Will You Do “What It Takes?”

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010 at 12:06 pm

It’s world series time—the Fall Classic!  Even if you are not a sports fan, I think you’ll appreciate my connecting sports and relationships.

I was listening to some post-game commentary that directly followed the Giants-Philly’s game several days ago.  The Giants had closed out the NLCS series, won the pennant, and were headed to the World Series. A sports pundit made the following remark:  “There’s no doubt about it—the Giants simply wanted it (the World Series) more than the Philly’s.”

I have heard that particular proclamation hundreds of times over the years,  typically with piqued interest because something about it has always bothered me.

As an athlete, I have experienced what it felt like to “want it,” and lose.  And win.  How is it possible that teams make it to the Super Bowl, the World Series, the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Ryder Cup,  and the winner simply “wanted it more?”

Then it occurred to me: Not that it can be measured, my guess is the Giants and Philly’s in this case, both “wanted it” equally.  But here’s the rub: It’s not enough to “want it.”  Here’s the  real question: Is each individual on the team willing to do what it takes to get what they want?

Same is true for your relationship.  Assuming both partners “want it,”  are both of you up to the task of doing what it takes to create “it”—the relationship you want?

What does it mean for any couple to “do what it takes?’  In my estimation it means these key things:

One, demand of yourself, rather than your partner.  Put yourself under the microscope, and trust that your partner do the same of him/herself.  Determine where your efforts in your particular relationship team are best directed, and take care of business.  YOUR business, not your partner’s.

Two, if you insist on having expectations, have them of YOURSELF, not your partner/spouse.  Instead, turn your expectations in to desires, and put energy toward learning how to negotiate for what you want.

Three, rather than blame your partner, take responsibility for yourself, your attitudes, feelings and behavior.  My guess is, if we all did that, it would keep us occupied for awhile, and our relationship satisfaction might skyrocket!

Fourth, stay in the present.  While I’m not a fan of time travel, i.e., living in the future or the past, if you must time travel,  leave your partner out of it.  What matters most is what YOU have done and will do, not what your partner did or might do.

Last, point out the progress you have each made toward the prize both of you want, rather than critically announcing what hasn’t been done, or how distant your goals seem.

If you really “want it,” those five elements are a powerful framework that may help you determine what it takes to get what you want.

As I write this, the Giants are up, three games to one, over the Rangers in the World Series.  I doubt the final outcome will have much to do with which team “wants it” more.  And now you know why.

Wishing you a satisfying relationship,

Jim Hutt, Ph.D., MFT

©2010  All rights reserved

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