Christine Rincon Relationship Communication Coaching

Want your partner to be CRAZY about you? Follow these 4 steps!

If you have been following me for a while you know that one of my biggest dreams was to find the love of my life and have a truly outstanding relationship.

While I became passionate about entrepreneurship and doing work I love much later in life, I always knew I wanted to find that one very special person. This one person who really gets me, who’s there for me, who I can share all of my insecurities and who’ll love me not less but even more because of them.

Every day I count myself eternally grateful to have found this person. My man, Javi, is my soulmate, my best friend, my life partner, the person I can have the deepest conversations followed by a dance off in the kitchen. When I think about him, about what an amazing person he is and how he makes me feel, my eyes start to fill with tears because I’m so grateful.

So my biggest wish in life became true. Was it really as magical as it sounds? Well, yes and no. At this point, I need to make two things crystal clear. 

WHY FINDING THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE IS NOT ENOUGH

First, before I could find a person like Javi, I needed to work on being that person for myself. I needed to learn how to love myself without depending on external validation. I needed to set my values straight and learn how to embrace who I am instead of trying to adapt to ‘fit’ to another person’s idea of who I should or should not be. That process is very similar to doing anything worthwhile in life, such as starting your own business or adapting a healthy lifestyle – you start, you try, you fail, you get back up and try again.  It involved many heartbreaks – most of them which I did to myself. 

Second, Javi and me work really really hard on our relationship. We’ve been together since 7 years, including ups and downs, couple’s therapy, loud arguments, days without speaking and buckets of tears. So, no, like with everything in life, just because you’ve found that one special person it doesn’t make it easy to have an exceptional relationship. But it 100% makes every part of the journey SO worth it.

Today, we’re at the best place in our relationship so far. Feeling closer than ever, and I can truly say that every morning I’m falling in love with this man all over again. That being said, I’d like to share with you the two key things we learned along our journey that have helped us to become not only great partners, but rather an unstoppable team that knows it can take on every challenge that life throws at us.

THE WAY YOU GIVE ADVICE CAN HURT YOUR RELATIONSHIP

When we started dating we were fast to realize that we share a similar passion for work. We’re both not interested in doing work just to get by, to pay our bills or because this is what you’re supposed to do, but on a human level we identify with what we do. 

I guess that’s why it came so natural to us to spent a lot of time talking about work, our goals and how we plan to achieve them. We consulted each other often and regularly. Yet, sometimes our conversations turned into arguments – and we didn’t really understand why. 

Relationship Advice Communication Christine Rincon Coaching arguments fighting

One day I came to him with an idea, and he gave me his direct feedback – just like he would in any other business context. He analyzed the pro’s and con’s and judged the idea based on what he’d do. Or it was the other way around, he came to me with a new strategy and I was the one to give feedback and judge it based on what I thought should be done. 

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU MIGHT NOT WORK FOR YOUR PARTNER

You might be wondering what’s wrong with that approach. One person asks for feedback, the other provides it. What we’ve learned over the years and plenty of feedback session – some of which went great and some of which ended in a disaster – is that what works for me doesn’t have to work for him, and what works for him doesn’t have to be right for me.

Javi and me share many similarities in terms of our core values, our ambitions and our passion for life and work. But we’re also fundamentally different in other areas. 

We learn things differently. While he can absorb books, blog posts and videos and recite facts, names and figures years later, I learn best by listening to people’s stories and being shown how to do things. We need different things to keep us in momentum. While talking to my girlfriends and going to events are some of my biggest energy sources, Javi best recharges by himself, diving deep into understanding war strategies or analyzing why Star Wars will flop if Disney doesn’t change its course

UNDERSTAND YOUR DIFFERENCES

Therefore, when we tried to give each other advice on how to do things, or where we should put our priorities, we run into a common trap by giving the other person the advice we’d give to ourselves, looking at the challenge at hand from our perspective. 

That often lead to frustrating the person asking for input, because the advice we gave each other didn’t seem to fit. I remember specific situations were I felt discouraged after talking to Javi, and I know he didn’t have bad intentions – on the contrary. But when I wasn’t sure about what to do or if my ideas make sense before talking to him, I was even more insecure and sometimes utterly discouraged afterwards. 

So what is wrong with giving out advice? It took us a while to fully understand why the way we gave each other advice wasn’t working great for us, and I have to give Javi full credit for articulating it.

