Have you ever considered a relationship could be modeled on sports? Being South African, maybe I have seen too many rugby tackles in my life.
Well, think about it. If you’re playing golf and you can’t hit the ball far enough, you get a coach to help you with your technique. If you play rugby, soccer, football or tennis, there are rules to follow. There’s a code of conduct for the team; you know what you’re meant to do for success and you throw your all into it.
When you stuff up, your coach gives you feedback. You seek that feedback because you want to do a good job. If you’ve been in a bad team or you’ve had poor role models or a bad coach, you’re pleased when you find better ones.
Why is it then that we enter into relationships with none of that wisdom? We assume that it will all go wonderfully well and it does, for the first year or two, when we are blinded by lust. But sadly, when it starts to go pear-shaped, we yell, cry, complain and sometimes separate.
Imagine if, when we entered relationships, we had a rule book to follow and a coach to give us feedback. Well, we do. We have each other.
Each relationship is unique. I wonder how much pain we would save ourselves, if only we (while we still liked each other), set up a code of conduct, talked about the rules that will make each of us happy (it’s not like there aren’t enough internet articles to help us out) and even went to a coach now and then to get some guidance.
We could make sure our technique (in every sense) is working. We could learn how to communicate effectively about our differences. We could learn how to be present and listen to the important things our partner has to say.
Maybe we’d learn to listen instead of being distracted by TV, social media, phones and the butterfly that just flew past, because that’s what our partner needs.
Imagine if we could (yeah, me too) be open to feedback. Imagine if we were prepared to change a few things and were prepared to let go of being ‘right’ about our point of view.
We all know what it looks like when a player is determined to be ‘right’ on the sports field. No one wants to be that person.
Suzanne Loubris is a relationships counsellor and organisational psychologist. You’ll find her at Leah Dique & Associates in Nambour, or visit behaviourthatworks.com.