Relationship Advice from Pier 1 Imports: How to Jumpstart Change

//Relationship Advice from Pier 1 Imports: How to Jumpstart Change

Relationship Advice from Pier 1 Imports: How to Jumpstart Change

Young mechanic looking at a car engine

Sometimes I think relationships are a lot like cars.  With a dead battery.  Stalled on the side of the road while happier couples breeze by in fully functional rides.

I know what it’s like to stand by a dead car.  And I know what it’s like to enviously look at other couples, smiling and being lovey-dovey, while my own relationship feels temporarily drained of love, affection, fun.

Cars and relationships need effective intervention to jumpstart change.  

With cars, we haul out jumper cables and connect to a viable power source.  Wah-lah! If there’s life left in the battery, our car starts after few moments.

A jumpstart is required.  New energy is necessary.

Pitching a fit, cursing a blue streak, or ignoring the car is not.  Yet that’s how many of us respond to relationship problems.  We yell. We scream.  Maybe throw things.  Or avidly avoid the problem.

We need trustworthy relationship advice.  Something that’s as effective as jumper cables connected to a strong power source.

Enter: Relationship advice from Pier 1 Imports.

A few months ago, I thought I was looking in a mirror.  Dick and Jane sat opposite me. Locked in a battle to see who could out-do the other in complaining about the relationship.

They came to my office because they were stuck.  Unable to move forward.  In need of a jumpstart.

As Jane talked, I noticed that Dick’s attention wandered to the adjacent wall, and to this display I’d snagged at Pier 1 Imports months earlier:

2014-04-01 11.03.40

Suddenly I had an intervention to jumpstart change.  I directed each partner’s attention to the display, and challenged them to immediately focus on 3 important pieces of relationship advice.

Relationship Advice #1: Find the good.

Dick and Jane were each experts on how the other had failed and how the other needed to change. If I had let them, they could have burned two hours enumerating all that was wrong in the relationship.  Sound familiar?

To jumpstart change, they needed to broaden their focus.  I challenged each to name at least three good things found in the other.  As they started finding the good, tension began to release from their bodies.  Attitudes began to shift just a bit. So we moved to the next coloful plaque.

Relationship Advice #2: See the beauty.

By excessively focusing on the negative, Dick and Jane lost sight of the beauty and appeal in each other.  Qualities that once delighted seemed to disappear from view.  Each became a little repugnant to the other.

So now that some goodness was on the table, I challenged each to describe beauty seen in the other.  A slight pause ensued.  One partner described physical beauty.  The other described inner beauty.  Each seemed a bit surprised, and much less adversarial.  Some positive connections were being made, but it was time to crank up the jumpstart.

Relationship Advice #3:   Believe you can. 

Dick and Jane wanted change.  Their attitudes were momentarily softening.  But change seemed impossible.  Each had little faith that the other could or would change.  It was time to switch the focus.

Time for Dick to think about changing Dick. Time for Jane for to think about changing Jane.   Time for Dick to believe that he can change.  Time for Jane to believe that she can change.

I challenged each to believe that individual change is possible. And if they can  change as individuals, they can change as a couple.

Belief is powerful.  It can make the same thing possible or impossible.  It can ultimately make or break a relationship.

The Wrap Up

Sometimes each relationship needs a bit of a jumpstart.  And I think the best relationship advice reminds us to focus on what works (find the good, see the beauty), and to believe we can change.

Do you agree? Speak your mind below!

 

 

By |2017-12-17T15:09:54+00:00May 8th, 2014|Categories: Relationships|22 Comments

About the Author:

I'm an LPC who delights in helping people find the change they need to live the life they desire.

22 Comments

  1. Sharon O'Day May 8, 2014 at 4:28 am - Reply

    We can put people on the moon. So why can’t we capture, record or bottle the feelings we have for our mate when we first realize we’re falling head over heels … and pull it out when life has reared its head and intervened? Must be a way …

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:18 am - Reply

      I agree, Sharon. Just as it took effort and intention to land on the moon, so it takes effort and intention to focus on what works when things get tough.