GIVING ADVICE IS ABOUT ME, ASKING QUESTIONS IS ABOUT YOUR PARTNER

Giving advice makes us feel good. It allows us to show our knowledge or expertise. It makes us feel we’re helping and contributing to solve another person’s problem. That’s why we love giving it. And while it can be invaluable to listen to someone else’s perspective, lessons learned and experiences, more often than not, we are too fast in giving advice.

relationship_better_communication_christineMuench_coaching_ownyourlife

We don’t take the time to really understand a person’s situation, how they arrived at an idea, conclusion or strategy and we usually don’t ask what’s important to them. Instead of making it about that person who stands in front of you, asking for help, we make it about us and the value we think we can provide. That was (and sometimes is) definitely true for me. 

I love to help people. I love to feel needed and I love to feel I’m making a difference. That’s especially true when it comes to Javi, because not only do I love him very much, but I also feel he’s helped me SO much that I’m eager to jump to the rescue and help him as well. Well intended and with a great motive, I still came to the point where I needed to ask myself: Is my approach of giving out advice that fast really helping him? The conclusion: No. And I know that for a fact, because he told me so. Giving out advice the way I used to didn’t help Javi the way I wanted or intended to. So it was time to change my approach.

WHY ASKING QUESTIONS IS A MUCH BETTER WAY TO SHOW HOW MUCH YOU CARE 

So once we realized that giving advice doesn’t work the way we want to, we had to figure out what to do instead. What did we really need when we were approaching each other, asking to listen and give us feedback? 

First of all, sharing our ideas, speaking out loud what’s in our head helps us to think. Formulating our thoughts in a way that another person could understand helps us articulate what goes on in our mind. 

When approaching each other we were both looking for a soundboard. That means, we want to speak, let out all that’s confusing us. So if we really truly want to help our partner who comes to us, needing our support, we do that most effectively by listening and by asking open ended questions. 

For example:

  • What ideas do you already have to solve this challenge?
  • How did you come up with this idea / plan / strategy?
  • Why do you think this is the best way to go?
  • Do you see any other ways that could make sense?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What are some next steps you could consider taking?

Since I’m completely focusing on Javi, what he’s telling me, and I make it my objective to help him arrive at a point where he feels clarity and ready to move forward with next action steps, the quality of our conversations has drastically improved. It’s so much more satisfying for both of us, and there’s nothing better than the other person taking the time and the headspace to sit down with you, listen and help you find your own solutions. 

BUT WHAT IF I DISAGREE?

I know what some of you might be thinking: Shouldn’t I say when I disagree with the other person’s plan or ideas? Doesn’t the other person miss out on all the valuable lessons I’ve learned when I don’t give advice? 

Those are all understandable questions, so let me get that straight.

Of course you can still give your partner advice – but first ask if they want to hear it, and make sure to give it after you’ve explored the situation with them through asking open ended questions and showing that you care beforehand. Of course you can tell your partner if you believe they’re really off course, but first ask why they want to do it that way, understand their reasons, and if you even have the hunch of a feeling that this idea actually makes them feel excited, let them try it out. Sometimes the next best move is not the most ‘logical’ one, but the one that keeps the momentum up.

Be aware if what you say is hurting or truly helping. 

HOW BELIEVING IN YOUR PARTNER CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE 

A second thing we realized is that – in addition to exploring the topic at hand – what we’re truly seeking when we ask each other for help and advice is validation that our ideas are good, that the other person believes in us, that our partner thinks we can do it. Because sometimes, well, sometimes we don’t believe in ourselves. That’s true for me on a weekly (sometimes daily) basis.

Especially when we’re freelancing, running our own business or setting ourselves up for new challenges as a way to grow into a better version of ourselves, self-doubts can be the #1 killer of our dreams. Self-doubts might stop us from getting started, they might block us from keeping it going or getting back up after we’ve fallen. 

This is when words of encouragement can make ALL the difference. When I feel like giving up, feeling I’m not capable and I’ll never ever reach my goals, I go to Javi, share my feelings and ask him what to do. When then he tells me how much he believes in me, that he knows for a fact I can do it. I can do it all. He’s already seen me do it. And then he goes on, asking me what ideas I have, and he tells me my ideas are great (even though he might’ve come up with different ones for himself), this is when I fall in love with him all over again and when the belief in myself slowly starts to come back. 

