Often when couples come into my office, they are aware of some of the same fights that they find themselves in. They feel stuck and like they aren’t making any progress. When I ask them what they have done, they can often make a list of all the different things they have tried and/or the requests they have each made of each other and the relationship. When I ask them if they are still doing said things, often the answer is no.
In relationships, if there is an area we are getting stuck, we want to become really clear on what we think the solution would be. When I say clear, what I mean is specific. Simply telling our partner to not do something, or do something better isn’t supportive enough to create change. Instead, we want to specifically list off what would be helpful and beneficial so that we can be more connected (if you don’t know, book in a session with a relationship therapist to get some help). Once we know what would be helpful, the key to being successful is being consistent.
Let’s take a common issue in relationships, housework. Often one partner can feel overwhelmed with all the work that goes into maintaining a home: cleaning, organizing, laundry, grocery shopping, meal prepping, paying the bills, laundry etc. When one partner feels they are doing the majority of the work, they can become resentful. The best way to clear these feelings up is to help. If you start doing your share, your partner will feel both relieved and more connected. If after a few weeks you then stop, not only does the resentment kick back in because you haven’t followed through on your commitment. Your partner and your relationship will feel the impact of your lack of consistency.
Being consistent is genuinely one of the most simple ways to have the most positive impact on your relationship. Getting caught in the same conflict cycle is exhausting for everyone and only leads to greater relationship breakdown. IS it a lot of work to consistently do the things you need to do to have a good relationship? Of course. It is also a lot of work to always fight over it. So if your partner says something will make the relationship better, then do it. When there are multiple steps to improve it, just because you move onto the next step doesn’t mean you should drop the previous. Be mindful and make sure that if you say you will do something, you are committing to do it forever, or until your partner asks you to stop.