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Relationship: love can be planned
Relationship: love can be planned

Love has rules. No different than in a company, success has to be planned and worked for. Our expert knows how to give the relationship more stability.

Relationship: love can be planned!
Relationship: love can be planned!

It will be allright! Who doesn't like to calm down with this thought when the relationship is in crisis? Unfortunately, problems rarely have the tendency to resolve themselves on their own. "We have to do it ourselves," says Christian Killinger, coach and couple counselor, in a nutshell. "Just let it run doesn't work." Because if you don't do anything for togetherness, it tends to get worse. US relationship guru John Gottman said that and he should know. The idea of intimate connection as "magic" and "mystery" may be appropriate in the initial infatuation, after which, Killinger is convinced, very pragmatic basic rules apply. "No different than in a company." What brings a company on the road to success also stabilizes a partnership: agility. "Agile is the opposite of clumsy," explains Killinger, who also worked as an IT manager for a long time. "For companies it means to become more flexible in a rapidly changing world. In addition, it means to act anticipatory and proactive in order to quickly prepare and introduce necessary changes."

The agile relationship

This is what he calls his concept, which brings the (business) values of transparency, cooperation, responsibility, understanding, respect and error culture into position for life as a couple. Growth and development are the bonuses. How to do it, Killinger shows in his book "Love is plannable: The agile relationship" (self-published, € 14.90) with the help of many exercises. "Better take small steps," as he says, because the big bang - everything will be different from today - is not easy to implement either in terms of renouncing sugar or in love.

"Many relationships break after the first year," the coach knows after countless consultations, "that's when the power struggle begins, where I pull and pull on the partner with all my might. Because I want to bend him according to my ideas." This can quickly get dead in the endless loop of: Mine is right and yours is not. Anyone who realizes in good time that this is not how it works has every chance. "Because with the partner I fell in love with, anything is possible - if I invest in the mutual relationship work." Whoever has a plan has a clear advantage. Even the men, who are known to have an allergic reaction to "We have to talk", are more likely to be brought on board. Because with strategy it is more on the head than on the emotional level. And with Killinger's striking argument "You can split up, but the problems will catch up with you in the next relationship", the agile path becomes really tempting.

Transparency is essential to a well-functioning relationship

If a company clearly discloses figures, resources and measures, experience has shown that it can count on the support and understanding of employees and partners. It is no different in love. "In many relationships, however, there is a tendency to sweep things under the rug," so the coach. "Or to argue about superficial things that whitewash the real issue." His socks are lying around again, she messed up his piles of papers while cleaning up, and boom, let's go! The real problem could be that both of them feel ignored, unappreciated by the other. But the really important things do not come on the table and cannot be approached that way. Then there are unspoken expectations. "One often automatically assumes that the same thing has to be important for the partner as it is for oneself. When I ask couples in my practice whether they have even clarified their expectations, the answer is usually no. Everyone said that the partner knows it anyway. But where should he come from? We all don't like mind-reading. " In a successful company it would be unthinkable that a boss does not clearly tell his employee what he expects from him - and vice versa. In addition: Here and there, a clarification of the term definitions is necessary. Are we even talking about the same thing?

Loyalty is a matter of definition

Let's assume that loyalty is extremely important to both of them in their partnership. But everyone understands something different by it. Cuddling is still inside for them, for him it would be a reason for separation. It would be easy to sort that out in good time. In his book, for example, Killinger shows the exercise with the ball of clarity. You say something and toss the ball to the other. For example: "To me, loyalty means not going beyond a friendly hug." And hey presto, the other one gets the ball and it's his turn (see also box on p. 148). The coach illustrates where it can lead to simply accepting something with an amusing example: A couple has breakfast together every morning. No matter who prepares the meal, she always gets the top half of the roll, he the bottom half. Both believe they are doing the other to meet them. Until a violent argument breaks out and she throws the top part of the bread roll on his head. The man pauses in amazement and says: "Finally I can eat my better half." The woman has to laugh and says: "I hate the upper one, but I always thought that you wanted the lower one."

The clearer you say what your own wishes, needs, etc. are, the more successfully you can meet the point "Understand and be understood". "We are partly like completely different countries, in which different rules, customs and traditions prevail", explains the relationship coach and has developed a corresponding exercise for the chapter "My country, your country": Like a "tourist guide" one tells about the customs in his country and the tourist asks about it (see exercise p. 147).

