Breathing life into a tired relationship
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
24th October, 20120 Comments
For a long time now I have felt that my relationship was in trouble. There was no big crisis, there was no affair in some ways that might have been better, but we just seemed to talk less. I tried to put the spark back in our relationship but it seems like the only time we talk is about the children or to fight about the small things like helping round the house or how often he goes out with his mates. I am growing tired of it and I don’t know how or indeed if I want to save our relationship.
Jill’s story is typical of many relationships. We would all like to be in a satisfying, happy relationship. We are my nature a sociable species and close personal relationships are a huge source of strength and support in our lives. So how do you develop a strong satisfying relationship? How do you keep that strong relationship and not fall into the trap of ending up as flatmates?
It may come as no surprise that communication is at the heart of relationships, this is true of any relationship, be it work, family or romantic, so getting good communication going should bring about change. A word of warning though since communication is a two way street both partners have got to want to bring about change, you can only go so far on your own.
So what might be some of the simple ways that you can make a difference? Very often it is the small things that make the biggest difference. Pay attention to your partner, very often they will ask the simplest question and attach huge significance to your answer. How do I look in this outfit? If the answer is a non-committal nice delivered from behind a newspaper it is hardly surprising that they might decide you don’t care. Other more important things like talking about problems they might have at work or with family also build bonds showing interest. Remember you don’t need to solve the problem very often listening emphatically is all the help they are looking for.
In many ways you are a team so support each other its perhaps a cliché but more partners fight about the small things like, “She never makes me a cup of tea” or “he never puts his dirty clothes in the laundry bin” all poison the relationship. Tasks around the house shopping and childcare, in the modern world have become chores to be shared, not to keep quiet about in the hope your partner will break first.
Talking and listening make the biggest difference building the bonds of trust that mean you can rely on each other. There is no doubt that good communication can go a long way to prevent some of the challenges that appear in relationships. As every counsellor will tell you, their waiting rooms are filled with couples who have lost their way when it comes to communication. Yet, even in the best of relationships conflict will occur. Some relationships seem to thrive despite conflict, yet it is not the conflict itself that is the problem but rather the environment of the conflict that does the lasting damage. You can change yourselves. Of course there may be bigger problems children, money and so forth, but if you are coming from a place where you regularly talk and con be honest and open these bigger problems will be easier to tackle
Problems or issues in a relationship are rarely the fault of one partner but through a dialogue built on trust, openness there is the possibilities of making the changes that will make your relationship feel alive and supportive.
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