If you stop for a moment and take a good look at the relationship you have with your partner, are you connecting on a deep and intimate level? Or do you find that over time, you’ve grown apart?
This happens often in long-term relationships. Marriage, careers, kids, activities, laundry, bills… before you know it you are waking up next to your roommate, instead of your lover and best friend. Relationships take work and when that work is no longer on the top of your priority list, that strong and loving connection you had when you first met can slowly drift away. Guess what? You can get it back! You just need to be willing to put in a little extra time and energy.
Be a Good Listener
Work at showing your partner that you are interested in what they have to say. Make eye contact. Put your phone down or pause the TV (you don’t even have to miss anything.) Ask questions and engage in the conversation. Think about this… when you ask a question, you are letting the other person know you are interested enough in what they have to say that you are making the effort to find out more.
Have Fun Together
Remember how much fun you had with your partner when you first got together? Who says that can’t continue throughout the relationship? It takes the ability to set aside all of the stressors that are hovering over you and influencing your mood. Take the time to bump your relationship to the top of your priority list. Go out on a date. Dance around the house. Playfully tease each other. Have inside jokes. Search for fun activities to do together that you both enjoy and then make it happen.
Quit Taking It Personally
Everybody has a bad day every now and then. It is so easy to assume that we are the reason for our partners’ mood, tone, or general negativity. You’re not a mind reader so just ask. Say the words out loud. For example, say something like “I am sensing that you’re upset, are you okay?” or, “I feel really hurt by what you just said, did you mean for it to come out that way?” Whatever the situation, communicate with each other. Try to remember that, most of the time, it’s not really about you so… quit taking it personally.
Although intimacy in a relationship is just one piece of the puzzle, it is an important piece to consider. Connect on a deeper level. Discuss your feelings about topics. Touch… whether it is sitting close on the couch, a brush of your hand on your partner’s back as you walk by, cuddling in bed before you both fall asleep, or holding hands. Touch each other. And yes, have sex. Aside from sex, another way to connect on a deeper level with your partner which strengthens your relationship, sex can relieve stress, increase your blood flow, improve your self-confidence, regulate hormone levels in women, and can actually help you live longer.
Everyone’s situation is different, and this list may not be enough. There are going to be times in a relationship when things have gone too far down the path of negativity and it is a big struggle to find your way back. If you are at this point, you may need to seek professional help. There are counselors out there that can assist you and your partner through this difficult time. Give us a call at Texas Harmony Counseling in The Woodlands or contact us here.
There is hope!