In the beginning, it’s good. You’re in love, you’ve found the perfect partner. You can overlook those little imperfections because, on balance, all of the good outweighs the bad by miles. Maybe you don’t even notice those little imperfections. You both try hard to be the other’s ‘one’, to delight the other, and life is really good. You’re on cloud 9. Every day is sunny.
Then the initial buzz wears off. Life happens. You become less interested in being the other’s ‘one’ and more consumed with the business of living life. And those little imperfections start to loom large. You want your partner to just stop _______ (insert your list of pet peeves here). You start arguing. You list of things you don’t like about your partner starts to grow. You feel less satisfied with your relationship. You start complaining about some of those things to your friends. They support you. You start having cloudy days. Some might be outright rainy, cold and miserable.
Does this sound like you? It’s not uncommon.
Can you turn things around? Maybe. It will take some time and effort. Did you believe those fairy tales? How the prince and princess fall in love and live happily ever after (with seemingly no effort)? Sorry, I hate to burst your bubble. It doesn’t work that way. Good relationships require work and commitment and effort. So, are you willing to give it a go?
You’ve probably spent a lot of time thinking about what you want out of your relationship. Thinking about what is wrong. Here’s a challenge, can you define what you want IN your relationship? Can you sit down and list 50 things you really want in your relationship. Wow. That’s a lot! How can you come up with 50!?!? You can. I have faith!
At the top of the page write your favourite thing about your partner. Then, start your list.
You can include things that you want to keep that are there now. You can include things that you never had but you want now. That’s OK. We learn and grow and change as we get older.
Feeling stuck? OK, break out that list of things you don’t like. Example: I want my partner to stop ignoring me. Now, what do you want your partner to do instead? I would like my partner to come home from work and talk to me about how my day was, ask me what I did and why.
Once you have your list, challenge yourself further. Can you explain for each item what difference it would make to you to have that in your relationship? Example: I would feel honoured and cherished by my partner. I would feel I’m important in my partner’s life.
Now comes the real challenge…
Can you share this list with your partner and challenge them to join you? Ideally, you will develop this list TOGETHER without judgement. You don’t need to agree on every item. This is an exercise in learning what is important to each of you and why. You will learn about your partner’s love language without realising it (more on that in another post later). This list should be living, just like your relationship. Revisit it. Own it, and live it.
If you are feeling this is a bit beyond what your relationship can withstand, consider getting some help. You deserve to be content!