When partners relate automatically rather than mindfully, they will eventually get stuck in a pattern that makes real intimacy impossible. That pattern can take a variety of forms–avoiding certain topics, feeling bored with your partner, walking on eggshells, frequent fights or misunderstandings, or all of the above.
When things get tense, stuck, volatile, stale, or boring, try these simple practices to deepen your love:
- Remember what first attracted you. Have a conversation where you share about what drew you to each other in the beginning. When couples come to me for coaching, I often ask them to tell me the story of how they met and what first attracted them to one another.
When a couple gets trapped in ongoing distress and reactivity, each partner feels a lack of ability to turn things around. Each concludes the other needs to change in order to reduce tension, upset, distancing, or discontent. As if taking a victim role, each believes they have no power to influence the situation.
A major turning point comes when partners discover the power to change their dynamic. This occurs when someone makes a new move in the dance that gets better results. In our coaching practice, we often help partners make new moves. An example is when a normally avoidant person discovers the positive impact of moving toward their upset partner. This is a dance move opposite of the self-protective distancing they normally do. They find out the power of this new dance step in that it actually calms the tension they typically attempt to dance away from. Continue reading
Falling in love is the easy part. Staying in love is another matter. Some couples seem blessed with everlasting love. Then there’s the rest of us — who start running into trouble once the honeymoon is over. We encounter differences, disagreements, disappointments. Buttons get pushed. We watch helplessly as loving feelings start to fade in the face of misunderstandings, blowups, shutdowns, or vicious communication cycles.
What is the main difference between couples who share ongoing happiness and those who don’t? Couples who keep love alive know how to repair. They are good at quickly attending to the little glitches that every relationship encounters. All couples go in and out of synch and will occasionally be at odds. Distress gets stirred up even in the best relationships. How it is handled makes all the difference. Continue reading