Are you feeling disconnected from your partner? Are you wondering why did I get married? Any questions you may be having regarding your relationship is normal. Think back to the moment you fell in love with your partner. Wasn’t it easy? Falling in love is one of the easiest, effortless things you’ve ever done or will ever do. Why? Because love has a way of making the colors seem brighter, your walk becomes stronger. And somehow having that new love in your life that becomes your other half to walk along the earth which changes things.
Staying in love takes effort
Now, come to the present moment. Staying in love takes effort, doesn’t it? Notice I didn’t say work. Staying in love takes effort because getting to know the ins and outs of the person that you choose to be your partner in life.
Getting to know each other takes time
A couple that has thirty years of experience in their relationship, took them thirty years to achieve. Please don’t expect to be in a place where arguments don’t happen during your first years of marriage. You’re going to argue, you’re going to have to learn how to compromise if you want to stay married.
Here are a couple of ways you can learn how to protect your relationship from falling apart and potentially help you generate strength within your relationship.
1. Maintain your identity
Maintaining your identity in your relationship is extremely important. Ask yourself, who am I? If you can’t answer that question clearly and honestly, you’re running the risk of losing yourself inside your relationship.
This is an issue I see more than I want to in my private practice. Within your relationship, it’s very easy to fall into the spell of the other especially in the beginning when you still have your rose-colored glasses on.
At times, you may forget to protect your own relationship with yourself while keeping your identity and focus solely on the relationship you’re having with your boyfriend, girlfriend, partner or spouse. Keep yourself in mind at all times.
Remember the easiness that exists in taking care of others and not yourself. Be who you are within the relationship.
2. Continue to go out with your friends
Continue to do things only for you. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be providing your relationship with a healthy individual. Make sure you still feel free in your relationship. If you don’t feel free in your relationship obviously there will be some issues.
If the issues are couple related and you decide to go to therapy, always consider going to therapy as a couple first. Here’s why, when you go to therapy as a couple you will both grow within the relationship.
If you go alone, you’ll be the only one growing and your partner will stay behind. That disbalance will disturb the status quo and throw off the ‘norm’ of your relationship. Depending on the strength of your relationship’s foundation, that disbalance can possibly lead to domestic violence.
3. Stay connected
Couples tend to make huge amounts of space between them when things get difficult. This space creates way too much distance and that distance creates disengagement, resentment, and confusion.
Remember that you’re married not single. Stay connected by checking in with yourself and ask yourself the difficult questions, why am I really disengaging? Am I detaching from my partner before he or she does? Or, am I disengaging because I have attachment issues and feel better being independent? How comfortable am I receiving love?
Some people are so comfortable being so independent that they don’t allow their partners to love them and nourish them how they, the partner knows how. Make sure this isn’t you.
When things get hard to remember why you fell in love. Validate your partner’s experience by listening and really trying to understand their emotions. Empathize with your partner instead of going into defense mode.
Here’s a quick tip, when your partner is expressing themselves and you’re doing the listening don’t start your sentences with the word ‘I’. The moment you verbalize the word ‘I’, you’re about to make the discussion about you.
Don’t do that.
Instead say, what I hear you say is XYZ am I correct?
Another word to look out for is ‘but’.
The moment you say, ‘I hear what you’re saying XYZ, ‘BUT’ you’re about to discount everything prior to the word ‘but’.
Don’t do that either.
Instead, sit with what your partner has shared with you. If you feel the need to ‘but’ it out, there’s something uncomfortable with what they’ve shared with you. Now, if you’re doing the expressing and your partner is doing the listening share what I’ve just shared with you in this article with them first.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More by Maria Rivera Heath