A basic cause of all relationship conflict is the gap between your beliefs of how relationships should be and the reality that exists right here, right now. Whenever you find yourself arguing or in conflict, look deeply at what is going on and you will find this gap. Every time you make the other person wrong about something, the gap is there. Whenever you blame them for something you will find the gap. Every time you try to get them to change in some way there is the gap. Whenever you feel that the relationship is not meeting your expectations, the gap is there.

So the first trap is resistance to the reality right in front of you and is the essence of all the arguments. You will find that you are resisting the reality right in front of you because it does not conform to what you imagine it should be like. Humans tend to confuse their beliefs with truth. When you hold a belief about how things should be that becomes your truth, and if reality does not conform to it, the temptation is to make the reality wrong and resist it.

Reality is never going to conform to all your beliefs and expectations. Life shows up just as it is, not as you think it is supposed to. And there is the gap. The bigger the gap the more likely you will be to feel stressed.

Trying to force reality to conform to your demands causes so much tension, struggle and frustration. There is usually fear caught up in all this. We will look at fear in a later chapter but for now we can identify two major fears that cause people to start forcing and resisting:

1. The fear of being out of control
2. The fear of not getting their needs met.

These are deep-seated fears and will tempt you into your own knee-jerk reaction, and so the key to resolving your conflict is to work creatively with fear, and there are ways of doing that which I do not have space to go into here. For now, can you see this whole pattern playing out, and are you prepared to challenge your beliefs and assumptions about how the relationship is supposed to be? But how many do that? Most people just try harder to bend the situation to their will and end up feeling stuck, frustrated and confused.

And then there is the second trap, which is universal belief that is so embedded in the collective psyche that it hardly ever gets exposed or questioned. It causes so much havoc and you need to discover how it may be sabotaging your relationships.

This is the belief that the other person exists in the relationship to make you happy. Put another way, it is the belief that happiness comes from the outside and so the other person is responsible for your happiness. Relationships are obviously about being happy, but the trap is believing that it is the other person’s responsibility to make you happy.

Whenever I listen to couples arguing, the words may be different but the underlying message is always the same, and it goes something like, “You are supposed to make me happy by being a certain way, and you are not, so therefore it is your fault this relationship is not working.” When you have both individuals giving out this message it does not take much imagination to guess what is going to happen.

If you believe this then you have been sold a crock. You have been sold the belief that someone else is going to make you happy, and that is simply not true. People suffer so much with this one. They enter a relationship full of hope that it is going to make them eternally happy, and then they meet the reality, and discover the other person often seems to be doing the opposite – doing everything to make them unhappy. The pain of this realisation is very real and can destroy your peace of mind, your self-esteem and your faith in relationships themselves.

Don’t be surprised if you feel some resistance to this. That limiting belief is so deeply ingrained in the collective psyche and has become such a basic assumption, that we often cannot imagine anything else. However if you have the courage to challenge yourself, I invite you to do the following exercise. Take plenty of time to go as deep as possible with your awareness and answers.

1. Bring to mind a challenging relationship and be aware of
how it plays out in your life; e.g. significant patterns.

2. Be aware of all your feelings about the relationship.

3. Take some time to honestly answer the following

4. How big is the gap between the reality and your belief of
how it should be?

5. In what ways do you try and force this gap?

6. In what ways do you expect the other person to make you

7. How deeply and honestly have you examined and questioned
your beliefs about relationships?

8. What might the relationship be like if you could let go
of some of those expectations?

Now consider what all that means to you. Take a pen and paper and journal your thoughts and feelings. Allow any so-called negative feelings such as fear or resentment to be there, but do not believe the conclusions that those feelings suggest.

If you can move into the open free state that exists beyond these traps then you will automatically start to transform your relationship. You will communicate better, you will respond more appropriately, your emotions will be more harmonious, and you will sustain great passion for the whole relationship. You will be ready to create a relationship that truly sizzles and sparkles.

Author's Bio: 

Clement McGrath brings 32 years of coaching and mentoring experience and a wealth of knowledge to his work. Clement has worked in a variety of roles that have all involved supporting people to reach their full potential and live the life of their dreams.

He has conducted his own private practice for 32 years, has facilitated youth work in a non-profit organisation, has been a contracted provider to a major government department, and director of Life Coach Associates since 2001.

After facilitating Life Coach Associates coach training program for 10 years, he recently stepped aside from that position to focus on creating a variety of programmes that are more accessible to a wider audience.

These include, “Relationship Rescue,” “How to Harness Your Yes Power,” “How to Increase Your Energy and Achieve More,” “Find Your voice: How to Communicate Confidently and Effectively,” and “Awakening to Infinity: A Course in Self Realisation.”

He is available for private consultations and public speaking, and can create customised programmes to address the specific needs of groups and organisations.

Clement is a qualified Breath Therapist, and has studied extensively in the areas of ‘Effective Communication,’ ‘Human Creativity,’ ‘Principles of Peak Performance and Success,’ and ‘Mythology and its Modern Applications.’

He has co-authored the book, “The Way to Freedom,” and is currently completing a book on relationships that he intends to have published in 2015.

Clement lives in Christchurch, New Zealand, with his partner Heather Fletcher.

Contacts for Clement are:



0064 3 355 2297
0064 272 033 694