"This is a training that can bring a couple back together emotionally," said Coach Killinger. "Because you often sit in the same room, but you are emotionally distant from each other. What will we cook tomorrow, what will we buy, the car will start - everyone just has their own thoughts going through their heads." Incidentally, "mirroring" could also do a good job there. The method, which comes from Imago Therapy, works as follows: "I have the feeling that we only live next to each other. That frustrates me," says one person, and the other repeats verbatim: "You have the feeling that we are alive only side by side … "And so on. "Thanks for telling me." Then the partner tries to really empathize with the other person's feelings and to ask questions. "I think that makes you angry because you would like us to do a lot together? Is that so?" Under no circumstances should the sentence: "I see it completely differently" follow. "Otherwise," said the expert, "all the effort would be in vain." If, on the other hand, you do it correctly according to plan, the other person will feel valued and respected and, after a long time, may have the feeling that the loved one has really listened to him / her. "Even couples who were about to break up could feel a new bond." Women, that's not unknown, create closeness through conversation, men through sex. If at some point you can't get together, the final goodbye will soon be in the room. If both are clear about this, he might try to dive into their (conversational) world: What are you doing right now? What do you need? Where do you have problems in your job? In this way, sex life will also reawaken.

What Lovers Should Discuss: What's Your Part? What is my share?

Listening, appreciation, respect for the feelings of the other: As in a team of colleagues, it will not work without this in the long run in a private partnership. Above all, it is important to realize that nobody is perfect. "The error culture is one of the company's agile values," emphasizes Coach Killinger. "If I punish mistakes, the team breaks down. But if I use them as feedback, then the employees can develop and grow." And in a relationship it's no different. "Let's say that what I did did not bring the right result because I offended and hurt my loved one," said the expert, "but if I ask why that is, I can do better next time do. This willingness to develop myself further with the other advances both as a couple. It only works in pairs. Both have to take responsibility, which also means having an all-round view of the relationship: What is my part? What's your share What our common? Responsibility also means reflecting on which solutions have worked so far and which have not. Cheating through somehow, preferring not to address conflicts, on the other hand, is the direct route to the end. "Everything that's smoldering underground is already there," says Killinger. In his conflict resolution model, it is important that the opponents clash not as opponents, but as a team that seeks a solution together.

"Many are curious about it: I win or I lose a conflict." Try to change your mindset. Rather, it is about mutual gains, a constructive solution. A concept that also helps overcome stubborn tension can be found in the book.

In the agile corporate world, "personas", so to speak, are used more and more for this. This also proves itself in the relationship cosmos. Create the vicarious model for each of you. It is best to record the figure and its characteristics. Paulina, as she might be called, is more sensitive, good manners and reliability are important to her, and she hates loud arguments. "Now the couple can take a step back and use the personas to get into conflict resolution. Paulina thinks, for example, that Georg doesn't include her enough in his life, she might say." And now it's Georg's turn.

Last question: How full is your account actually?

Not that on the bench, that's also important, but in that case we're talking about love. Psychology professor and relationship guru John Gottman ("The Measurement of Love") has developed this image: If you don't regularly pay into your relationship account, you will soon be left alone in the rain. The currency also has to be right. Let's say he buys her flowers every day. But she doesn't want that at all, because she thinks they just die anyway. She would much rather want more physical closeness, more quality time for two, and both of them are ultimately disappointed. Yes, but nobody has ever said that the company relationship is easy. And since we're already at John Gottman's, another tip from him: One of the deadliest things in a relationship is showing contempt. Rolling eyes and ridicule, and maybe in front of others. Let's be honest: you would never do that with your valued colleagues!

Two exercises for a more stable partnership

Tourist in a foreign country

If you do this exercise several times, you will notice that you are getting closer and closer and the misunderstandings will decrease. Sit across from each other and always keep eye contact.

One is the tour guide, the other the tourist. The former could now say: "In my country the residents like to go to sleep early, otherwise they will have little energy the next day." Or: "In my country it is important to be emotionally close before you have sex, otherwise it is difficult to switch off." Perhaps also: "In my country it doesn't matter if someone is late. However, a brief communication is important." Or: "In my country you need a few minutes of rest when you come home from work." The tourist then asks questions that should make the other area more familiar to him, for example: "How do you get closer emotionally in your country? How did it come about that order is so particularly important in your country? What do you do when you are you want to have a really good time? What is your national sport and why? How can you make the residents happy?"

Ball of Clarity

You both have different ideas about a topic, and that always leads to misunderstandings and arguments? This simple exercise is very effective.

Take a small ball and sit across from each other. Choose a topic that is currently critical. You say something like: "For me, a relaxed evening means sitting at home in front of the television." Then toss the ball to your partner, who in turn says: "For me, a relaxed evening is associated with a good meal." Whoops, the ball is back with you. You mean: "For me, a relaxed evening is part of cuddling." He catches the ball and emphasizes: "For me, a relaxed evening means not talking about money." You keep doing this until you run out of ideas. It's not about convincing the other, but rather clearly saying what everyone's ideas are. That helps a lot, not to talk past each other, but to spend the next relaxed evening in a way that suits both of them.

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