In this On Purpose episode, Jay Shetty provides eight steps and strategies for effectively recognizing and addressing relationship issues. He compiled these suggestions to help relationships stay together.
Save the Relationship
Jay Shetty discusses the common desire to enhance relationships and stop behaviors that can harm them. Communication is paramount in resolving relationship issues. Challenges are typical, yet they can be addressed positively or negatively based on the communication between partners.
Therefore, Jay highlights the significance of making partners aware of concerns constructively and lovingly. He believes that the way conversations are approached can lead to healthy discussions, debates, and curiosity or escalate into arguments with poorly articulated points of view.
Jay Shetty discusses a typical relationship pitfall: people's tendency to assume that someone's behavior in their current relationship is the same as that of a past partner. When we notice similar behavior patterns in our partners, we often assume they have the exact reasons for their actions as our previous partner did. This pattern of thinking can be detrimental to the current relationship.
For instance, if a partner goes quiet during an argument, we might assume they don't care because a previous partner did the same. Similarly, if a partner forgets to complete daily tasks like taking out the trash, we might conclude that they lack thoughtfulness based on past experiences.
As Jay Shetty explains, the critical issue is that making assumptions about a partner's intentions can lead to misunderstandings and hinder effective communication. It's essential to remain curious and avoid jumping to conclusions. Instead of accusing a partner of not caring or being thoughtless, try asking open-ended questions to understand their perspective better. This approach fosters healthy discussions and helps partners become more conscious of their behavior.
Jay Shetty emphasizes distinguishing between seeking a quick ego boost in an argument and genuinely addressing the issue's root. He encourages listeners to ask themselves whether they are trying to feel better at the moment or to solve the underlying problem. In his view, the latter approach leads to successful conflict resolution, while the former can exacerbate long-term relationship issues.
People often project their insecurities onto their partners when they have unmet expectations. For instance, if someone tries a new hairstyle or wears new clothing and expects a compliment from their partner but doesn't receive it, they may start to doubt their partner's attraction or love. This mental chatter and self-doubt are rooted in insecurities and assumptions about their partner's thoughts and feelings.
This tendency to fill in uncertainties mentally can create false narratives about the relationship. Jay Shetty notes that we wouldn't treat our friends like we treat ourselves in these situations. We often quickly assume the worst regarding our lives and relationships. Yet this approach can harm our well-being and the quality of our connections.
Therefore, Jay encourages open and honest communication with your partner instead of letting insecurities fester and making unfounded assumptions. He advises having a conversation where you express your expectations and feelings without accusing or assuming. This way, you allow your partner to explain their side of the story, which may involve their busy day or personal preferences. This approach enables both partners to engage in a productive dialogue and gain clarity about each other's perspectives.
Nurture Your Support Network
Jay Shetty addresses the common mistake of expecting one's partner to fulfill many roles and needs. People often want their partners to be their therapists, coaches, business partners, friends, and even parents, on top of their role as a husband or wife. This unrealistic expectation can strain relationships and set them up for failure.
These roles are complex and require years of training and experience, even in professions like therapy and coaching. Therefore, expecting one person to fulfill all these roles ideally is an unreasonable and impractical demand.
To address this issue, Jay Shetty encourages listeners to create a list of everything they love doing and everything they love feeling in life. For each item on the list, you should identify people in your social circle who can fulfill those needs or engage in those activities. For instance, someone who loves watching basketball can find a friend who shares that interest. They can turn to a friend or family member who provides that support if they seek reassurance.
It is crucial to take personal responsibility for fulfilling some of these needs, such as self-reassurance or self-compliment, promoting self-sufficiency and self-love. This approach helps you recognize the diverse network of people who can contribute to your well-being and happiness. It also reduces the pressure on your partner to meet every need and role, thus relieving strain on the relationship.
Three Essential Questions
According to Jay Shetty, you can assess and maintain a healthy relationship by asking three critical questions:
- "Do I like their personality?”
Shared interests and how a partner expresses and engages in those interests are vital parts of a relationship. For instance, Jay gave the example of a couple enjoying travel but had different approaches. If one partner displays ego and arrogance about their travels, it can significantly impact the relationship. Therefore, the question is whether you genuinely enjoy their personality and how they approach various aspects of life.
