This was first published on KSL.com
The question you wrote about last week might as well be about the two of us. My husband and I both come from dysfunctional families and didn’t learn how to do relationships the right way. We seem to constantly disappoint and frustrate each other, and we are fighting way too often. He is never happy with our intimacy, and I never feel my needs are important, and sex is one more chore. How can we learn to have a healthy relationship if we’ve never seen one?
Unfortunately, most of us grew up watching parents who didn’t know how to do relationships right, and they couldn’t teach us what they didn’t know. So most of us need some tools and skills to improve our marriages. The good news is, it is never too late to start educating yourself and doing things differently.
Almost all the people we work with say the same thing about their marriage. They don’t feel their needs are getting met. They usually feel unloved, unappreciated and unwanted. The interesting part is both partners, in the same marriage, say the same thing. They both feel unloved, yet they can’t seem to find a way to give love to each other.
We believe the problem is twofold: 1) Your fears make you incapable of giving real love to your spouse because they keep you focused on what you need, and 2) Your subconscious projections are in the way of you seeing what your spouse needs. Projections are the way you see the world through the lens of what your past experiences have taught you. This is not wrong, but these perspectives are not necessarily accurate or effective, either. They also mean you might have a tendency to love your spouse the way you want to be loved or were taught to love, not as your spouse needs or wants to be loved. You also may not know what you need to feel loved, or how to ask for what you need.
Your first job is to have awareness about these issues, figure out your core fears and values (and what makes you feel loved and safe) and accept the challenge to continually work on them, which is your main responsibility in creating a healthy relationship.
Here is a checklist for men and women with general guidelines of how to love your spouse the way they want or need to be loved:
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Kimberly Giles is the president of claritypointcoaching.com. She is the author of the book "Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness" and a life coach, speaker and people skills expert.
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These articles were originally published on KSL.COM
Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.