There is nothing as exciting, motivating and thrilling as when your relationship is running in top-gear. When things are going well – when you share a vision, a loving connection, and mutual intimacy, the world blurs and your love becomes the center of your universe. Possibilities move from remote to endless and your future is as bright as the sun.
And yet, following every hilltop is it’s valley, full of challenges, obstacles and pitfalls. Communication isn’t working, love dwindles and intimacy becomes stale (if non-existent).
The sign of a successful relationship then, is spending more time on the top of the mountain, and less time wallowing in the basin. But how do we pull ourselves and our partner out from below? How do we bounce back to goodwill, passion and love when we ourselves are not feeling it? And even if we succeed, we all know that “it takes two to tango” – if our partners are not along for the ride, will our efforts actually amount to anything real?
We cannot know unless we try. And since the only behavior you can control is your own, there is no better place to start than with yourself. So how do we take our relationship to the next level?
Step One: Identify What Is Not Working
There is a reason you both are stuck. Perhaps something is off in the way you envision your relationship. Perhaps you have needs that are not being met. Perhaps your partner upset you, or disrespected you, or treats you in a way you find unacceptable. There are thousands of reasons relationships experience hardship – what are your top three most pressing issues?
Write these reasons down. For example:
“I feel disrespected.”
“He isn’t affectionate – intimacy is boring.”
“We don’t spend time together.”
For the time being, ignore the other 1000 issues you can conjure up, and instead, just focus on these three.
Step Two: Examine your own behavior
If you are at odds over the above, than for sure your partner bears some blame. But that doesn’t mean that you carry no responsibility here. Ask yourself – how am I contributing to this stalemate? Can I identify anything in this situation that would lead back to the way I show up in the relationship? Is there nothing I can do better next time around? Am I willing to apologize for that piece?
Owning a small piece and apologizing for it doesn’t mean you are the ultimate perpetrator. It just means that you are willing to accept some responsibility for contributing to the issue. And it goes a long way in creating peace.
Step Three: Learning from Relationship Challenges
Many times we find ourselves in the middle of the same negative pattern, or even in the exact same argument, repeatedly. The question we need to ask ourselves is “why am I here?” – and more importantly, “what can I do differently next time, to ensure I’m never here again?”
What can I do, if anything, to move beyond these issues? What character traits can I develop that will strengthen my ability to avoid these conflicts in the future? Patience? Anger management? Mindfulness? Do I need to establish stronger boundaries to ensure we don’t find ourselves in this same predicament? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
At the other end of the spectrum, what can I add that will minimize these relationship issues in the future? If I’m feeling disrespected, perhaps that’s because there is a lack of respect in our relationship, in general. How can I be more respectful of my partner? If I feel a lack of affection – how can I show-up with more affection? Or communicate my needs lovingly? And if you two don’t spend enough time together, is there a way you can help increase that (in a positive, loving way) from your end?
Ultimately, every relationship runs on love, gratitude, respect and kindness. If we can increase our quotient, daily, of those ingredients, we are guaranteed to have a better relationship.
Bonus Step: Do I really need to get emotionally-worked up about this?
Sometimes, we know we have been slighted or wronged, yet we can make the conscious choice to overlook it. This helps, more often than not. Ask yourself: In the context of my entire relationship, to what extent is this really a big deal? Is this a foundational issue that is worth threatening my relationship over? Is it worth all the negativity and bad feelings I am experiencing? If I let this go completely, and just moved-on, what is the worst that could happen? A deeper dive into this step can be found here: Where do you Draw the Line
It would be wonderful if, whenever something wasn’t working well, you could just wave a magic wand and your partner would instantly change! But that’s not the way it works. We are together with our soulmates to learn and shed the barriers that separate us, thereby forging a higher spiritual connection.
You can do this, and it’s worth it. If you need help, don’t hesitate to setup a Free Clarity-Call where we chat and discuss working together.