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Mistakes Every Golfer Makes Applies to Relationships, Too: Marriage Counseling, Relationship Advice

Mistakes Every Golfer Makes Applies to Relationships, Too:  Marriage Counseling, Relationship Advice


My recent interest in golf prompted me to discover the Golf Digest article by Butch Harmon entitled The 8 Stupid Mistakes Every Golfer Makes. As a counselor and coach I couldn’t help noticing how some of Harmon’s advice can also apply to long-term relationships with the one you love.

Harmon’s pointers begin with the premise that if we are unhappy with the direction the ball is going, it makes sense to make changes. Obviously the ball direction won’t change by doing things exactly the same way, time after time.
It’s harder for us to realize, the same is true in relationships: keep doing what you are doing and your results are likely to remain the same. Instead, if you want different outcomes, changes are in order.

And, by the way, you wouldn’t attempt to change your golf partner’s swing in order to influence the direction of your ball. If they want to improve their swing, they will make a commitment to do so and will let you know if they’re interested in your advice. Besides, it’s our results that we want to change.
What we have power and control over is our own ball direction.

Yet, it’s harder to see this boundary in our relationships, where we can be quick to point a finger at our partner. We expect them to make the changes. Like in golf, our power lies in looking at ourselves. If we make changes, the dynamics of the relationship change. Many times partners follow the lead, and wish to make positive changes themselves.
Let’s take a look at Harmon’s top 5 golfing mistakes from a relationship standpoint.

“Wrong ball position,” says Harmon. “Position it even with your heart.”
Loving relationships stay loving when you open your heart and allow yourself to be vulnerable. It takes the greatest amount of strength to stay vulnerable and knock down barriers like ego, pride, anger, control, and mistrust. Emotional intimacy grows between two people who are open and vulnerable to each other.

“Poor takeaway . . . no picking the club up, no pulling the club inside.”
In your love relationship, keep whatever you ‘takeaway’ from intimate and vulnerable conversations safe. That means you don’t get to tell Mom, buddies, or friends. Absolutely never use those vulnerable things your partner shared with you as ammunition when you’re arguing. This mistake is a guaranteed way to get an emotional shutout from your partner.


“The straight knee . . . or even locking the right knee . . . instead maintain the flex of your right knee throughout the swing.”

Being flexible is critical in your love relationship. Life happens. Even for those who try to control everything, life still happens. What you do have control over is your response. Flexibility can help you and your partner maintain balance even through life’s unexpected circumstances.

“A good downswing begins from the ground up. But many amateurs, trying to hit the ball hard, start the downswing with the upper body.”
A lasting relationship also starts from the ground up. Solid groundwork begins with being trustworthy and safe. Physical, emotional and commitment safety form the ground-up foundation for healthy relationships.

“Hitting the ‘ego’ shot. Ego is a big thing in golf . . . keep your swing under control . . . and save a lot of strokes.”
Obviously, big egos can get in the way of healthy relationships, too. Do you think you are winning when you have a need to be ‘right and win’? Sadly, it’s likely the relationship is losing, which means you lose, too. Consider the idea of agreeing to disagree. If nothing else, when it comes to your relationship, try to tame that big ego.

“All golfers make mistakes–even tour pros. We’re all human so it’s natural that we make mistakes . . .its simple: Avoid the stupid mistakes and you’ll shoot lower scores,” Harmon advises. Here he makes a Hole-in-One. Yes, we all make mistakes, even in our relationship with the one that we care about the most. After all, we’re all human. However, in relationships, like in golf, we will be more successful if we avoid the stupid mistakes.
If you are interested in making changes in your life, call Louann Hillesland, MA, LPC: 303-721-0005.