There's no reason why your love relationship can't be all that you've ever dreamed of. Imagine that you and your partner are so connected that you never again have to worry about the relationship falling apart, so it becomes synonymous with happiness....
But is it really possible? Can any two people create and maintain a great relationship? You may not think so, because in your search for love, you've only met with failure and disappointment. In fact, if you're like a lot of my friends and patients, you may have given up completely.
Things Don't Have To Be This Way
You may have come to expect that any love relationship you have will end up being quite painful -- nothing will ever change and you'll never get what you really need. It would be really sad for you to go through life with this attitude, because things don't have to be this way.
So, you've reached a fork in the road. You can continue to head down the path you're on, which promises to be easy because your inertia is already pushing you in this direction. You won't have to make any changes whatsoever. The problem, though, is that the old way will be tantamount to a lifetime filled with frustrating relationships and bad choices. But, hey, it will be easy, so many of you will just keep floating down this path ... complaining all the way.
There's Another Route You Can Take
But there's another route you can take. However, a journey down this avenue promises to be much harder and perhaps slower going. Yet when you've reached the end, the rewards could be tremendous. It's just that the process to get there will require much more effort on your part. This path will also challenge you to uncover the real issues in your relationship -- some of which, I'm sure, you'd rather not even think about.
What will your decision be? Take a few moments to think about this, because you may not make a more important choice in your life. Will it be more of the same or a change for the better? Will you take the easy way out, or will you make the commitment to do some hard work?
If you've chosen the first way -- the easier route -- then you might as well stop reading right now. You're on the path of least resistance, and you have no desire to find out what really makes you tick.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
But if, in fact, you've chosen the second path -- the longer and harder route -- you've just entered my office and are willing to engage in the process of relationship therapy. You're going to learn to understand your relationships and partners in an entirely different way. You'll be giving yourself a chance to change what you've been doing for many years. You're going to see what it really takes to make a love relationship work for you. Your experiences in life and love can only improve. And your eyes will be opened to a happy relationship -- one you thought could only exist in your dreams.
What Is Relationship Therapy?
If relationship therapy is the best choice for allowing you to achieve fulfillment and peace in your life, then exactly what is this process? Are you destined to spend numerous hours on a psychiatrist's couch trying to figure out where you went wrong in a broken relationship? The answer to this question is "not necessarily" although if the pain or unhappiness is too severe, you may require actual sessions with a trained therapist. Hopefully, by looking at your relationship in a different way (as outlined in the rest of this book), you'll be able to acquire the skills you need to become your own relationship therapist.
By this I mean that you'll have the ability to self-correct. You'll learn how to eliminate old behaviors that cause things to fall apart! This is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself. Wouldn't it be nice to say, "I'm trying to defeat myself again, but now I can change this course by myself"? You may never again feel the need to say, "I can't believe I did that!"
The best part is that you will have done it yourself. After all, even if you go into real talk therapy, the goal should always be to eventually become your own master at being happy. If a licensed therapist ever tells you otherwise -- that relationship therapy should be a process with no end in sight or that it will take a lifetime to figure out your problems -- then that person either wants a lifelong customer or is simply misguided in their approach. My definition of relationship therapy doesn't mean "for the rest of your life."
Developing New & Productive Coping Skills
Therefore, the underlying theme that permeates this principle is:
Relationship therapy is the process of learning crucial relationship concepts and then understanding the unconscious reasons why we follow certain negative patterns in life and in our love relationships. After we've come to this realization, we can then develop new and productive coping skills.
As you can see from this definition, I believe that a lot of what we do on a day-to-day basis is unconscious and automatic -- stemming from reasons that we usually don't understand. If we're lucky and have had enough positive life experiences throughout our childhood and subsequent adult relationships, then these automatic ways of coping may serve us well. Our marriage succeeds, we choose compatible and stable life partners, we have an inherent sense of worth and stability, people like us, and we move forward and grow.
If, however, the past was filled with disappointment, unrealized potential, or examples of unsatisfying relationships, then we'll most likely continue to live out this cycle of defeating actions. Even if we intellectually realize that this pattern is harmful, we'll continue to do what we know! So any therapy-whether it's done with an actual therapist or by reading a book must have the goal of understanding at its roots. We can then change these automatic negative behaviors into newly formed positive actions that will enhance our relationships.
©2001. Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hay House, Inc. www.hayhouse.com
This article is excerpted from:
A Relationship For A Lifetime: Everything You Need To Know To Create A Love That Lasts
by Kelly E. Johnson, M.D.
A book on everything you need to know to create a love that lasts for a lifetime. It's therapy without having to go to the office. You can create the relationship of your dreams, if you do the work to become your own relationship expert.
About the Author
Kelly E. Johnson, M.D., the author of A Relationship for a Lifetime and Relationship Problem Solver, is a nationally recognized psychiatrist and relationship therapist. He has extensive media experience, having appeared regularly on television shows such as The Jenny Jones Show and Montel as their “relationship expert.” Kelly’s radio show has been based in Chicago for the past decade and is geared toward helping people solve their most difficult relationship, health, and emotional problems. In addition to winning many broadcast awards, this show has consistently been rated the number-one radio talk show in the area. Since receiving his degree in psychiatry from Northwestern University, Dr. Johnson has maintained a private consultation practice.