Relationships, as wonderful and rewarding as they can be, are not always easy to maintain. Like so many valuable things in life, we need to preen and nurture them if we want to get them to grow into a union that spans decades or longer. While it is generally easy to put in the effort at the beginning of a new and exciting relationship, many of us fall into the same trap of allowing our relationship to feel stagnant and unexciting once the sheen has worn off. It doesn’t have to be like this though, and there are plenty of ways to put a rocky relationship back on track, or simply ‘spice up’ one that is currently beginning to wane, but first you need to start by looking at yourself.
First, look within
Looking after your own mental wellbeing is not as selfish as you may first think. For you and your partner to both be happy in your relationship, you need to be happy within yourself first. Relying on someone else for your happiness not only puts undue pressure on the relationship, but also leaves you in a difficult position should the worse happen. Your partner of course should be a ‘crutch to lean on’ during times of trouble, but having a stable foundation of your own will allow you to concentrate on actually building a strong union together.
Looking at your relationship as bonus in life, rather than a ‘norm’ can actually make you value it more. Sometimes when we are in bad relationships, we excuse the bad parts simply because we are terrified of being on our own. Instead, we should feel that the relationship adds value to our already happy lives, rather than the vessel that barely keeps us ‘mentally afloat’.
If you find yourself in a relationship where you aren’t happy, it could be a good idea to look into whether you are actually unhappy with the relationship, or just your own situation. ‘Mindfulness’ courses, or meditative phone apps can help you relax, and take stock of your life, while working out your issues. Once you have own problems identified, it should be much easier to look at others that you may share.
Advice can give fresh perspectives
Advice, is also never a bad thing to receive when you are having difficulties, and can’t seem to find a way to sort through them. Whether the advice comes in the form of guidance counselling, friends and family who know you well, or even psychics who specialise in helping troubled couples, hearing a fresh perspective on a topic can sometimes provide us with a new angle that we hadn’t considered before. From within, we only see one side, so if you are finding yourselves at a stalemate, seeking guidance should be looked at as the next step to restoring your relationship to the one it was when you first met.
It also goes without saying, that if you feel that your relationship is on the wane, you need to spend some valuable time together if you ever hope to get things back on track. This is especially important if either of you are feeling a little ‘taken for granted’ or have a nagging feeling of drifting apart. It is amazing how many people want to repair a damaged relationship without putting in much effort, and if you fall into that category, you may need to give yourself a little reality check.
Make time for each other
This also means some valuable 1-on-1 time, which, while difficult for those of us with families, means time that is dedicated to those in that relationship. If you have children and it is possible to have them looked after once a month, use that time to rekindle the love that at one time, most probably consumed you. The older we get, the easier it is to become entangled in the stresses and strains of life, and lose sight of the more important things. When this happens, take a step back, and make time for each other. Making ‘date night’ a regular thing is not only a great way of getting those feelings back on track, but also keep the excitement going, as you plan for the next night out in advance. Break with routine, and start embracing your adventurous side again. Never eaten in Nepalese restaurant? Then do it. Never spent the weekend on a canal boat? Do it; and suddenly your pursuit of romantic bliss is also improving your social life.
Keeping a relationship exciting isn’t always easy, and many things will get in the way, for all but the very lucky few. The key is to acknowledge when things are starting to become a little mundane, and act accordingly. There are very few things in life that hold value, but require no effort; and relationships are no exception. So before you throw in the towel, make a little time for you and your partner, and rediscover what originally drew you both together. You may realise that your relationship is something worth fighting for after all.