Parable of Your Relationship and the 2 Dogs Who Are Killing It! (Fix Your Relationship!)
How to Fix Your Relationship
What Do Dogs Have To Do With Your Relationship?
by Darryl L. Mobley, Life Coach
Live Your Best Life! Newsletter
One Thing To Stop or Start
START FIGHTING… Earlier this year, I had brunch with a couple (husband & wife). They were having some troubles in their marriage and they wanted my perspective. So, we met at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. I had Shrimp & Grits with extra Andouille sausage – – if you’re interested. Delicious. Come visit and we’ll do the Snooze. Anywho…
This couple was really on the outs. They were so salty about each other that they would NOT sit next to each other. They couldn’t even fake it for the brunch. I had to share my side of the booth with the wife! (Fortunately for all concerned, she did not make a move on my shrimp & grits.)
But, they wanted to know if their relationship could be fixed.
So, I kicked things off by asking: “What’s going on?”
Here are some of the things I scribbled down while listening to them:
- They’d been married for about 20 years.
- They don’t talk with each other the way they did earlier in the relationship.
- They’re bored with each other.
- Their jobs leave them too exhausted to engage with each other.
- They keep checking their phones for work stuff during our brunch.
- They feel more like roommates than a couple.
- Their teenage kids are a source of conflict because of the amount of time they spend with them.
- They’re not connected.
- They are thinking that divorce is where they should go next.
After a longggggg time with both of them sharing “What’s going on?” with me, the husband asked if he could record me. (I said, “As long as you send me a copy.”) He then asked:
“What do you think?” [As in, “Can we fix our relationship?“]
I launched with, “Aye! You two have not come to grips with the fight going on inside your relationship.”
“You think the fight is between the two of you. It is not. The fight is best represented as a fight between two enormous dogs inside your relationship.”
“One of the dogs in your relationship is Positive – full of a desire for harmony, balance, happiness, focused on child-rearing, kindness, selflessness, family-oriented, little to no ego, willing to quickly forgive and forget, and love.”
“The other dog in your relationship is Negative – full of selfishness/is self-centered, spontaneity, passionate, attacks, very focused on personal needs, is demanding, plans/schemes, likes to win, and is quick to argue.”
The wife asked: “So, our Negative dog is winning?
My reply: “Nope.”
The husband and the wife looked at me with stunned looks on their faces as if to say:
I said, “Your Positive dog is winning the fight. And, it’s not even close!”
“That’s why your relationship is on the rocks.”
“You have both fallen into the habit of only feeding the Positive dog. You over-feed the Positive dog when you lavish ALL of your emotional energies on your teenagers… You two over-feed the Positive dog by being so averse to conflict that you have developed the habit of never honestly discussing anything of a difficult nature…”
“You two over-feed the Positive dog in that when one of you offends the other, you quickly and always forgive and forget… You two are over-feeding the Positive dog in that you haven’t focused enough on what the two of you need as a couple… You two over-feed the Positive dog in that neither of you has focused enough on what the other needs…”
“Neither of you is the priority of the other.”
“In reality, you are not feeding your relationship’s Negative dog at all.”
“That’s a problem because your relationship’s Negative dog has many characteristics that are necessary if you wish to have a happy, fulfilling, and enduring relationship. Toughness. Willingness to deal with obstacles. Commitment to winning. Focus on the goal. Ability to prioritize.”
“You have put everything else in your lives (kids, work, hobbies, social media…) ahead of your life as a couple and ahead of each other as individuals.”
“I’m almost stunned that you cooperated enough to have kids!” 😉
“I understand your frustration with a relationship that you once thought was heaven on earth. After 20 years of the two of you only feeding your relationship’s Positive dog – – developing bad relationship habits – – it’s no wonder that you find yourself one step from divorcing.”
The husband’s mouth was wide open. The wife’s mouth was pressed shut so hard that her mouth area had visible lines from the stress. (In times like these, my Portuguese professor would say to the class, “Calma Gente.”)
I continued, “You need to feed both your relationship’s Negative dog AND the Positive dog. Make it a fair fight between the two. When the two dogs are fighting fairly, your relationship wins.”
You’re over-feeding the Positive dog and not feeding the Negative dog. And, that’s killing your relationship.
Here are 7 ways to feed your Negative dog so that the fight inside your relationship is fair and there is no internal imbalance. This will help you fix your relationship:
2. Understand Your Spouse’s Goals and Develop a Plan to Support Pursuit of His/Her Goals. Few things will keep you closer to your spouse than making it your goal to fully understand his/her life goals… and then working with her/him on developing a plan that leads to accomplishment of those goals.
