So, you have been in your relationship long enough to know that it’s not all roses and daisies. There are highs and lows, good times and bad. It reminds me of the best advice I ever received… A seasoned married couple (who both happened to be marriage counselors) gave me and my wife simple but strong advice – stay committed. This article will help you to handle those all-too-normal ups and downs more successfully and stay committed in your relationship.
In your relationship, you will hear a million different ways to keep your relationship alive that are nearly impossible. For example, “Have 5 good experiences for every 1 bad experience.” Let’s be honest – a lot of the time that is not possible and you may have 10 bad experiences to every 1 good experience. When you hear that advice, it does not make you feel hopeful. You begin to think – “If I am supposed to have that many good times, then I am definitely not in the right relationship.” Once again – those down times are normal. Recognize that your relationship does not need to be mind-blowing, every day and all the time. This recognition will lift a heavy burden off your back. Don’t believe all of the bad advice out there that puts you even more in a lull.
Next, Take Straight Forward Steps
As a couples’ therapist, there is not a lot of black and white. However, in getting through the rough patches and thriving in your relationship, there are some straightforward steps that can be applied to nearly every relationship:
- During the down times, regularly remind yourself all the positives about your partner. It is especially important to recognize the positives when you are in a relationship drought and you are only seeing the negatives. When you are feeling hopeless, remember that they love and care about you but they are just having a difficult moment.
- Take action! If you want to see something different in your relationship, think of how it can change – starting with you. Plan a date, surprise them with a kiss, send them a love letter… Do something out of the ordinary! The reason why is because you were doing actions in the relationship that led you to this point, without changing those actions, things will stay the same.
- When things are going well, enjoy the moment. If you are at one of the “up” times in your relationship, savor the experience. As much as possible, put your thoughts about work or other duties to the side. Focus on what you are doing right now. Those moments will keep pushing you forward but if you are busy thinking of something else, you might as well physically not be there either.
In a relationship, ups and downs are completely normal. There is plenty of unrealistic advice out there that will lead you to believe that you are in a hopeless situation. Ignore that advice and focus on what’s next for your own relationship. During down times, remind yourself of the positives in your partner. To make a change happen, take it upon yourself and do something out of the ordinary. When things are going well, savor the moment and put aside your distractions. Implement this advice regularly and you will withstand the rollercoaster ride that is every committed relationship.
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He focuses on working with with couples in high conflict and couples who are experiencing substance abuse. Living in Colorado, Chris enjoys hiking traveling and anything else outdoors.