They may have you see yourself making the money you want to make, buying the house you want to buy or being the weight you want to be. The reason that coaches insist on people making a vision is because it works- it works because people act in ways that reflect how they are thinking, imagining and believing.
If you visualize success, it is far more likely that you will act in ways that will meet your true goals and achieve what you want. There is no difference in the relationship area.
As you visualize and focus on what you want in your relationship, you set interpersonal processes in motion that often seemingly miraculously shift relationships to a better place. I have found very useful tips for relationship visions that will greatly, and I mean greatly, increase the probability that you will have more relationship fulfillment.
Tips for creating a powerful and effective relationship vision:
1) Look towards yourself first and foremost. Ask yourself how you can act differently towards your intimate partner that will feed her emotionally.
2) See yourself in the very near future acting in those ways consistently. See yourself acting in the new ways and sticking with it even as your partner may not respond ideally (at first).
3) As you see yourself acting in these new ways consistently and persistently, see your partner responding in more gratifying ways towards you. (Note from me- I wrote # 2 and # 3 because in real life, you may not immediately get a better response when you change your behavior to something better. By imagining both you being persistent and then seeing your partner responding in ways you want (eventually), it gives you motivation to keep trying with the positive expectancy of eventual reward).
4) Include positive perceptions of your partner as part of your relationship vision. See her (or him) in the absolute best possible light. Reframe her negative behavior in the most benign way; for example- if she has been hostile, see her as someone who is having trouble handling her hurt and disappointment as opposed to being a cruel person. Having these consistent positive perceptions is a key part of your relationship vision.
5) Ask yourself what is important to you so that you can feel nourished in your relationship. See it happening. Enjoy it and fill in all the pleasurable details. Doubt and cynicism is human because we give so much power to our history. Let the doubt and cynicism be (don’t try to eliminate these feelings) and focus on the things you do want.
6) I cannot say this enough! Give power to your imagination and focus on how you would like you and your relationship to be. Dwelling on doubt and cynicism gives power to your history. You and your partner are more than what you have manifested in your history.
7) Have an adventurous, open approach to your relationship future.
Here Is My Relationship Vision:
I see myself practicing more relaxation and behaviors that help me be more peaceful and loving such as meditation as well as some other relaxation processes. I can see and feel me focusing on all the wonderful attributes of my wife. I see how she shows her love to me and the children and all the other many wonderful things about her.
I accept the things about her that evoke irritation and understand that I do not need to focus on those things (as I have done too much of in the past). I see myself consistently slowing down and paying attention to her; getting curious about her. I see myself going up the stairs nightly and sitting down with her asking questions about her that are meaningful to her. (I will leave out some details here but it is absolutely acceptable to have visions about the sexual aspects of your relationship).
I continue taking salsa and other ballroom dance lessons with her and see myself practicing with her between classes as we laugh and totally enjoy the process. I see her being supportive and affectionate with me. I see her smiling lovingly at me and both of us exchanging endearing texts from time to time during our work days. Lastly, I see myself focusing on this vision daily as part of my meditation.. Of course, like in any visualization, it is a dynamic, changing process and your vision and mine will evolve through time.
As I wrote in a previous newsletter, the brain has plasticity. New neuronal connections can be made and these changes start with our imagination and creativity. Intimate relationships provide one of the best opportunities for this kind of psychological and emotional development (that coincides with the neuron changes in our brain).
The reason intimate relationships are such powerful vehicles for our growth is that partners fulfill such important real as well as symbolic needs for us. As our relationship heals, so do we; as we heal, so do our relationships.
Creating a relationship vision and giving it your consistent attention is fuel for the engine of this incredible vehicle of growth we call relationship. Create a vision, apply it and then give me some feedback – I expect to hear some great things!
From Sarah: Todd Creager is an accomplished Speaker, Therapist, Consultant and Author. At his website: The Todd Creager Center for Successful Relationships, you can find out more about how to have a successful relationship.