Ready, aim, fire!
Sometimes things just don’t seem right. We find that we don’t feel the same in a relationship, yet you can’t remember when it changed; you can’t remember what it is that went wrong. Now you seem to fight more and enjoy each other’s company less. Are you heading for a break up or can you save your relationship?
There is a strong sense of being powerless, of not knowing what to do. One of the first stages will of course be to talk through what you both want. However, many couples coming to relationship counselling describe that the "spark seems to have gone", or that their partner is longer the person that they remember at the start of the relationship.
A common problem is a lack of connection between you. Most often a couple will get together and be inseparable at the start of the relationship, wanting to share in all aspects of each other’s lives. Slowly - and perhaps necessarily - there is an easing of this as it settles to a less intense phase. Yet, there is a real danger here that one or both partners will start to assume that the other person knows how they feel or what they want. They may have experiences which are not communicated in as much detail. Perhaps there is less and less time for you to connect to your partner. Often we tell ourselves that we will make time for it later or that we are too tired; however, as a key relationship, we really need it to be a healthy one that we need to work at.
One of the key things that set aside relationships is shared connective experiences, which create a sense of intimacy; a reference for your relationship that you can work from. Of course, many will say that they sit in front of the TV together or that they eat together, but the element that is missing is the opportunity to bond to share. Through these shared experiences you can re-discover the person and start to get back some of that ‘spark’.
If you think about it, rituals are important in our lives; we will typically sing Happy Birthday to friends or family on their birthday; we have rituals that surround Christmas, New Year, Births and Deaths. All these help us to bond to feel part of the group.
Perhaps you can start to create your own rituals. Perhaps you and your partner can make every Monday a date night taking turns to organise what you do. If you are restricted through work or responsibility for children or others, it can be something simple like a home cooked meal at home or a massage. Anything which allows you to relax, get to know each other through experience and talking.
Perhaps almost inevitably some of the experiences will not work; one or other (indeed both) partner may hate the experience or want to change it slightly so you know next time to try to adjust your aim. This process of finding each other can be done with your partner or can work with the extra perspective of a counsellor but with a target of a better relationship, you need to be ready, aim and fire.