#062: Will it Take a Miracle to Save Your Relationship?
When things are bad between you and your partner it may feel like you need to pray for divine intervention–a miracle– to make things good again.
Don’t fret! And don’t give up! What you really need is a relationship strategy. A strategy that will help you see your partner and your issues with fresh eyes. A strategy so effective it will feel like a miracle.
Please allow me to share the relationship strategy I use with my clients. Soon you might view solutions to your relationship problems with more hope and increasing clarity.
First, let’s consider the current state of things:
How Long Has Your Relationship Suffered This Way?
By the time I see most couples, they are at a breaking point.
Some have a higher tolerance for suffering and will have waited years to come in.
Some have a much lower tolerance for suffering will seek therapy within the first 6 months of disconnect and emotional pain. It isn’t uncommon for partners to fit in either category.
According to national statistics, the average couple sufferers for nearly 6.7 years before sharing their problems with a therapist!
Still, I should say that, fortunately, most of the couples I work with do come to me within the first year of having serious issues in the relationship. And, because I specialize in affair recovery, I also often see couples during the immediate aftermath of infidelity. This is usually during the “crisis stage”, or the first weeks after finding out about an affair.
Does The Chaos In Your Relationship Make A Miracle Seem Like the Only Solution?
Chaos is the notion that things are not in order. It is losing the sense of control and predictability that used to make things feel easy, peaceful, and well-managed.
If your relationship is increasingly difficult, you may feel the resulting chaos in key parts of your life together.
- Communication stalls
- Intimacy fizzles
- Fidelity and trust break down
You don’t know what to expect when chaos takes over. You lose confidence in what you thought you knew about your relationship. You no longer trust how your partner will react to you.
Of course, this can happen on a variety of levels, but the main point is that it’s easy to feel ill-equipped and unable to see the root of the problem. Thus, you also find yourselves losing the ability to see a clear solution.
Many Couples Find Themselves Suffering this Way…
Consider partners we’ll call “Allison” & “Thomas”:
Allison and Thomas are a married couple with no children. They’ve been together for 7 years. Though their relationship was rough in the beginning, they moved past their early difficulties and stayed together.
However, in the past year or so, their old patterns of bickering and arguing have returned. Furthermore, within the past 6 months, they found that they avoid talking to each other simply to keep the peace.
Having gone on this way so long, Allison and Thomas found that they drifted so far apart that they feel as though they’ve lost their connection completely.
So many couples like Allison and Thomas come to couples therapy terrified, with their own cases of chaos and alienation in play. Everything they knew about their relationship is gone.
What about you and your partner?
- Maybe you used to be passionate about each other, your relationship and connecting. But now you’re not.
- Perhaps you knew how to heal after a fight. And now you don’t.
- Undoubtedly, you were once very involved in each other’s day. But now you’re living separate lives.
- Previously, you were capable of repairing your relationship and feeling close. And now? Now you’re slowly losing confidence that you’ll be able to fix this at all.
Chaos has come to your relationship. It’s morphed into, some scary new thing. You don’t like it and you don’t feel like you’re in control.
So, what’s next?
You’ll need to take action to keep chaos from coming any further between you.
Okay, Then… Is a Miracle Solution Really Possible?
Yes. It all starts with The MIRACLE QUESTION.
What’s that? Well, actually, it’s not my invention. The Miracle Question was developed in the 1970s by Insoo Kim Berg and Steve de Shazer, two of the founders of the well-respected therapy modality called Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT).
Many therapists use these questions, or similar variations, to help their clients imagine what a solution to their problem would look like. Many of my couples benefit from the exercise. Perhaps you can use it as well.
The Miracle Question (MQ) can provide a sense of order in the chaos; allowing you to better understand what it will take to make your relationship work.
Let’s get a clearer idea of how this is achieved.
First, I would ask you to sit with yourself for a moment. Inhale steadying, calming breaths. I would encourage you to allow your imagination to surface and consider the following:
After reading this blog post you go about your day. You finish work, run your errands, complete your calls, enjoy a meal. You do whatever you planned to do for the rest of the day. Then, as the day draws to a close, you get tired and go to bed.
And in the middle of the night, when you are sound asleep, a relationship miracle occurs. The problems between you and your partner are solved. Just (*snap) like that!
The Miracle Question Explored
Since the miracle happened overnight, you don’t know that your relationship is repaired. When you wake up the next morning, how will you discover the miraculous change? Imagine your post-miracle day bit by bit.
- What would be the first thing to indicate miracle must’ve happened?
- What else are you going to see, hear, or witness during the course of the day?
- What would you be doing, saying, feeling?
- What would your partner be doing, saying feeling?
You can simply imagine all of this or you can write it all down. You can also share it with your partner and even ask him or her to answer their own miracle question.
The primary objective is to listen to each other. Really hear what each of you considers to be a “miracle solution” for your relationship.
There are likely to be very little things, interactions, and moments included in one partner’s miracle that the other didn’t even think about.
The benefit of this exercise, in a word, is insight.
By conceiving your individual miracles as a couple and sharing your thoughts, your inner, psychological worlds are revealed in ways no other question or conversation might offer.
The Miracle Question Works!
Imagine building an entirely different kind of day!
Overall, the MQ is an attempt to help you and your spouse or partner set specific, actionable and doable goals. These are simple, small mental and behavioral changes you can make to help realize portions of your miracles as soon as the following day.
Here are some Miracle Question responses that stand out as particularly special relationship pearls I’ve heard over the years:
- “I’d wake up and not feel this knot in my stomach. I’d just feel I can breathe normally.”
- “I’d open my eyes and my wife will be smiling at me.”
- “I’d get a cute text during lunch saying how much he’s looking forward to coming home tonight.”
- “I’d come home in the evening and say, “My boss was a jerk again.” She will turn to me and say, “Tell me more… I can’t believe he said that! He’s a jerk and I totally get how this makes you frustrated.”
- “We would actually have a conversation about our sex life.”
- “I’ll initiate sex and won’t get rejected.”
- “She’ll say, “Sure! Let’s go out with your friends on Saturday. Where do you want to go?”
Pearls like these and those you’ll come up with are priceless.
They reveal what is relationally valuable to you. You become clearer about what makes you feel grounded in your relationship. And, if you share your answers, you get a have a unique opportunity to peer into your partner’s dreams. You learn what makes them feel grounded and secure.
When all said and done, you’ll likely experience a shift in attitude, even a bit of hope may start to inform the journey toward making your miracle solution come true. Eventually, you may even start to see that your relationship isn’t all chaos after all and start to take comfort in the miracle moments that you may have looked over in recent times.
To close, please let me know how this helped you see things clearly. Learning something new about what it will take to save, or simply enhance, your relationship is crucial for its survival. It is my hope that you both embrace the chance to contemplate and answer the Miracle Question fully.
Finally, thank you so much for reading and considering the information in this post. If you need more help or support please visit my pages regarding couples counseling and improved communication . Or contact me for a consultation.