It’s Time for You to Go ALL IN.

Posted on Nov 20, 2013

Likely everyday you live your life browsing the news or Facebook you run across an article in mainstream media about “how to keep your marriage/relationship alive/strong/happy, et cetera.” It is clearly a question with a lot of emotional gravity and media traction or the bombardment would cease.

Occasionally these articles will hit the mark with useful advice, like learn new, exciting things together, or commit to focused time for the relationship. There are wonderful and diverse awesome things you can do to maximize the fulfillment you feel in your relationship. And you can do them, every single one. I encourage you to spend as much time and energy on your relationship as you can muster.

There is one component missing from these relationship how-to’s that fundamentally determines whether or not all of the ‘doing’ in the name of a healthy relationship actually gets you to your vision.

Ask yourself the question: “Am I all in?” And encourage your partner do the same.

If you are not committed with two feet firmly planted, come hell or high water wanting the best for you and your partner, the fulfillment you enjoy from your relationship will be incomplete. Your relationship is no different from any other life endeavor in that respect. You get out what you put in.

That means that if you are on date night, but wishing you were at girls’ night, it is important for you to examine what is holding you back from being all in in your relationship. There are so many different reasons for withholding your complete and total self: insecurity, doubt, lack of trust, sometimes busyness, resentment, or perceived lack of reciprocity.

The radical truth is that the only way you will experience your partner being all in is if you are all in. You must risk being truly there in the moment ready to openly receive all the love, trust and energy they have to offer and receive it at face value. Face value communication has a foundation in deep trust and requires that you hold the vision you are each other’s strongest advocate.

The most efficient strategy to be fully open to receiving that connection is to first be giving that connection as generously and honestly as you can. The more you hold back for risk of feeling vulnerable, the more you activate that instinct in your partner.

Of course, in relationships each partner must be all in for the relationship to meet its potential. Without being all in, the circular pattern of withdrawing for self-protection leads to the other doing the same, which creates distance and disconnection. The risk to be vulnerable with your partner is still just that, a risk. But the reward for sharing face value communication and constant generous energy is the possibility that your partner will respond in kind.

Waiting for your partner to take that risk first is a strategy, but the liabilities are great. We only control our own behavior and the longer we remain disconnected the more challenging it is to regain the connection.

The challenge with risk is always that the response you receive from your partner may not be the response you were hoping to receive. It is important to acknowledge that engaging the feedback loop feeds you information in the form of your partner’s responses that can guide how you wish to tweak your own behavior. Recognize that relational habit pattern changes often take longer than you’d expect, so first be patient and voice your needs. If after a stretch of communication and intentional focus on connection goes unreceived, the guidance of an objective helping professional can identify additional strategies for individual and relational proactive change.

Fundamentally, if the individuals involved truly want the relationship to be as fulfilling as it can be, with intentional focus it will be so. The most meaningful way to honor your relationship is to take the risk and go all in. Take this moment to decide your relationship is worth the risk of being vulnerable and of giving all of your self. If you find resistance in that sentiment, banish the judgment and ‘shoulds’ and move directly to solution-creation. Examine the source of the resistance, vow to tackle it and choose to honor yourself and your partner by pushing your edge and going all in. You deserve every bit of the fulfillment it will bring.