One night, there was  a man on his hands and knees looking for something under a streetlight in an otherwise darkened alley. A police officer spotted him and asked, “Sir, are you OK? What are you looking for?” The man was frantic. He said he lost his keys. Both the man and the officer looked all over and finally, the policeman asked, “Are you sure you lost them here?” The man said, “No, but I wanted to look where the light is.”

This story might sound silly, but isn’t this what we do when we have a problem? We look where it’s easiest. We focus on the pain we feel and shift to blaming others or the situation. When couples are looking for relief from pain in their relationship, this is exactly what they do. They look outward and focus on their partner’s behaviors or the pain they feel. While they might find something under the streetlamp, they aren’t likely to find the key.

We are powerless to change people. When we try to fix our relationship problems by focusing on our partner’s defects, we are not really doing much to help the situation. If you want a better relationship, are you willing to look inward? It might be scary and hard like the man grasping in the dark, but you might just find the key that unlocks happiness.

When couples start counseling, they are usually focused on one of two things: their pain or what they think is causing it. They desperately want relief. This is completely understandable! Anyone can see the problem with this approach.

If you want to find peace and happiness in your relationship, it will require some work on your end. You might find that you have some part to play in the lost keys. Sure, your partner is the one who threw them down the street, but what happened right before that? Did they just decide to hurt you for no reason?

The next time you get angry at your partner, I challenge you to examine the situation differently. Take a step back and ask yourself, “What is my part in this? How might I have set that ball rolling? How did I participate in losing that key?”

If you are looking for personalized relationship counseling or seek a licensed counselor for couples therapy, schedule your initial session appointment and inquire about our couples intensives available in Harrisburg, PA.

Visit Emergent Relationship Center and schedule today to book your free consultation call.