The Balance of Power in Your Relationship: Practicing Relationship Yoga

Creating Balance In A RelationshipI was visiting with a friend recently. She’s checking out yoga for the first time. I asked her how she likes it, and her feedback was mostly positive.

Except for one area.

“I had no idea I was so bad at balance,” she said. “Seriously, do you know how many times I’ve almost fallen on my butt in front of everyone?!”

It’s true. Balance is one of the hardest things – in yoga and in life. In life, balance allows you to achieve a higher quality of life.

Author and speaker Susan Piver has this to say about balance in yoga. “Is it ever possible to be balanced? I don’t think that it is, because then you’d have to freeze in that position. ‘Got it. Now don’t move.’”[1]

Maybe you can hold a yoga pose for a few deep breaths, but you can’t live your life in that pose. You’ll have to move and walk and do stuff. And as soon as you engage in life, balance is broken.

Literally, every step you take, you’re working to maintain enough balance to avoid “falling on your butt.”

Which makes me think about relationships. Do things ever really level out into a steady rhythm?

One of the most common relationship issues I hear about is the struggle for balance of power. Who calls the shots? Is it even possible to achieve balance?

I think it is . . . if you change your definition of balance.

It’s normal for power to shift back and forth between you and your guy. In that sense, you’ll never have a balanced relationship. At least not for long.

There may be rare moments when you’re both complete equals, but as soon as something happens, one of you takes the lead. That’s healthy.

But things get dicey when one of you ends up with the upper hand all the time.

As neuroscientist Berit Brogaard points out, “the controller will lose respect and admiration for the person who puts up with them, and the follower will build resentment.”[2]

Yeah, that’s not going to create a lot of warm fuzzies. So let’s change our definition of balance.

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Use Transformational Conversations to Deepen Your Relationship

How To Deepen Your RelationshipHere’s something you may have noticed about guys:

You can’t get a word in edgewise when you first start dating…

And then you can’t get a word out of him for the next 20 years.

Men get that they have to communicate to make a woman fall in love.

But it’s almost as if they use up their entire supply of words in the first month of dating.

They’ve wooed you and won you, and now they can relax into being who they really are.

Which, in many cases, means someone who sees words as practical tools rather than a source of pleasure.

The same probably isn’t true for you.

For most women and some men, talking is pleasurable. It feels good. It helps you feel connected. It lifts your spirit and recharges your soul.

So it can feel awful when the one you love only talks to you when there’s something necessary to discuss.

It’s a trap so many couples fall into. The longer they’re together, the less they talk to each other.

Communication is primarily practical, focusing on getting life organized: who’s going to pick up the kids, what’s happening this weekend, when is the car due for a service, etc.

How can you start talking again, like you did when you were dating?

How can you have the kind of conversation that keeps you up until the wee hours of the night, drunk on each other’s words?

Some strategies are obvious:

  • Make time for talking. If you switch the television on as soon as you get home and pick up your phone the minute you sit down, the chances of having a good conversation are slim. Give yourselves the daily gift of 15 minutes of non-digital peace.
  • Create openings for good conversations. Master the art of asking intriguing questions, ones that hook his interest. By now, you know which questions rarely elicit a reply (“Hi, honey, how was your day?”) and which questions fire him up (“Who do you think will win the playoffs?”). Get him talking, even if the subject isn’t one that excites you.
  • Listen. If you’re not listening, he’ll stop talking. We all have a gut instinct that tells us when someone’s not paying attention. It may be a great timesaver to do the dishes and tidy up while you’re having a chat, but he may perceive multitasking as a sign you’re not really interested in what he has to say.

There’s another strategy, though, that I find exciting.

It involves creating the space for transformational conversations.

These are conversations that leave you changed. You see something as a result of that conversation you never saw before. You understand him or yourself in a completely different way. The way you look at the world shifts.

Chances are, you had transformational conversations in the beginning of your relationship, as you shared your thoughts and beliefs about the world and the kind of lives you wanted to live.

