You were so in love when you began. You felt confidence in your commitment. It is hard to imagine that anything could intrude and cause trouble in your marriage or relationship.
Every relationship has an ebb and flow of attention between couples. Time spent with friends or outside activities provide a balance of stress relief, in addition to sharing life with your spouse or partner.
Intrusions Come In Many Familiar Forms
Unfortunately, many couples find it increasingly hard to avoid the negative impact of outside intrusions. Competitors for time and attention include: work demands, kids’ schedules, time spent on electronics, online games and pornography, sports, and family demands. Sometimes just exhaustion and a lack of energy can challenge a couple’s quality of home life.
We often assume that our primary relationship will just rock along without any special attention. Another often-recommended approach to relationship care is to schedule a “date night” at least once a month. But when we no longer feel that our relationship provides safety and comfort, these actions may not be enough.
Reflect On Your Needs To Stop Drifting Apart
You may ask yourself: What quality and amount of attention do I need in this relationship to thrive? Does my partner need the same amount as I do? What will help us turn toward each other instead of an outside influence that may end tearing us apart?
If handled with care, finding the answers with your partner can help protect your relationship and bring you closer together.
All Relationships Need Attentive Care and Feeding, Including Yours
Know that your most valued relationship does need regular care and feeding. Relationships need ample positive exchanges, such as gestures of affection, compliments, listening deeply with empathy and helpful cooperation.These positive good-will gestures fill a well spring of good feeling that refreshes you both. When good will is plentiful, negative moments don’t drain the well dry. When one of you is grouchy, withdraws for a short time, or gets busy with a full schedule, a well-nurtured relationship stays intact.
The poet Marge Piercy explains the nurturing process this way:
Grow me good will, rough and thick as meadow grass,
but tend it like an African violet in the window.
Small gestures count to when filling a reservoir of positive feeling: kisses hello and goodbye, smiling into each other’s eyes, getting up from the computer to welcome your loved one back.Each person needs about 30 positive moments to 1 negative, for the relationship to thrive.
It is important to build time into your day to slow down, to connect with your partner, and share what’s happening within you. Go beyond practical matters, tasks and scheduling. And when your mate flags you down or makes a move to get your attention, try to stop and give it.
Think Twice About The Choices You Make
Be aware of the choices you are making with the even small bits of time you have. Is it always more refreshing to look at sports scores on your phone, than to hug your partner? If you want a stronger warmer bond, say no more often to intrusions. Before you turn on your screen or tune into your book, be sure that you’re feeding your relationship a steady and sufficient diet of attention.
If you have tried to build up the good will but to no avail, the support and guidance of a professional counselor can help you find what works for you to recharge your relationship.
Modern life really does pile on the demands: long work hours, commutes, and kid’s game schedules. Revisit your schedule every month or so. What could be reworked to make room for being with your partner? We need quality time, and enough time together to build up a reservoir of good moments that allow us to thrive in love.
A happy relationship means so much to every aspect of our health and well-being. You can grow closer while facing divisive influences in your relationship. No relationship thrives on auto-pilot.
Listen closely for the emotions behind what your partner says and does. It may not be comfortable and you may not like what you hear at first. But connecting on a deeper level is so much more rewarding and life sustaining, that it is worth learning to do.