just the way you view the world. There is a lot of room for differing values. The idea is to make space for the possibility that you both can be right.

  • Trusting Your Partner for the Wrong Things – couples sometimes trust their partners to be the person they want them to be instead of the person they are, creating tension for both of them. At the root of this is usually expectations you either fail to communicate or your partner isn’t interested in meeting.

Solution: Take the Unconditional Trust Challenge.

  • Incompatible Need-Strength Profiles – All of us are born with five basic human needs—safety & security, connection, significance, freedom and joy. Each person has their own need-strength profile, where certain needs are stronger than others. In addition, you may have a particular need that has been neglected or frustrated for some time causing you to prioritize its satisfaction even if it isn’t one of your higher needs. An example of this incompatibility might be when you are prioritizing connection and your partner is prioritizing freedom. This can strain a relationship.

Solution: Understand about their need-strengths and know that it is your responsibility to get your needs met, not your partners. If you are trying to meet a need and your partner isn’t interested, you can find someone else to meet that need with in a way that doesn’t threaten the relationship. If you want connection, hang out with a friend, visit your family or make a call to someone you haven’t talked with in a while.

  • Speaking the Wrong Love Language – Gary Chapman wrote about individuals having their own love language that they favor. This language speaks to behaviors that most communicate love to you. The five love languages are: quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, physical touch and gifting. When couples have different love languages, they could be demonstrating their love in a way their partner doesn’t understand.

Solution: Take the assessment, read the book and learn to speak each other’s love languages.

  • Outside Threats – Sometimes a couple’s relationship is threatened by outside threats, people and things outside the relationship that one or both are prioritizing over their relationship.

Solution: Recognize when it’s happening and if your relationship is important to you, consider prioritizing what the relationship needs over your own individual needs.

If you are struggling with one of these issues in your relationship and you’d like some help, you don’t need your partner to come too. Contact Kim to see if coaching could help you.

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