Often when you feel that your relationship is on the rocks, the first thing on your mind is how to stop it from ending and how to make the other person stay. But if there is something seriously wrong, then convincing your partner not to leave and convincing yourself that you have to stay together without working on the problems that you have together is like putting a bandage over a gunshot wound: it might look and feel a bit better in the short term, but it’s just not good enough and at its most basic, it is the wrong thing to do. You cannot continue to build on damaged foundations and the same applies to a relationship. You must work together to break it down and re-build it stronger and there are many ways to do this, but they all revolve around a few basic tenets. Communication, trust, mutual understanding, hard work and commitment are needed in every relationship.
A healthy relationship always involves communication. But when hurt feelings are involved it is often difficult to communicate in a clear and rational way, and discussions often devolve into arguments which solve nothing. If you feel like you need some pointers on how to stop fighting and start talking, there are some hints and tips to be found in this short online class.
Figuring out what is essentially broken with your relationship is the first step to healing it and moving forward in a new way together. Set aside a time with no distractions to commit fully to discussing your problems in a frank and open manner. Allow your partner time to speak without interrupting and without jumping to conclusions, and try not to get angry. Then take your own turn to air your personal issues. Once you have each had your turn to speak, you can then begin to discuss them, again trying to keep things calm and free from upset. It is natural to get emotional when someone you care about is outlining your failures or weak points, but only by addressing them can you overcome them. Your partner is not trying to hurt you or make you feel bad. Try to view it as constructive criticism, which you can use to improve yourself. Once the pair of you have discovered the things that are holding you back, you can work together to overcome them.
For further information and tips on making your relationship work, try this course, which offers different viewpoints that you may not have considered.
Time is an important factor in helping to mend a broken relationship. Even if the both of you work together and talk through a problem or upset that you might have had, people’s memories are long. You may have chosen to forgive each other for whatever transgressions that may have caused the rift in your relationship, but just because you have forgiven, doesn’t mean you will forget. The old adage “time is a healer” is true, and this is both fortunate and unfortunate. While it is good news that, given time, you will both feel better – it is a shame that even with the best will in the world, you cannot just decide to be happy and you cannot just decide to forget. You must both be prepared to have patience and trust that things will get better over time.
One thing that must always be taken into account when trying to mend a rift in a relationship is whether both people want the same thing. Although it is sad to say, a relationship will rarely work when one person is more invested than the other, or when one person intends it to last longer than the other. Again, communication is key to establish a baseline of understanding from where both of you can grow together.
If your partner has expressed concern over your attitude, or was otherwise upset by something you’ve done, perhaps this course in Managing Your Own Mind within a relationship will help you to understand what you need to change about yourself to make your relationship work. Recognising your own failings and your own abilities is a powerful tool in all aspects of life but especially in a relationship. Own your mistakes, take full responsibility for them but also take responsibility for your future growth. If your partner also does this, then the two of you can flourish together.
Despite the foundation of a great relationship being communication and trust, it is never an easy ride. Commitment is important, you and your partner must agree together to work at your relationship every day if you want it to succeed. Make a plan and stick to it, work together going forward and if you find that things get worse instead of better, agree together to change your plan because it isn’t working. You cannot give up on bad days or when things get tough, if you want things to be easy on the good days.
Arguments are natural in relationships but if they are not constructive, then they are destructive. If the pair of you are constantly struggling to be the ‘winner’ of any argument, you are not even listening to each other and cannot work together to overcome the cause of the argument. Stop struggling to be the one who is right or the one in charge and you will truly be able to come together as a couple, a partnership. Taking equal responsibility and equal roles allows each of you to feel fully valued in your relationship and as long as you each listen to each other and allow each other the space and time needed to grow closer together, you will have a solid foundation for a long lasting relationship going forward.
For tips on Making Your Relationship Last Forever, here is another useful short course. Good luck!