  2. Pamela May 8, 2014 at 6:21 am - Reply

    Again, another good metaphor about the car and the relationship. I agree that both needs to be appreciated. Sometimes, we really need someone to tell it straight to our face to realize how we can fix things with our partners.

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:22 am - Reply

      Thanks, Pamela. Some straight confrontation is what many of us need when relationships get sticky.

  3. Beverley Golden May 8, 2014 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    You captured perhaps one of the key things for all of us whether in relationships or not, Gina. The individual will only change if they choose to change. Focusing on the positive or the good, seeing the beauty that is there and then having belief that things can change, all sound like great ways to kick start a relationship! All thanks to Pier One too. 🙂 Inspiration is always around us.

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:24 am - Reply

      Thanks, Beverley. You captured the heart of all relationship change – it starts with the individual.

  4. Kungphoo May 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Great article! I definitely agree that relationships do sometimes need a jumpstart. Things don’t usually just work out on their own, there needs to be an effort made. I love that you also used pier one to get the ball rolling. Find the good, see the beauty, and believe you can certainly does apply to relationships. 🙂

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:26 am - Reply

      Thanks, Kungphoo! Relationships are definitely not the place to be passive when dealing with problems.

  5. Alexandra McAllister May 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm - Reply

    What a great metaphor about the car and the relationship. I also believe that once in a while we need to jump-start our relationship. You get what you put into it. 🙂

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:27 am - Reply

      I agree, Alexandra! We get out of it what we put into it.

  6. Rochefel May 9, 2014 at 12:02 am - Reply

    I definitely agree with you! In a relationship, you have to keep the shine sparkling. And when it’s already dead, give it a jumpstart and let it shine again. 🙂

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:30 am - Reply

      I like your sparkly approach, Rochefel! We must believe that the sparkle can be recaptured, and work to restore the shine. .

  7. Veronica May 9, 2014 at 3:35 am - Reply

    Great metaphor and connection of relationship maintenance to car maintenance. They both require that on a regular basis to keep running properly

  8. Pat Moon May 10, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Wonderful advice for that couple and every couple. We’ve been married almost 53 years – in July. I can relate to this couple because there have been times we have been stuck. Yes, counting blessings is the 1st step to want to make those changes within ourselves and make the relationship work. I am so thankful we did it. We’re still not perfect and there are times but then we have to step back and go through the process again. It works.

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:34 am - Reply

      Congratulations on your long history, Pat! Starting with the positive is a powerful way to ignite change. Thanks for reminding us that relationship maintenance is a continual process of renewal.

  9. Katrina May 12, 2014 at 2:07 am - Reply

    I have watched many of the relationships around me. I have talked to my parents that have been married for 45 years. I have learned that focusing on the good of each person is what relationships are all about.
    Yes… there will be disagreements but at the end of the day a simple reminder to each other can make all the difference in the world.

    Great post and a beautiful story to help us focus on what is important.

    • Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:37 am - Reply

      Thanks, Katrina! A few simple and positive practices could make a world of difference in many of our relationships.

  10. Premiere Social Media May 12, 2014 at 4:21 am - Reply

    Love this, hoping one day I will find someone to love.

  11. A. Lynn Jesus May 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm - Reply

    Beautiful post. We seem conditioned these days to too easily focus on what we DON’T want or like. This is an awesome lesson in focusing on what we DO want or like. This often rekindles the ignored reason(s) for being together in the first place. Great jump start! Thank you for sharing this post.

  12. Gina Binder May 13, 2014 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Thanks, A. Lynn! I recently heard that our brains have evolved so our minds are like Velcro for the negative and Teflon for the positive. But if we take in (or resonate with) the goodness, connections in our brains will increase, and our minds will become less tenacious with the negative.

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