These truths can help you become better partners for each other and create a marriage full of real, lasting love and a blissful connection…
Falling in love is amazing! The excitement of meeting someone new brings out the best in all of us. The journey ahead feels like an open road full of possibility.
But then something happens. The relationship might start feeling stale. Perhaps money issues, kids, or trying to figure out a comfortable work-life balance comes into play. Whatever the cause, the initial spark dims or goes out altogether, and the future of your marriage becomes a long and winding road, full of pit stops and flat tires.
One of the best ways to fix your marriage, is to check in and ensure that you’re thinking about it the right way
Well, don’t worry because this happens to everyone. All it means is that it’s time for a tune-up, such as a fresh look at the communication in your relationship. With some new skills and strategies in place, you can fall back in love with your husband or wife again.
You see, most people spend a lot of time and energy finding our perfect partners. So, by the time we say “I do”, we assume (and fervently hope) that the work is over.
The idea of having to spend time working on your marriage may seem strange or even depressing, but it’s worth it. And if you are truly interested in learning how to save your marriage, work is what takes.
Fortunately, even if it feels like your whole relationship needs an overhaul, deepening the emotional intimacy in your marriage doesn’t have to be a gruelling process.
With the right tools, the suffering can end, and you won’t have to resort to negativity or nagging anymore as you move forward together.
One of the best ways to fix your marriage, is to check in and ensure you’re thinking about it the right way.
After working with thousands of couples – and on our own marriage, as well – we’ve distilled some essential truths that help couples keep their relationships fresh as they navigate the life-long experience of growing real love.
Here are our four best tips on how to improve communication skills, be more positive and end the nagging in your relationship so you can fall back in love again:
1. Think of conflict as an opportunity for growth
Conflict is growth trying to happen. Yet most people believe that if you’re having problems in your marriage, you’re with the wrong person. So, when conflict gets heated and gnarly, they wonder if it’s time to bail… and it’s not!
Rather, if you’re willing to work with the conflict, there is something wonderful and amazing waiting for you right around the corner. The key is learning how to work with conflict creatively, in ways that help both you and your partner grow.
Plus, just changing your perspective so that you view conflict as an opportunity – an indicator that it’s time to grow – can help ease the troubles you’re having.
If you want your relationship to grow, you have to get rid of all the negativity. Yes, all of it
2. Know that it’s (probably) not them; it’s you
90% of the upset you feel with your partner comes from your past. It’s true! So, stop blaming your partner. We know that it’s hard to do, especially when you feel miserable and it seems as though the source of your misery is, well, that annoying person you’re married to.
But here’s the thing: We fall head over heels in love with someone who is similar to our parents, which is a mysterious design that holds the potential for deep, abiding connection – once you get past all the squabbling.
So, the next time you feel your blood boiling, remind yourself: This feeling has more to do with my past than my present with my partner!
3. Remember that a laugh a day keeps the divorce lawyer away
Sometimes we’re so busy working on our relationships that we forget to enjoy them. And what’s the point of doing all of that work if you’re not having fun with your partner?
Using humour and joy is critical to a couple’s happiness together.
Now, this doesn’t mean you get to dust off your passive-aggressive tendencies and use “humour” to zing your partner with little digs or critiques. What it means is that you have our permission to go out and have fun. So, create fun times together by mixing things up a little. Try dance lessons, or a cooking class.
4. Ditch the negativity
Why are we so inclined to focus on what’s bad instead of what’s good? Every relationship (including ours, once upon a time) contains at least some negativity, and the amount of negativity in a relationship is directly proportional to the amount of trouble it’s in.
Negativity includes any/all words, tone of the voice, facial expressions and/or behaviour that your partner says feels negative to them. And yes, rolling your eyes counts.
You see, negativity is like rat poison; nothing can grow in it!
So, if you want your relationship to grow, you have to get rid of all the negativity. Yes, all of it.
We finally did, and in fact, our zero tolerance policy is the single most effective strategy we’ve used to create and sustain real love.
These truths can help you become better partners for each other and create a marriage full of real, lasting love and a blissful connection.
Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. and Helen LaKelly Hunt, Ph.D. are partners in life and work. Their book, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples has sold over 4 million copies worldwide and was just released as a fully updated and revised edition. They are the co-creators of Imago Relationship Theory & Therapy, which has spread globally through Imago Relationships Worldwide, an organization that has trained over 2,500 therapists in over 53 countries. For more information, please visit their website.
This article was first featured on YourTango.