3. Focus on Winning as a Couple Each Day. Those who are in great marriages/relationships focus on every single day they have together. And they want to make each day together the best it can be. They want the relationship to win each day. No days off!
4. Be Selfish…as a Couple. Leave your teens out of this. Answer this question: What do we (as a couple) need to do in order for our team (the two of you) to win? Develop a list. Do the list.
5. Fight for your Future. The Negative dog is by nature, tough. You need that toughness in order to fight through to your relationship high ground. The best way to live your best life and have a fantastic relationship, is to stay focused on your future as a couple. When both of you are focused on the future, you communicate better… you both make better decisions. Both of you will then evaluate options based on how well they move you towards your key relationship, personal, and professional goals.
6. Fix Problems. You will never have a fundamentally happy marriage/relationship until and unless you both develop the habit of immediately focusing – when faced with challenges or issues – on solutions to the challenges or issues. Avoidance is often destructive.
7. Be Positive. Happiness. Unhappiness. Positivity. Negativity. Productive Discussions. Arguments. “We are in this together” Calm. The Stress of Avoidance. These are choices. In the best marriages there is a conscious decision by both people to choose happiness and positivity.
By feeding both dogs, they both win. When they both win, your relationship wins. That means relationship joy.
Over the next several issues of my Newsletter I will explore how you can apply The Parable of the Two Dogs in your Relationships, Parenting, Physical Health, Habits, Mental Health, Family Health, Mindset, Personal Care, Goal Setting & Goal Getting… Buckle up!
Before Your Head Hits The Pillow Tonight
Jot down – before your head hits the pillow tonight – those areas in your relationship where you haven’t given enough attention. After you have them on paper, decide which of the seven ways shown above you will engage once you wake up tomorrow.
A Book I’m Reading
I guess this counts as reading it. I wrote and developed the 10-Day Relationship Turnaround Program: How To Stop The Madness and Create Fantastic Love. Get ready for wonderful changes in your love life. You get the 10-Day Relationship Turnaround Program’s detailed Action Guidebook plus Four (4) Audio CDs plus the 10 Day Relationship Turnaround Journal that lead you and your mate step-by-step to the relationship of your dreams in just 10 days. That’s fast!
Get the program HERE. Give it a try and let me know your take.
A Quote I’m Embracing
“Don’t Stop When You Get Tired. Stop When You’re Done.” There can be no other way if you wish to live your best life. Join me in this focus. Together, we win.
A Worldview I’m Challenging
I challenge the oft promoted belief that there is a super-powerful “they” that is working against us, blunting our attempts at success. Here’s what I know: If I do everything I can do to reach my goals, and if I don’t give up in pursuit of my goals, and if I stay focused on continual improvement – – that will be enough. That’s the best way to live, I think. Live to your goals. Love to your dreams. Do the work.
Something to Sing
So…You’re committed to taking your relationship to new levels. You want to lift your love up to the mountain high. Sounds good. Check out the inimitable Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes with Up Where We Belong. I remember when I first saw Joe Cocker hoarsely singing this song. His movements and facial… Watch the entire video and you’ll understand. “Some hang onto use to be. Live their lives looking behind. The road is long. But we climb a step every day. Love lifts us up where we belong.” I’m always trying to program myself to be positive. How about you?
Freebie of the Week
Click HERE to get my very valuable, but totally free, special Report: “40 Things Your Kids Must Know Before They Leave Home.” It’s wild out there. Make sure they know these 40 important things.
• How To Achieve Life Mastery: 39 Areas That Lead You To A Fantastic Life.
• Don’t Let The Old Man (or Old Woman) Into Your Life!
• Are You Stuck? Want to Get Unstuck?
• Are Negative Words Destroying You, Your Relationships, Your Kids?
• Here’s What Great Marriages Have That Horrible Marriages Don’t.
• How To Get Work-Life Balance in 14 Easy Steps.
• You Cannot Fail If You Do This.
• Why Every Father Should Write A Letter To His Daughters. Now!
• Ultimate Guide: 33 Tips For Getting Along With Your Adult Kids.
• 18 Things You Should Do NOW as the CoronaVirus Rages.
• 11 Ways Parents Can Survive Their Kid Going Off to College. The Power of a Dad’s Hug.
Got a question? Call Me right now with your question at 1-833-902-6224. I just might answer. If not, leave me your question or request. Or send me your message by CLICKING HERE.
Want Coach Mobley to Speak at your Event? Click HERE.
Click HERE ONLY IF YOU REALLY WANT TO LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE!
Got this Newsletter from a friend? Get your own free subscription by using the form HERE. Join nearly 1 million readers and get exclusive content, giveaways, and more so that you can Live Your Best Life!
Darryl L. Mobley
Copyright. Darryl L. Mobley. All rights reserved.