A lot of people have the expectation that relationships should always be easy… that if you were really meant to be there shouldn’t be a lot of work needed to keep the relationship strong and moving forward. The truth is relationships are like cars: they need regular maintenance to ensure that they are working at their best. So what does this look like?
Invest the Time, Energy and Effort When Things Are Good: When our relationship is running smoothly we often spend our time focusing on the other things going on in our life that
require more of our immediate attention (work, kids, etc). The truth is, the more effort you invest when things are going well the less likely it will be that things go south and take a turn for the worse. Set up regular date nights where you spend time together. If possible, try to not talk about work, money or the kids. Additionally, make time to celebrate big occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays, they are important and deserve to be celebrated.
Make an Effort to Really Listen: More often than not our partners drop hints as to what they like and don’t like. This can be as simple as someone saying they love having fresh flowers in the house, to how hurtful they find it when you cut them off in conversation. The words mean something, so instead of having it go in one ear and out the other, stop and really listen. If possible, try to paraphrase what they have just said to you and ask them if you got it right. Making an effort to really understand your partner and then showing up for them in those ways is one of the best ways you can show you really care.
Learn From Your Mistakes: It is common for couples to get stuck in a relationship cycle or pattern in terms of how they communicate during difficult times. Take a step back and look at what has gone well and what hasn’t then change it. If you hate how you both shut down or avoid after conflict, then make an effort to try to engage when things aren’t going well. While this may be challenging at first, working to constantly improve your relationship in good times and in bad is what will ensure you get your happily ever after.
Hope you are enjoying the sunshine!