In a marriage or a long-term romantic relationship, it can be all too easy to get complacent and fall into bad habits. This could leave you and your partner feeling frustrated and wondering what happened to that original spark between you.
When the going gets tough, it might feel easier to give up on the relationship than to slog through the hard work of repairing what went wrong. But those who are happily married will tell you that the work is all worth it in the end.
If you feel like your relationship is in dire need of some TLC, don’t expect your spouse to read your mind. Sit down together and talk about where you are in your relationship, and where you want to be. Be kind but honest about your feelings. Then you can start taking some steps towards a healthier, happier relationship.
- First, decide together that you both want a fresh start, and that you’re both committed to making the changes your relationship needs.
- Forgive old wrongs from the past, and agree not to bring them up in future arguments.
- Agree to a new set of standards and expectations. For example, is there something you specifically want your partner to stop doing, or start doing? Do you want to rekindle an old tradition like date night, or start a new one like family night?
- Spend quality time together and make these new standards a priority. You might even want to take a short trip together, as a way of clearing your heads and starting anew.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate! Check in regularly with each other, review your agreed-upon set of standards and make sure you’re each holding up your end of the bargain.
- Show your appreciation. Thank your partner sincerely when you’re grateful for something they’ve done, and be specific about what you’re grateful for. This positive reinforcement can be a big motivation for them to keep up those positive behaviours.
- Be prepared to apologise, and admit when you get things wrong. This can be hard to do, but it makes maintaining a healthy relationship so much easier.
- If these positive changes don’t start to improve your relationship, getting professional help can make all the difference. Talk to a marriage counsellor or couples’ therapist who can give you the tools to talk through your concerns and work out your differences.
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A New Beginning
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