Every couple has their ups and downs, their successes and failures, their joys and sorrows. The good times can be exciting and even elating as we face joys together with a partner. Marriage, the birth of a child, new jobs, new homes, family vacations, and even just lazy Sunday afternoons are examples of enjoyable experiences magnified by sharing them with a partner or spouse. Even life’s difficulties are somehow more tolerable when we have the support of our partner. We are able to rely upon each other for strength, courage, and guidance.
Unfortunately, there are also times when our relationship is a source of great stress. We become irritated, hurt, disappointed, and downright angry with our partner. And guess what? They get irritated, hurt, disappointed, and angry with us too. Yes, this is par for the course, the nature of the proverbial beast. Life is not perfect, nor is our partner. While this period of unhappiness is often temporary, spending more time feeling unhappy than happy in your relationship leads to one path; misery for both of you.
Fortunately, we are only as doomed as far as our unwillingness to change. Some habits are ones we need to stop, and some we need to start.
· Let go of the past
We’ve all made mistakes. Just like you wouldn’t want someone to bring up your shortcomings long after you’ve made your amends, your partner doesn’t appreciate it either. Learn to forgive.
· Accept imperfections
We all have them. Love your partner not only for their strengths, but also for their faults. Their faults are just as much a part of who they are as their desirable qualities are.
· Do things together
Not just trips or movies or family outings, but simple everyday things. Eat dinner together, every night if possible. Cook together. Go to bed together. Go grocery shopping together. You will learn so many new things about each other.
· Stop the silent treatment
How can you expect your partner to understand your feelings if you don’t share them first?
Maintaining a healthy relationship is hard work. Hopefully we aren’t making it harder than it needs to be.
Dr. Kelly Renzi, PsyD