Life and relationships go through many stages in life.
Just as there are stages in life (infant, toddler, teen, etc.) there are also stages in relationships. The first 3-months (often the honeymoon stage) are not the same as a one-year plus. Years 7 – 10 years is a different stage again where the relationship often goes through a crisis and big life events like the birth of a child, a death in the family, a severe illness, moving for job reasons, a spiritual awakening … At each stage, we will be challenged and rewarded in some way.
We all can agree that life is rich in challenges, twists, and turns, opportunities. Even if we try to see the experience in a positive way and look at the benefits rather than the pain, we often have to re-negotiate with ourselves and with our life partner. It is our ability to adapt to the new demands that will allow us to enjoy our life experiences rather than fall victim to it. Re-negotiating is the conscious act of adapting to a changing life.
As holistic health care providers we talk about all the facets of health with our clients regularly. We often see people giving up and not re-negotiate anymore, so they grow frustrated, and their health suffers. Here are some common themes that we see our clients struggling to re-negotiate.
– Changing Lifestyle habits – Making dietary changes, an exercise routine, or sleeping habits.
– Change in the household dynamic – kids getting older and can take care of themselves more, kids growing up and leaving the nest, activity changes, rearranging the house to use the rooms differently…
– Sexual needs – After a baby’s birth, stressful times in life, and menopause are some of the various times we need to talk with our partner about our needs and theirs.
– Time spent together vs. apart – As we grow in life our needs will change and to include our partner, or not, in different activities that let us explore a deeper sense, of different aspects of ourselves.
Not all re-negotiations are the same.
– some re-negotiations happen rather naturally, they make sense, they feel good, and everyone involved is happy. When we moved to France Emma was the money maker while Burton was the at-home parent. We loved it, it was perfect for our situation, and everything flowed right into place.
– some need to be planned and timed properly. Our move from France to the US involved so many pieces that we had to organize ourselves to keep stress low and feel good about moving.
– some are very uncomfortable having been forced to happen. Sometimes Burton gets caught up with work, and doesn’t nurture the relationship like he should be, and Emma reminds him when she is fed up with it.
– some require gaining knowledge and experience to have it effectively. We are at a point in life where we can talk about what comes next after the kids and we need to research our “ideas” to talk about them clearly.
The keys we have found for a successful negotiation are:
1. Communication – Listen to what your partner is saying, really understand what their needs are, and what is not working to find real solutions to the current situation.
2. Make it win-win – Make sure the new agreement is not upsetting or taking away from the other in a way that is detrimental or uncomfortable.
3. Be willing to adapt – Be flexible and willing to change. Adjusting to the new agreement in place on a regular basis will require some effort. Habits can be hard to change, ask for support and offer support.
One thing we have found that helps incredibly is having a flexible nervous system – our specialty. A flexible nervous system has the capacity to adapt easily to changes in its environment. The nervous system can go into “freeze” mode when we have lost harmony with ourselves and our environment. When that happens, we help it back into growth and harmony. We love you and want the best for you, and that we all live in an amazing community.
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