By now you assume you know all that about each other. You don’t have to ask each other what you believe and what you want, because you assume you know the answers.

But here’s the key:

None of us know our partners as well as we think.

Our partners ALWAYS have the capacity to surprise us, enlighten us, and jolt us out of complacency.

And transformational conversations are one tool to do that.

So how do you have a transformational conversation?

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5 Relationship Myths That Make People Miserable

Relationship MythsHave you ever fallen prey to a widely-held misconception?

Here’s a completely harmless example: shaving makes hair thicker.

This old wives’ tale has been around for a long time, but there’s no truth in it.[1] Shaving can make hair look thicker. But shaving (or waxing) won’t actually make hair grow in fuller than it was before.

If you’ve ever held off removing hair for fear it would come back with a vengeance, the worst you suffered was some stubble. Not ideal, but not the end of the world.

But there are other myths that can really mess with important areas of your life. Like your love life.

But let’s back up a step. There are some commonly held beliefs that have the potential to wreck your relationships before it even gets off the ground. Buy into these lies, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Fortunately, they’re easy to identify and disarm.

In fact, as soon as you see them for what they are, the power of these myths will be broken. Let’s tackle these five relationship lies together.

Myth #1: Relationships are hard.

Relationships are not hard. You find someone you have stuff in common with, invest time and effort, and a bond develops. It’s not complex. It’s not even difficult.

Think about it. If relationships required special skills, how would people of all intelligence levels, all backgrounds, all socioeconomic groups, and all cultures find ways to succeed in them?

Relationships themselves are not hard. But building a beautiful relationship that is based on trust and commitment is hard. It takes commitment from two people over a long period of time.

Do you want true intimacy? Then yes, you have to put in the time. You have to commit the effort. There’s no other way.

But it’s not the relationship that is hard.  Instead, think of it like a work of art. It’s a beautiful process that unfolds over time. And the best artists enjoy their work, not just the end result.

Myth #2: Men can’t be trusted.

There’s zero connection between gender and a trustworthy character. While it’s not uncommon for women (and men) to claim the other is less than trustworthy, that’s a bunch of bunk.

The truth is there are people of all kinds who can’t be trusted . . . and there are people of all kinds who CAN be trusted. It’s not about gender. It’s about the individual’s values.

If you make sweeping judgments about men, the resulting bias will cause you to misinterpret and reject the honest claims of the good men who find their way into your life.

Myth #3: Relationships get better when you fix them.
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Watch Out for Relationship Burnout

avoiding relationship burnoutWhen you want something—a relationship, a job, a goal—you put your all into it.

You don’t stop. You keep going until you’ve got what you wanted.

That should be good, right? It means you’re focused. Dedicated. An achiever.

But it also puts you in danger.

Working too hard on anything puts you at risk of burnout. And that includes relationships.

Relationship burnout happens when you put 110% into your love life.

You’re so focused on getting a date or strengthening your relationship that you miss the big picture. Your world revolves around your love life. If you’re feeling close and connected, you want to feel even closer and more connected. If you’re going through a rough patch, your relationship stays on your mind until you’ve figured out how to fix it.

And why not?

Surely relationships deserve that kind of attention.

If you love someone, you want to give him everything. If you don’t have someone yet, then surely you shouldn’t rest until you do.

But a funny thing happens when you focus on something to the exclusion of everything else:

avoiding relationship burnout

You start to hate it.

Even if it’s something you love, it consumes your attention until it becomes a source of great frustration.

A friend of mine never does online dating for more than a few months at a time. She says that she starts to hate it if she does it for any longer. Instead of seeing it as something fun, it becomes a chore. That resentment starts to bleed through into how she responds to the men who contact her.

So, for their sake as well as hers, she keeps her dips into the online dating pool short and sweet.

When I suggest this approach to other women, they counter it with, “But what if I miss out on someone great because I’m not online?”

It’s true. If you take a break—whether it’s a break from online dating or a break from an intense relationship—you do run the risk of missing out.

You might miss out on some extra fun you might have had otherwise.

But it’s worth it, and here’s why.

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