Relationship Problems: Whats Your Contribution?

As the story goes, there was once a farmer and his family. They lived in and farmed a huge and gorgeous valley, right next to an equally huge and gorgeous mountain range.

Each year as the seasons turned into late summer and early fall, the farmer and his sons would begin to store their barns with hay for the winter. Some years they stored just a little for the winter, some years they stored much more.

One year, they began to store hay earlier than ever before. The farmer told his sons that it was going to be a very long and cold winter. As each week began, the farmer would instruct his sons to store more and more, and even more hay.

And then as they got further and further into the fall, the farmer and his sons doubled the amount of hay they stored in the barn.

The father said "Sons ,we've got to store more hay than ever before. It's going to be a winter like we have never seen."

One son, being just a bit tired of storing more and more hay, asked the father how he could know that it was going to be a more difficult winter than ever before. The father replied, "Son, you are now old enough for me to tell you the secret of how I know how difficult a winter it will be. Each year, I look up on the great mountain where the Indians live. On the mountain, the Indians store wood for the winter. Some years, in mild winters, they store just a little. Other years, in particularly harsh winters, they store much more.

So I know how cold the winter is going to be by watching how much wood the Indians store away. Now that you know my secret, let's get to work, because the Indians just put away more wood yesterday."

Another son, being fed up with storing so much hay, took one of his younger brothers on a journey up to the mountains to speak with the Indians.

When they arrived, they approached the chief of the tribe and asked him why he was putting away so much wood this year. To which the chief replied,

"This is an ancient Indian custom. We always know how cold the winter will be by watching the farmer in the valley. The colder the winter will be, the more hay the farmer puts away!"

What is Your Contribution?

Both the Indian and the farmer were simply reacting to each other, believing that each one was the source of the need to prepare the winter.

And so it goes in many of our relationships. Whether it is in friendship, marriage, family, or the work environment, we are prone to blame others for the way we behave in the relationship.

The line goes something like this,

"If only they would do (blank), then I would stop (or start) doing (blank)."

So the question then becomes, as in the farmer-Indian story, what is your contribution?

Do you do any of the following:

=>Expect too much.

=>Expect too little.

=>Have a preconceived bias against the other person.

=>Misinterpret something they have said or done and then fail to check out your perception.

=>Expect/demand the other person to change first.

=>Expect/demand your own way.

=>Do the silent treatment or some other way of shutting the other person out.

So what to do? Three steps:

1) Identify your contribution.

2) Take responsibility for it, whether you like it or not.

3) Change your contribution.

Ready for the bottom line folks? Change your contribution, and you can not only solve the problem, you can change and improve the relationship.

Jeff Herring is a Relationship Coach, Speaker, and Syndicated Relationship Columnist. Visit SecretsofGreatRelationships.com for more relationship tips and tools, a f'ree e-zine and f'ree e-programs to enrich your relationship.

In The News:

The Key to Relationships  Psychology Today
How to Have a Relationship and a Career  Harvard Business Review
Relationships drive real estate deals  Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Is Lack of Gratitude Dragging Down Your Relationship?  Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley

Emotional Investments

It is a given truth that there are people out... Read More

Sound Seduction Advice for Dating and Romance Success

BackgroundSeduction is a subtle tool used with the ultimate goal... Read More

Infidelity Excuse: I Fell Out of Love... and Just Love Being in Love

I find this dilemma rather common for younger couples, probably... Read More

Zodiac Love Match ? Can the Stars be Right?

As a somewhat older gentleman (but still fairly good looking... Read More

5 Surefire Ways to Arouse Your Woman

As there are different types of women, there are different... Read More

Approval - You Dont Need It

Yesterday, after receiving a massage to help ease my computer-aided... Read More

Is Your Relationship Worth Fighting For

Sometimes when a relationship has gone sour, our efforts are... Read More

Think INSIDE the Square to Keep Those Love Fires Burning

I was sitting in my sanctuary in my back yard... Read More

You CAN Improve Your Relationship

It seems as if creating successful relationships with our significant... Read More

Walls Of Communication!

Matters of the heart are a true mystery to all... Read More

The Spiritual Connection of True Romance

In the springtime, with the flowers budding and the birds... Read More

Relationship Advice: How to Ignore Your Spouse or Partner

Marriage can be one of the quickest and most effective... Read More

Blondes Talking About Blondes!

What is it about blondes that both sexes find so... Read More

My Concept

From my own personal experiences with relationships I believe in... Read More

Build your Social Support Network

A social support network is a group of people who... Read More

Are You Really Ready For a Relationship?

So often I hear, I want a boyfriend, I'm married... Read More

Dangerous Relationship?

I will in this article cover some of my own... Read More

Relationship Habits

How many of you have ever been involved with a... Read More

Relationship Advice: Powerful Tips for Staying Close and Connected

Staying close in your relationship does not just happen.Staying close... Read More

Relationship Advice: Why Brad and Jen Broke Up and What We Can Learn from Them

It's been a few months since the riveting headlines: The... Read More

Hold Em or Fold Em?

Like a great game of poker, knowing when to "Hold... Read More

Choosing a Diamond Engangement Ring That She Can?t Say No To!

So you've decided to propose ? congratulations! This is a... Read More

Are You Paralysed By The Fear Of Future Regrets?

Edith Piaf remains an icon and her best loved song,... Read More

Ladies, Is Your Valentine The Cheating Kind?

According to statistics, 50% to 70% of men cheat on... Read More

What Till Death Do Us Part REALLY Means - Divine Source through Barbara Rose

Let me address this issue of eternity, this promise many... Read More