Did you spend your holiday reconnecting or disconnecting from your significant other?
When we think about the holidays we imagine sun, laughter, relaxation, fun family time, socialising….. Was that your reality these holidays or was this just an unreal expectation?
Often couples come back from summer holidays questioning their relationship, thinking to themselves, ‘I deserve better’, ‘I deserve happiness’! However, they are often apprehensive to take the steps necessary to make a change and either just do nothing and grow more and more resentful, or they simply choose to leave without exploring all the options first, causing breakdowns in the family unit and future communications.
As a divorce and relationship coach I explore this scenario with clients and where exactly the relationship is, what action steps they have taken to turn the relationship around and what they are willing to do next.
Nothing in life comes easy and a committed long term relationship is not without its ups and downs. All good things take time, hard work and commitment from both parties. Now I can give you many tips on how to try and rekindle the love, shower each other in affection and commitment once again, but in order to get to that point you need to go back to basics. Beginning often with rebuilding the trust, working out what both of your core values are and learning how to express and be clear about them. Communicating to each other what your hopes and dreams are within the relationship, your life and future together, simply asking how can we better take care of each other? Being vulnerable and authentic about your needs and desires, so you both have a better understanding of each other. Learning to love yourself again, to allow your partner to also love who you are too.
Just because you have been together for years does not mean your partner can now read your mind! Throughout your lives together you must be clear on what you want from your partner, to be able to allow him/her to fulfil your needs, wants or desires. Men often give in the relationship what they want or need from their partner or what brings them joy and pleasure and woman give what they are needing from the relationship, therefore you are both meeting your own needs but not necessarily each other’s, so there is still dissatisfaction at the end of the day on both parts. I.e. men tend to show love by doing things that bring them a great sense of joy and satisfaction, like cleaning the cars and mowing the lawns, and woman will give hugs or ask for quality time together, rather than appreciating the clean car and mowed lawns, but you see its not fulfilling each other’s needs you are for filling your own.
So rather than your resenting them for never being able to meet your hidden expectations, you need to be grateful to your partner for the things they DO by thanking them and then asking for what YOU need. Remember communicate them! Have a think right now; do you know what your partner’s hopes, dreams or desires are for the relationship or your lives together? (This can be anything from physical, emotional needs to tangible, financial, splitting chores, anything you think of). Even if you think you do know theirs, just ask them….you could be surprised…..If at first you find it hard to speak your needs, sit down together and write them out and swap pieces of paper, over time it will get easier and more comfortable to talk about what you need from them, to be in a healthy happy relationship long term. (Men think of it as a shopping list, so keep is short and simple ladies) you can re-do this exercise many times throughout your years together. It doesn’t
have to be EVERYTHING all in the first list. Just a few of your main focus points to begin with.
There are many many other ways to improve communication within your relationship but for now start by, avoiding negative comments or criticising each other, model the way you yourself would like your partner to speak to you, with love and compassion and even a wee bit of empathy sometimes. Just simply be kind to each other! You will be surprised how modelling good behaviours can turn communications around between you both in time. Be kind to each other, be respectful and talk calmly. Be curious and ask questions, show interest in them and how their day was or how they are feeling about something, they should in time be able to do the same back to you.
Collaborate together when problems need to be resolved, ask them to help you understand the situation better, so you can have a more respectful conversation about a problem before its blows up into a disagreement. Being Cool, Calm and collected where at all possible, is a good way forward to rebuilding the relationship. And listen really listen to what each other has to say. Whether the relationship goes the distance or not, you are still better off at the end of the day if you can both be mature respectful adults when communicating with each other. You both at least deserve that right!
For further support or one on one coaching to help improve your relationship or communication,