This article was written by David Schroeder, a relationship counselor and coach, and republished with permission from YourTango
As a therapist and life transition coach, I’ve worked with many couples struggling with relationship issues. Most often, the issues revolve around ineffective communication, mistrust, the need for power and control, and the quest to be right.
In order to have a loving and thriving relationship, a couple needs to have a good energy flow and synergy. But it can be hard for people to know where to start when creating this type of relationship. But the 5 C’s can help when used as a guide.
They also offer opportunities to improve the level of respect and trust, and boost the feeling of being valued, understood, and supported in the relationship.
Here are the 5 C’s and how they can help cultivate a loving and thriving relationship.
Chemistry is the natural and mutual flow between each other. It’s not just about physical or sexual attraction.
A big part of chemistry is the desire to know more about the other person.
In this desire to know more, you are truthful with each other, being open, curious, accepting, and respectful as you interact together.
You acknowledge the connection and spark and allow it to unfold with honesty, openness, and willingness. You are also mindful to the possibilities the relationship offers, while being patient and attentive to the process of coming together.
What to watch out for: Focusing too much on expectations or outcomes. This disrupts the natural flow, energy, and synergy between the two of you.
Goals give our lives meaning and value. Developing shared direction and goals offers your relationship deeper meaning and connection. Unconditional love and conscious relationships allow for individual goals and needs, but assign equal importance to the value of shared desires.
What to watch out for: Be aware of not letting individual goals diminish common goals. Competing goals and directions create tension and conflict. The key is balancing the two.
This is what men and women really think about farting in relationships.
A relationship commitment is the agreement to love, be open, accepting, and faithful to your partner. The true intent of commitment is to create increased satisfaction, understanding, flexibility, connection, and choice.
It is the conscious choice to put your energy toward the relationship, not just yourself. Commitment is the willingness to give of the self, without losing the self in the commitment.
We choose to surrender to love. In this way, surrender is not about losing or giving in/up. This type of surrender helps us gain or benefit much more than we would lose or need to give up. Its intent is to compliment or enhance the self in relationship.
What to watch out for: Avoiding commitment because of fear. Committing can be difficult for some people because it can take you out of your comfort zone.
The following list can be reasons why a person can be fearful, avoiding and struggling with commitment.
• You perceive and believe the personal “self” will be threatened or intimidated because of the commitment.
• If one perceives and believes that making a commitment is risky and believes the sacrifice will result in losing more than will be gained.
• A perception and belief of loss of personal and/or professional freedom.
• If you need certainty, a commitment can seem like stepping into the unknown, creating uncertainty and a feeling of loss of control.
• Feeling of vulnerability, that my partner will discover my flaws and weakness, and not see me as good enough.
• A damaging experience from a past relationship. Where either you or your partner was traumatized, taken advantage of, rejected, betrayed or humiliated.
There are times in a relationship when one partner (intentionally or not) says or does something and that impacts the other in a negative or hurtful way.
We can be triggered by this and become reactive, defensive, or passive (which causes us to shut down).
When this happens, communication can get confusing, distorted, and misunderstood. A big part of effective communication is to stay aware—to respond, not react, and to seek to understand the other.
That means listening and seeking to understand, and asking questions for clarification so you can increase understanding.
Good communication enhances trust and connection. It also leads to more effective problem solving when conflict arises. To make that easier, be as clear as you can in your expression of needs and intentions. Try speaking in terms of “I” not so much “You.”
What to watch out for: Another cause of poor communication is assuming or expecting someone to be able to read your mind. This only leads to misunderstanding, confusion, mistrust, and conflict.
We often want to be heard more than to listen. The biggest communication problem is that we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. If we focus more on our reply, we’re not focused and listening to the other person so we won’t really understand them. We are more focused on them needing to understand us.
If you are too concerned with the relationship (i.e. don’t want to hurt their feelings or cause conflict) you will likely be more passive or passive aggressive in your expression. The aggressive communication approach is you win and your partner loses. The passive approach is you lose and your partner wins. Neither the aggressive or passive communication style is healthy or productive.
Thus relationship cooperation and consensus becomes an ongoing challenge.
Consensus is the result of a conscious and unconditional relationship.
It is about seeking the win-win outcome. Consensus keeps in mind the importance of both the goal and the relationship. It allows for mutual opinions and different ways of being through dialogue, negotiation, and compromise.
Consensus requires effective and respectful communication skills, flexibility, and openness to understand the others point of view, as well as while expressing your own view.
It requires the ability and willingness to find the common ground. Honoring your individual differences and working with your similarities helps build consensus.
What to watch out for: Consensus can become a struggle to achieve if the need to have power over someone or to the need to be right is dominant. Shared responsibility and accountability are key to creating consensus.
Relationships change and situations happen that can impact any of these C’s in unproductive ways. So being aware of that is vital. That awareness is an act of love, caring, and concern for the relationship and for the two of you within it.
Are you struggling with any of these 5 C’s in your relationship? Please contact David Schroeder, who offers life transition and relationship counseling and coaching session’s in-person, by phone or Skype. Visit his website at Transition Pathways. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength, a healthy and assertive way to help yourself and your relationship during difficult times.