When I was in my twenties, I thought getting to be with this woman Elena would make me happy. She was confident, cool, and independent and I was sure she was my ticket to happiness. And she was … for a while. A much shorter while than I would have liked.
But then later, there was Nancy who looked like Michelle Pfeiffer and I was blown away by her beauty. I was certain she would make me happy and I would be set if I could be with her. It lasted about 4 months and when it fell apart, I felt oddly indifferent about it.
Alongside my (constantly failing) pursuit of relational happiness, I was following another tried-and-true formula for happiness, one I really believe would deliver: complete my university degree, land a nice job and enjoy steady future advancement. During my time at university, I told myself this was the path to happiness, security and fulfillment, all the while feeling numb and disillusioned. I didn’t get how the “formula for happiness” felt so dead and decidedly not happy.
As I got older, I expanded my idea of what would make me happy in relationship. Now, I wasn’t just after beauty or fun or confidence, I figured I was more “serious” now and what would win the day was finding someone to create a whole life with, someone my age who was also ready to start a family.
I was stuck in a misunderstanding that plagues human beings everywhere: What I thought I wanted was not what I really wanted. The things I was convinced would make me happy didn’t make me happy once I got them.
In relationship, this misunderstanding plays out every day, and it comes at a real cost to you. To illustrate, consider this. How much effort have you spent in your relationship trying to get your partner to give you what you want, such as …
- Listen to you?
- Be more present?
- Tell you the truth?
- Have more sex with you?
- Stop criticizing you?
- Communicate effectively?
Has it made you happy? Has it given you what you want?
If yes, more power to you. If not, it’s probably because what you think you want isn’t really what you want. Hence, your efforts are spent in the wrong places.
I mentioned a few examples from my own life above. Talk about wasted effort. I spent six entire years and endless hours of diligent study pursuing a degree I was convinced would be my ticket to happiness and security. But it was all for naught because I never knew how to go deeper and discover what I truly wanted, and what truly mattered to me.
So what do you want in your relationship? More kisses and hugs? More quality time? More hot date nights? Stable finances and a retirement account? For your partner to stop arguing with you? Or start telling the truth? Or how about for him or her to be more emotionally available? More present with you and taking a more active interest in improving your communication? If you’re currently single, you might simply want a relationship, period! The list goes on and on.
All these different “wants” have one thing in common: They are “surface level” wants. They only scratch the surface of what you truly desire. You can verify this by a simple test, using your own experiences.
Have you ever been convinced – as I was – that, say, financial stability was going to make you happy and feel better about your relationship and your spouse? Only to discover, when you did indeed improve your financial situation, that you were no happier, or at least not significantly happier?
Have you ever fought for something in your relationship, say, for you and your mate to go on vacation together? Only to discover that even though you took the vacation, it didn’t make you significantly satisfied?
Why is that? Why, when you get the very thing you said would make you happy, don’t you actually feel happy?
Because “surface level” wants such as financial stability in your relationship don’t penetrate the surface and reach your heart. Whereas any one of us would probably prefer financial stability over poverty, it’s still not deep enough to make you truly fulfilled or happy. Same is true with any other want, be it more quality time, more emotional availability or more flowers.
The cost to you is that you end up chasing all the wrong things, spinning your wheels with lots of effort but no relationship payoff.
The solution to this pervasive problem has been part of the LoveWorks Solution since it’s beginning. We have devised a simple process for piercing through this painful dilemma, so that you can easily identify what you truly want, and not get stuck spinning your wheels.
This method shows you how to use all the things you don’t want, the things that irritate and upset you, for the purpose of getting what you really want.
Normally, we only teach this at our Level 1 weekend workshop. Now, we have designed a mini-workshop where you can learn – and practice – our “Wanting to Having” process in real time, in only 90 minutes.
So we hope you’ll invite your partner and come join us for an informal event that could help you get a whole lot more of what you really want! Find the mini-workshop, Getting What You Want in Relationship here …
Oh, and all those “failed” relationships I mentioned above? We’ll tell you more about it at the mini-workshop, but I will say that when I met Sonika, all my ideas of what I thought I wanted fell apart. It was weird. Sonika was not my age. She already had her own kids. She lived 9000 miles away in another country, on another continent. She was an American! Not exactly my recipe for happiness. And yet, here we are, having the time of our lives after 15 years together. All because we learned to distinguish what we thought we wanted from what we truly wanted!