Just like most things you are going to remodel, the first step is usually deciding what you want to keep and what needs to go. You decide together what parts you like and want to keep and what parts are seriously broken, not working, or you just don’t like anymore. Remodeling your relationship works in much the same way. In every couple there are going to be things that work, that you do well, or that just feel good. Knowing what those pieces are in your relationship that you want to keep is a critical step in the rebuilt process. If your having a hard time wondering what works or what are the good parts of your relationship, you can ask yourself this question: “What was it initially about your partner that you found so great that you ultimately decided to marry them?” These are usually a persons strengths.
Whatever is not working is what you will want to unplug from, demolish, and get rid of. You might even have some parts that you both agree are just so awful, that your going to get rid of them first, just so that you can see what things might look like with that ugly part of your relationship gone. These are usually your partner’s weaknesses.
Realize that most people remodel their relationship by just adding onto or building over what is already there that hasn’t been working. This is a little like trying to put frosting over a super burnt cake. It might look O.K. on the outside, but on the inside it is something that no matter how good it looks, is going to be awful.
So instead of just piling a bunch of new skills on top of your old broken down skills, we think of it more like you would when you see those professional home shows on television. They keep a few key items, then they take it down to the bare studs and floors carefully rebuilding from the foundation up. Getting rid of anything you know that doesn’t work, also opens up your ability to see any other issues or concerns that might have been covered up before.
Rebuilding your relationship works in many of the same ways. You can spend endless time, endless resources, and endless effort trying to force something to work right, and usually only end up being only raising your ability form zero to so-so.
When you of spend all that time, resources and effort trying to get yourself or your partner to make a weakness into a strength, guess what? Your using what is known as a “Weakness Based Approach” the name even sounds like a bad idea.
If you want to be super successful at remodeling your relationship changing your approach. Imagine a relationship based upon what your already good at and making it into something great. Basing your relationship your strengths, and not on your weaknesses is what is called using a “Strength Based” approach.
This is attractive to many folks because it makes a lot more sense to try and build upon the alive parts of your skill instead of fooling yourself into believing that you can revive the dead parts back into life!
Instead we work on what ever the good parts are that we can find in a couple no matter how small, we build upon that. We seek out the attributes that each partner brings to the relationship and seeks to turn something good into something great.
We all have attributes, some of which are our strengths, and we all have some things that we would not consider strengths. Some attributes are really strong while others are rather weak. Imagine a scale from 1 to 10 with one being very weak and a 10 being very strong.
Understanding the simple fact that it is just not realistic for all of our attributes to be rated at an 8 or a 9. That frankly the attributes that score an 8 or a 9 don’t really need much attention.
Our attention is focuses instead on strengthening the attributes that we are good at, turning a 5 into into an 8 or a 9 so that they offset our weaker attributes.
It is freeing to take a realistic look at our abilities and accepting the fact that trying to take a weakness or what we are calling a 2, and pull it all the way up to a strength usually results in only mediocre outcomes at best. Not to mention the endless amounts of time, resources, and energy to end up being an average 5 after all of that effort.
From those strength based places, we ask couples to do certain behaviors that build upon the good of a relationship, and in doing so, we restore trust, and put the “liking” back into the “loving” part of a relationship. Then we rebuild on these loving behaviors to restore and replace painful and hurtful behaviors with loving ones.
Story: Most relationships that are in trouble are like rose bushes that have gone wild and nobody has paid attention to them. Their branches have a lot of dead wood, and they are busy dealing with inflexible thorns, unnecessary growth and thorny rotted limbs.
How is it a good idea to try and use your weaknesses or the dead branches, to support all of the other alive parts of your rose bush?
We have found over and over again that couples that are living with concentration issues don’t waste time, energy and critical focus on the dead parts of each other’s rose bush.
Successful couples are busy pruning and trimming off all the dead weight and instead are focusing their efforts on the alive parts of the relationship that are still alive. In doing so we can conserve vital energy to put into the parts of the relationship that can still grow, and can be trained to support other living and alive parts of the relationship.
Ask yourself the question: “What Do I bring To This Relationship?”- What contributions do I make to this relationship, emotional, financial, physical or other? Our advice to you is forgot about trying to turn your weaknesses intro strengths or as we say “Why spend your whole life trying to turn a 2 into a 5?” Instead why not think about turning a 5 into a 10?”
Resist focusing on what you don’t bring. Let’s face it; it’s easier to turn something good into something great. And that's a lot faster, better, and easier that taking a lifetime, if you are lucky, to turn a real weakness into strength.
We hope you can see why we have seen such great results using this “Strength Based” approach to grow the good parts of relationships, and remodel way couples experience each other.