“I BELIEVE IN YOU” CAN MEAN MORE THAN “I LOVE YOU”

Since we started to tell each other on a daily basis how much we believe in the other person, our already great relationship entered an entirely new level. No longer are we just partners that go through life together, but we turned ourselves into an unstoppable tack team. 

Knowing that the most important person on this planet believes in me, and holds my dreams up high even in moments were I feel I’m failing them, and that he puts his own way of thinking and acting behind my need for support and clarity, is the most beautiful way of showing me how much he loves me. 

Relationship Advice Communication Christine Rincon Coaching Believe in your partner

Give it a try and encourage your partner next time when they come to you to discuss an idea. Here are some prompts for inspiration. 

  • You really came up with a solid plan.
  • That’s a great idea.
  • I totally know that you can do this. 
  • I believe in you 100%. 
  • Of course you’ll get there.
  • You’ve everything it takes.
  • I’m SO proud of you for moving ahead with your ideas. 

I promise you, your partner will be so grateful for your encouragement. Having somebody next to us who wholeheartedly believes in us, can make all the difference of us working on our dreams or going back to the sofa procrastinating. 

Because I love to leave you with an actionable approach on how you can keep becoming your best self, here’s the summary on how to give feedback to your spouse.

4 Steps how to give feedback to your SPOUSE AND MAKE THEM FEEL UNSTOPPABLE

Step 1: TRULY Listen to your partner

Listening, and I mean really listening, is one of the hardest things to do. Don’t we all know the feeling when we’re already formulating responses and thinking about relatable experiences in our own lives, when the other person is still talking? I know I do. That means you’re 50% listening, and 50% thinking. Next time when your partner approaches you, try to put your full attention on them. Dive into their story and focus on what they tell you. Feeling truly listened to is a gift by itself. Practice that a few times before you move on to the next step – it already will make such a big difference for your partner.

Step 2: Ask open ended questions

Ask open ended questions that will help them explore the topic at hand. Be curious and open to learn more about what they’ve already thought about. Let them do 90% of the talking.

  • What ideas do you already have to solve this challenge?
  • How did you come up with this idea / plan / strategy?
  • Why do you think this is the best way to go?
  • Do you see any other ways that could make sense?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What are some next steps you could consider taking?

Step 3: Share ideas, but don’t lecture

When you feel your partner has sufficiently explored the topic at hand with you, and you have something valuable to add, ask them if they like to hear your thoughts or would like to add anything else. By doing this you’re making sure that they’ve finished exploring and are ready for your input. 

  • Would you like to hear some of my thoughts that came up when listening to you?

If you’ve mastered it until now, phrase your suggestions as a question. Don’t start a monologue of advice and recommendations, but rather engage them in a back-and-forth conversation about what they could be doing next. Again they should be speaking 70-80% of the time.

  • Did you think already about doing a, b, c or d?

Step 4: Tell your partner you believe in them

Now it’s time for the fun part! Express how much you believe in your partner. Remind them of the many accomplishments they’ve done in the past, and become their #1 fan.

  • You really came up with a solid plan.
  • That’s a great idea.
  • I totally know that you can do this. 
  • I believe in you 100%. 
  • Of course you’ll get there.
  • You’ve everything it takes.
  • Remember the time when you thought you couldn’t do xyz and then you totally nailed it?
  • I’m SO proud of you for moving ahead with your ideas. 

Practice these 4 steps and watch your relationship skyrocket an entirely new level! Also, keep in mind that it took Javi and me years of practice to change our approach of giving advice – and we still f*** it up sometimes. So be patient with yourself and don’t give up! I wholeheartedly believe that this supportive way of talking to each other is a key part of why we’re still very much in love after 7 years.

Now I’d love to hear from you: 

What’s one thing that drastically improved your relationship?

With SO much love 
Chrissi

Comments

  1. Dinah

    Perfectly figured out! I actually kind of knew or felt what I was doing wrong, but reading it in black and white makes it even more physical and clear! Black box no. 2 and no. 3 are SO TRUE… I’m going to work on that! Thank you, Chrissi! 🙂

    1. Chrissi

      AWESOME Dinah! So happy it resonates with you. This understanding of how to better support and communicate with each other really created a HUGE shift in our relationship, and I’m so glad you find it valuable! Thank you for sharing your feedback with me <3

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