Some things for you to know before we dive into this topic.
All that to say, I’ve got pretty deep expertise when it comes to understanding the dynamics of working with your significant other in business.
Quite regularly, I reflect, often with wry amusement, at my own interactions with my husband as well as my clients and their interactions with their significant others.
On the one hand I see us interacting oh so patiently, respectfully and politely with team members or clients. On the other hand, I experience and witness, the snaps, snarls and making the other wrong etc between the partners. Obviously, not all the time, but it’s my experience that when it comes to our significant other, the majority of us (myself included here), particularly when under stress, are less mindful about how we communicate.
When I ponder as to why I do this to Rob, allow Rob to do this to me or why our clients do this with one another, I am reminded of a perspective one of my mentors gave me which I’d previously never considered.
Her perspective was that Rob and I interacted like this with each other more than anyone else because we truly love each other.
I distinctly remember being completely flummoxed her statement. She continued, “Faye, Rob feels so safe with you that he can react and express how he’s REALLY feeling. With your team or your clients, he has to keep it together”.
So, was my mentor giving me permission to dish it out to Rob, unbridled, because that’s how I was REALLY feeling? Was she saying should I just sit back and allow Rob to talk to me however he jolly well pleased? Or inferring it was ok for me to allow my clients to speak to each other impatiently, disrespectfully or impolitely?
I think not.
In this blog, my assumption is you consider your life partner to be your soul mate. I certainly say that of Rob. I think Elizabeth Gilbert encapsulates the concept of a ‘Soul Mate’ best. She says this…
“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. A true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet because they tear down your walls and smack you awake”.
Here’s how I interpret what Ms Gilbert is saying into my own life.
The way I speak to Rob (not all the time, but particularly in times when I’m feeling stressed) is showing me my deep-down patterns of behaviour and communication which I’ve adopted from my interaction with my parents, siblings etc in my early childhood. The way I allow Rob to speak to me (also not all the time, but in times when he’s feeling stressed or under pressure) is showing me my deep-down patterns of relationship behaviours I have experienced at the hands of others and taken on as OK, since my early childhood.
In other words, Rob’s and my pattern of communication in our relationship is a mirror for me.
These patterns give me the opportunity to look at what is enabling me to be the best version of myself and what is disempowering me from being the best version of myself.
I’m eternally grateful for this intense form of personal development.
So what behaviours can we display to our partner which enables us to be best version of ourselves?
For example, let’s say your partner needs a lot of detail and information, and so s/he asks you a LOTS of questions. Even though their incessant questioning annoys you deeply, put your annoyance aside and recognise that they’re asking you for what they need. So, make sure you provide him or her every bit of information they want and recognise the benefit in it for you as you do so. Conversely, if your partner doesn’t need or appreciate that amount of information, don’t give it to him or her, simply because you prefer to have lots of information.
You are both right.
We all have our different perspective and sometimes, just sometimes, truly working through your different perspectives brings out options which neither of you had thought about. I quite often say of Rob and I that individually we are good, together we’re great. When we are aligned we are a power to be reckoned with. If there’s non-alignment, it simply means we haven’t found the best alternative yet.
Our soul mate is our mirror. Your partnership with your significant other is your gateway to rediscovering your best self. No other relationship, with the exception of the relationship you have with your children, has the power to more quickly bring you into alignment with your best self… provided you have the skills to leverage it for your benefit.
That’s why, in my opinion, having an external mentor, someone outside the relationship, to provide feedback and perspective is so incredibly valuable. Oftentimes we’re so attached to seeing things from our own perspective, and our communication habits when we’re under pressure or stressed so ingrained, that it’s impossible for us to see how our frustrations and our hurts could possibly be of benefit for us.
It’s in these moments, where just a couple of questions from myself or Rob, has, on way more than just a few occasions, saved a marriage from completely falling apart.
Your marriage may not be on the brink, but perhaps it’s not quite the dynamic, supportive, loving environment it once was. Maybe there’s friction and underlying tension. Or maybe you just simply don’t feel like you and your spouse are on the same page any more.
Whatever it may be, I invite you to reach out for a confidential conversation. Rob and I are here to work alongside you and your partner to create the lifestyle and relationship you’ve always wanted for you, and your family.
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