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THE FIRST RELATIONSHIP MODEL

A reality check for improving your relationship of significance

The relationship of Adam and Eve has charmed people throughout the ages. The fascinating aspect of this story portrayed in the Bible is that it paints such a realistic picture of the relationships we experience still today.  This post is an excerpt from one of our guidebooks on building meaningful relationships.  Through this post COACHING FOR ENRICHMENT  aims to give you a taste of what it means to deepen, strengthen, and enrich your relationship with your significant other. It draws on the many commonalities with this story of Adam and Eve.

Whether you’re a newlywed, a happily married couple or partners with unresolved issues, this guide will trigger new and productive avenues of discovery. The guidebook contains four discussion sessions designed to be used in private or in groups and enjoy the benefit of sharing fresh, powerful insights with others in a safe, supportive environment.

Here is the first session from this guidebook:

THE STORY

In the beginning, there was a Garden, so perfect it was called paradise. Everything was wonderful. Easy, effortless, and enjoyable. “They were naked and knew no shame,” the Bible says. And they thought it would last forever.  And yet, they were different. Eve was not the ‘clone’ of Adam.  She was significantly different from the start, and yet they were in perfect harmony in their relationship.

THE RELATIONSHIP

Just like the start of your relationship. Connecting at the beginning was easy. You brought out the best in each other. You were fascinated with each other, and everything you did was interesting. There was passion, giving, and receiving. You weren’t asking each other to change. You each were at your best. You liked who you were, and your partner accepted you. The purpose of this relationship was to attach and set the stage for commitment.

Over time, as the demands of life and responsibilities intrude, you begin to push to the background your awareness of the qualities that were once so attractive. You begin to leave that wonderful feeling of being in your own garden together.

It’s often good to go back in time. Remember the endearing qualities that first attracted you to your partner. They should not be forgotten. This first session is about remembering your earliest connections and reclaiming your Eden.

REFLECTION

  • Write down what was so exciting when your relationship started and what traits initially attracted you to your partner?
  • In the falling-in-love stage when we first meet, similarities are magnified and differences are overlooked. There is a lot of nurturing, and special efforts are made to accommodate and please each other. How did that work for you in your relationship?
  • Reflect on what is the best that your partner brings out in you (and vice versa)? You brought out the best in the beginning. Can you still do it today and on what will you focus now? How do you give compliments, and how do you encourage the best in your loved one?
  • Let’s assume your partner may not be perfect and has some qualities or habits that are frustrating to you. Which of the differences have you learned to live with?
  • Sometimes we think our partner should be more like us and we work towards pushing them in that direction. Would you like to live with a clone of yourself? Why, or why not?  We are attracted by similarities. But we grow through differences. In fact those differences push us to grow.  How is that relevant in your relationship?

 EXERCISE: ‘Design a mate’

STEP I

Pick from any of the traits described below and even add a lot more. Go wild. Create a list of all the positive traits you wish for in your mate. Your dream partner can now be assembled like ordering a new car. It might be easiest to print this list so you can circle your favourites and add others.

Intelligent

Sensitive

Interesting

Fun-loving

Wants as many kids as I do

Great parent

Has many exciting interests

Attractive

Values good health

Enjoys their work

Likes animals

Honest

Loves me for who I am

Great sense of humour

Enjoys sex about as often as I do

Loves taking care of others

Gives me all the space I want

Sparkling conversationalist

Loves cooking for me

Enjoys the same foods, movies, music

Manages money well

Extroverted/fun in social situations

Introverted/likes quiet, romantic settings

Likes to exercise

Great travel companion

Has the same sense of adventure

Loves what they do professionally

Knows just how much to tease me

Trustworthy

Wants to talk when I do

Is willing to go to therapy (just in case)

Wow, what an ideal partner. And he or she is all yours. Just keep reading.

STEP II

Now that you have described your dream partner, let’s do Part II. Because we are all flawed creatures, we have to balance the picture. For every four positive traits identified above, you now need to include one irritant. Look at the list below and choose one characteristic for every four on your original list. What are you willing to live with in order to have all those juicy positives?  In this scenario, the negatives are fixed and pretty permanent.  Remember the ratio is 4:1. Count your list of positive traits and divide by 4 to see how many traits you need to select from the list below.

Insecure

Moody

Narcissistic

Passive-aggressive

Conflict-avoidant

Hairy back

Lazy

Not interested in sex when I am

Addicted to TV or video games

Doesn’t want same number of kids

Poor kisser

Loves eating junk foods

Messy

 

Forgets birthdays and anniversa­ries

Stingy

Jealous

Insecure

Really embarrassing fashion style

Nags

Chews with mouth open

Snores loud enough to scare animals

No sense of humour

Watches way too much TV

Rarely expresses emotions

Trapped in go-nowhere job and doesn’t mind it

Spends way over the budget

Interrupts and doesn’t listen well

Swears a lot

Tendency to be depressive

Too much overweight or under­weight

No common activities

Has unpleasant friends

Bad health

 

There you have it—a real live human being who is complex, annoying, loving, and full of contradictions.

STEP III

Apply these lists now to your significant other and see how they match up to your ‘ideal’ list.  Share these lists with each other.  Make a three-day commitment whereby you experiment with accepting your partner’s irritating traits. Increase your positive recognition of your partner’s plusses and overlook their negatives.

 

If you found this post interesting or of value, please give us feedback or contact us.  Book a session now to enhance your relationship or transform it from pain to pleasure.

Pieter – +27 (0)72 018 7921 / piet@paconsult.co.za

Marthie – +27 (0) 83 324 3869 / marthievw@telkomsa.net

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