You want a fulfilling and satisfying relationship. Otherwise, what's the point of being in a relationship. Or, at least, you did before the marriage doldrums set in. You know, where you became complacent and accepted that this is as good as it gets.
You know you are in the doldrums when:
If you believe that the spark of love fades, you might think the doldrums are inevitable. It is where you park your marriage when you are busy doing other things. That it is safe because you already did the work to build the relationship at the beginning, right? So, it should sustain itself without much work.
But, the doldrums can also be dangerous.
In the doldrums, your relationship can drift away. You start to believe that your partner doesn’t care about you or the relationship. You wonder if you have both lost the enthusiasm to put any work into the relationship. You worry that your partner isn't your person. This is when couples cope in unhealthy ways. You are at risk of:
If you are going to park your relationship in neutral, even for good reasons, it is vital that the relationship already be functioning well.
There are three systems that have to work well to an extraordinary relationship. When they do, your relationship will better weather the times when you are busy, distracted or dealing with an external crisis.
The 3 systems that must function well:
1. YOU NEED GOOD RELATIONSHIP HABITS.
We all have habits in our relationship. Good relationship habits allow your relationship continues to grow even when you aren’t focused on it. They are the actions and events that happen automatically in your relationship. They are small events that happen regularly. Some examples are daily check-ins, greeting one another in the morning or when you get home, or having a weekly date night.
Your relationship will work well for you when good habits happen everyday.
2. YOU NEED A PROCESS TO SOLVE PROBLEMS.
Every couple has to work through problems in the relationship. When this system works well, either of you can:
If you often argue, get stuck, or off track when you deal with issues, then you need to improve your process of solving problems.
Imagine relationship growth as you work through their disagreements.
3. YOU NEED EFFECTIVE WAYS TO MAKE REPAIRS.
All couples hurt one another. I wish there were a way to love someone else without ever getting hurt by them, but I have never seen it happen. Small hurts include harsh statements, letting your partner down, or being ignored. Big hurts include lies, affairs, and abandonment.
Couples who have extraordinary relationships take action to repair these relationship injuries. They use apologies, intentional nice activities, and/or changed behavior. You need a set of repair tools that clean up relationship messes when they happen.
Time won’t always heal relationship wounds. Sometimes you need to do something to make up for the hurt.
You need all three of these systems to work well to both of your satisfaction. When you do that, you have a better chance of letting your relationship work in the background.
Not sure how your relationship ranks in these areas? I have created a free worksheet for you to take a closer look at the three systems so you can develop a game plan. It is a guide so you can take stock of each system. Then you will have a clear idea of where to invest your time and energy to get the relationship you REALLY want. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD
If you still have questions, schedule a free phone consultation to learn how Couples Relationship Coaching can help you. CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE
Remember: you are working on the relationship so you can live well together. When you live well together, your relationship becomes a source of stability and energy that you can use to be successful in other areas of your life.
Cheri Timko is the creator of Synergy Coaching, an online community helping committed couples have great relationships. Learn more about how to get involved in this movement of couples who don't just want to stay together but want to thrive together here.