- "Do you respect their values?”
Another vital aspect is respecting your partner's values rather than trying to change them or expecting them to adopt yours. Jay shares an example of his wife's commitment to healthy eating and how he respects her values even if they may not align perfectly with his own. The key is understanding that each person has their values, and respecting these differences is essential for a successful relationship.
- "Do we want to help people towards or change their goals?”
Jay Shetty highlights the importance of supporting your partner's goals rather than attempting to change them to match your own. Trying to force your partner to adopt your ambitions or priorities can lead to relationship issues. Instead, a healthy relationship involves respecting your partner's goals and aspirations, even if they differ from yours.
These three questions serve as a guide to evaluate a relationship's compatibility and potential longevity. By asking them yourself and reflecting on the answers, you can make informed decisions about your relationships and work towards building and maintaining healthier connections with your partners.
Jay Shetty emphasizes the detrimental impact of criticism on relationships and offers an alternative approach to foster positive change and growth. He begins by sharing his personal experience with his wife, Radhi, who didn't criticize him but rather coached and supported him. Jay believes that criticism doesn't lead to transformation; however, coaching does.
Jay explains that many people ruin their relationships by being overly critical of their partners. They use words like "always" and "never" and make statements like "you need to stop doing this" or "I don't like it when you do that." He emphasizes that criticism puts the other person on the defensive, making them feel inadequate and discouraged from changing.
Criticism can trigger deep-seated insecurities and negative emotions in people, causing them to react childishly rather than maturely. Jay Shetty recommends coaching to foster healthy relationships and encourage positive change. Instead of criticizing, he suggests engaging in open, non-judgmental conversations with your partner. Ask questions like "What's blocking you?" or "What are you struggling with right now?" and express your willingness to discuss and support them. This approach promotes constructive dialogue and encourages personal growth without putting the other person on the defensive.
Conquer the Fear of Being Vulnerable
Sometimes, individuals, particularly men, find it challenging to open up in relationships due to the fear of appearing weak. Jay Shetty introduces the concept of the "John Wayne syndrome" or the "hero complex," where people believe they must be unyielding, perfect, and stoic, associating vulnerability with weakness.
Jay highlights how societal expectations and stereotypes often reinforce these beliefs, especially for men. This reluctance to open up can create misunderstandings and feelings of being shut out in relationships. A study by iVillage found that 42% of women struggle to get their partners to share their feelings.1
People fear rejection, criticism, and the potential for their vulnerabilities to be used against them in future arguments. They fear that exposing their weaknesses will lead to repeated criticism and judgment. Therefore, Jay Shetty emphasizes the importance of expressing appreciation, understanding, and support in relationships instead of criticism. He believes that both partners, regardless of gender, must hear expressions of pride, appreciation, and acknowledgment. After all, everyone has an inner child who longs for recognition and affirmation.
Criticism often manifests as indirect relationship comparison. Making comparisons with others can be a form of passive-aggressive criticism. By highlighting what others have done or achieved, you may unknowingly make your partners feel inadequate, ultimately pushing them away.
Jay Shetty emphasizes that this kind of comparison can harm relationships, fostering feelings of inadequacy and dissatisfaction rather than promoting understanding and support.
Stop Public Shaming
Lastly, Jay Shetty advises against putting your partner down in public if you want to save your relationship. Some people may make such comments as jokes, underestimating the impact on their partners. These remarks, even if meant lightly, can trigger feelings of embarrassment and hurt, causing the partner to become more reserved and less open in the relationship.
It is essential to understand that making negative statements about your partner in public can lead to distance and hinder effective communication and connection in the relationship. Instead, save your negative comments for a private conversation, just the two of you.
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “Jay Shetty ON 8 Steps to Save Any Relationship & Stop Ruining It” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
1iVillage. “5 Secrets of Getting a Man to Open Up.” Web log. Today (blog), January 26, 2005. https://www.today.com/health/5-secrets-getting-man-open-i283741.
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