Bad Relationships Gone Good

I was divorced at age 27 from a good man. Would you be surprised that despite having completed a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology, I knew next to nothing about creating a happy relationship for myself? That understanding came years later.

You may be in the same boat I was all those years ago. In your work you may be an effective communicator. Maybe you are a peacemaker with your friends. You may even be the person who is able to help others with their relationship problems, yet you cannot figure out what you are doing wrong with your own love life.

It makes sense. In my own relationship I was too emotionally wrapped up in the problems. I was unable to step back and look at the situation neutrally. I could help others do this because I was not personally involved in their marriage. It took years to figure out how to do this and it happened when I met and married my second husband.

A few years into our marriage, I learned about Dr. William Glasser’s Choice Theory and began training in Reality Therapy. It changed the way I helped the couples I counseled. More importantly for me and my husband, it changed the way I related to him. So many couples have benefitted from Choice Theory and I have to say that it changed my life and my marriage for the better.

Here are the Seven Deadly Habits of External Control (Choice Theory):

  1. Criticizing
  2. Blaming
  3. Complaining
  4. Nagging
  5. Threatening
  6. Punishing
  7. Rewarding/Bribing

I realized that I had done every one of these habits at some time in my life and I was guilty of quite a few of them on a very regular basis. If you have never done any of these habits, you’re probably ready for sainthood!

The questions I kept in mind from Choice Theory were,

  • What am I doing now (looking at the list above) that is harming my relationship?
  • What can I do differently, on a regular and consistent basis, that I think will help my relationship?

This was the beginning of a much happier and less stressful marriage for me and my husband. Sadly, my marriage to this wonderful man ended after nine years, when he died of kidney cancer. After a while I knew that I wanted to marry again, having had a strong and happy marriage with my late husband. So once again I began to date and did find another man to make a happy relationship with. The tools I used in my second marriage and the tools I taught my clients helped me to find and keep yet another great man.

If you are worried about the condition of your relationship and want to create a happy, successful one, check out True Love Relationship Coaching Webinars for Couples here. Even if you are the only one working on your relationship, you can still make great improvements!

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Michelle E. Vásquez, MS, LPC

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