Last week, I shared an article on the topic of “What is a Power Couple?”
Some of you wrote in to share how eye-opening this was for you. Others told me they are longing to have this kind of connection in their lives.
You may be single and calling in love. You may already be in a great relationship, but you have the feeling it could be even more connected and fulfilling. Or perhaps you’ve been together a long time, and you feel like that “spark” got lost somewhere along the way.
The good news is, most relationships have the potential to become Power Couple relationships: connected, dynamic, intimate, and fun…
… If you are willing to get in there and do what it takes.
Remember, it’s a myth that relationships are just supposed to work.
It takes time & attentiveness to create the connection you want. But like any great investment – the returns will far outweigh what you put into it.
So without further ado, let’s talk about how to lay the foundation for your own Power Couple dynamic.
Men Want Teammates.
Women Want Soulmates.
(Secrets of Power Couples® Part 2)
“Would you rather be right? Or would you rather have the deeply connected relationship you want?”
My client Lara looked back at me, flabbergasted that I would be so direct.
For the past 10 minutes, she had been sharing all of her frustrations in her marriage. They had a great relationship, but she often felt like her husband George didn’t really listen to her. He worked a lot, and didn’t have much time to spend with the kids. They were both busy in their careers – which made it difficult for them to get enough quality time together as a couple.
In short, they just weren’t as connected as they once were.
I had shared a communication skill with her from the Secrets of Power Couples® method in our last session, but she mentioned she’d been too busy to try it out this week. When I dug deeper, she admitted that she was also a little annoyed that she had to be the one to make the change. Why couldn’t George initiate these kinds of things for once?
As I listened to her share, I could understand where she was coming from. However, I didn’t engage in the conversation the way a friend would. I didn’t agree or disagree. I simply observed, and tapped into the database of knowledge & experience I’d honed over the past 37 years working with couples around the world.
What I could see clearly from an outside perspective was three things:
- Lara thought she was making a real effort, but what she didn’t realize was that she was unconsciously attached to her stories about her husband and their relationship – which made it difficult for real change to happen.
- She had tried putting her 50% effort into rebuilding their connection, and when he didn’t meet her with the other 50%, she got frustrated and stopped trying.
- She was also unconsciously expecting George to show up as her soulmate – while he was desiring more of a teammate.
Let’s take these points one at a time.
The first point is the reason I asked the question that stopped Lara in her tracks.
“Would you rather be right, or have the relationship you ultimately want?”
Most people say, “Of course I’d rather have the relationship I want!”
But when it comes down to it, their actions tell a different story. They complain and blame (often with good reason). While they may get along for the most part, their anger and resentments often bubble up in the form of passive aggressive communication patterns, nit-picking, or thinking their partner “should” do something different. Others prefer to avoid conflict, so they push down any disagreements and resign themselves to the way things are. Over time, this causes them to move further and further away from each other until they no longer feel deeply connected.
They get so wrapped up in these stories and patterns that they lose sight of what they really want: a great relationship – whatever that means to them.
When I asked my client this question, she realized: she was unconsciously attached to being “right” about all of her husband’s shortcomings, and her stories about why things weren’t working. She was shocked to discover she felt this way. Tears came to her eyes because she realized that underneath all of this, she really missed him. She was longing to be close to the man she loved, but she couldn’t figure out how to do that, and still ask for what she wanted.
She said: “I’m done playing out this old movie. If my way was effective, it would have worked by now. I’m ready to do what it takes to make a change.”
I knew in that moment, the stage was set for a profound transformation.
That brought us to point two. I shared with Lara that what I observed her doing was something nine out of ten people do when they say they’re ready to work on their relationship. She was willing to put in 50% effort, and then she was waiting and expecting John to meet her halfway.
Makes sense, right? Isn’t that what people in healthy relationships do?
Maybe. But Power Couples approach things differently.
Power Couples know a secret that changes the game completely.
A great relationship isn’t 50/50. It’s 100/100. (And the first 100 starts with YOU.)
50/50 relationships are tit-for-tat. I do my half, and you’re expected to show up and do yours. If you don’t, then why should I bother?
This creates a certain dynamic that inevitably leads to breakdowns.
The exciting moment for all of us is when one person chooses to GO ALL IN. No more waiting for the other person to do anything. You show up with your 100% either way.
“That hardly seems fair,” Lara remarked.
“It’s not,” I agreed. “But fair doesn’t get you a great relationship. Are you willing to at least try this on for the next 30 days and see what happens? If you go ALL IN for 30 days with no expectation or pressure on George to do the same, and nothing in your relationship changes, then you can throw that idea out the window. Deal?”
“Yes, I said I was willing to do what it takes, and I meant it. Let’s give it a go,” she replied.
That brought us to the third and final point. I explained to Lara a key difference between the way most men think, versus how most women think.
Disclaimer: To facilitate this teaching, I am going to speak about men and women in binary terms. I will also make generalizations that are based primarily on my observations of tens of thousands of people over many decades. I understand that there are many shades of gray here – non-binary people, same-sex relationships, and unique qualities to each individual and relationship dynamic. Like Lara, I invite you to try on what I share, see what works for you, and discard the rest.
(Also, if you’re in a same-sex relationship, I find that the large majority of the time, one partner holds the more “masculine” energy in the dynamic, while the other brings more of the “feminine” side. So feel free to interchange the word “man” with masculine and the word “woman” with feminine if it serves you.)
“Men want teammates, and women want soulmates,” I explained.
I went on to share that the qualities and experience most women are looking for in a great relationship are those we might associate with a “soulmate.” We want a partner who is deeply loving. Someone who makes us feel cherished and appreciated. We want to communicate, and feel heard and understood. We want romance and fun.
Men want some of these things too. But more than anything, a quality that men are unconsciously seeking in a great partnership is a teammate. Someone who will be by their side, no matter what. Someone who will support them, believe in them, and go through thick & thin with them. They want to feel like your hero – and to know that you are always on their team.
Unfortunately, most couples end up feeling like they’re on different teams. They think that because they want different things, they must be on opposite sides. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Teammates may have disagreements. But ultimately, they want the same thing: to win the game. The same is true in relationships.
Over the weeks that followed, Lara went ALL IN on her relationship. She practiced the communication skills I’d taught her. At first, George was a little skeptical and wondered what was going on. But when he realized she was coming from an authentic place, he relaxed, and their dynamic began to change.
“I feel like I’m getting everything I wanted. That soulmate you talked about? George feels more and more like that person everyday. I think he always was, but we just got mired under so much history, old patterns and arguments that were piled up on top of our love.”
And this was just the beginning. These skills set the foundation for the great relationship Lara and George both deeply wanted. But to become a true Power Couple, there were many steps yet to take. Fortunately, they had a secret ingredient on their side…
Tune in next week for the third and final article in the Secrets of Power Couples® series: “The ‘Secret Ingredient’ That Turns Great Couples into Power Couples.”
And take a few minutes this week to journal on the following questions:
- What is the result you ultimately want in your relationship? If your relationship were a 10 out of 10 – or even an 8 out of 10 – what experience would you be having?
- Where are you attached to being right in your relationship? Where are you blaming, complaining, or thinking your partner “should” do something different, or be different?
- Are you willing to go ALL IN with your 100%? Why or why not?
P.S. If you want guidance and support to create your very own Power Couple dynamic, I’m hosting an exclusive and highly intimate Secrets of Power Couples® retreat in Jamaica in early 2024. Learn more and apply at www.SecretsofPowerCouples.com.