Advertising
Advertising

The Only Relationship Help You Need to Save Your Relationship

The Only Relationship Help You Need to Save Your Relationship

Everyone seems to be searching for one–The One. There are enough dating sites out there to indicate that people, young and old alike, want to be in a relationship, or at least save the one they have. People want to share their lives with another person; they want a witness to their journey. It would seem then, that finding someone and living a life with that person would be a cinch, a piece of cake, a walk in the park.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

Building a strong and solid relationship can be as difficult as running a marathon without going through the proper training.

Think about it… How much training do we get in constructing and maintaining strong and healthy relationships? Parents have “The Talk” with their teens; schools focus on math and science; social media on “hooking up”, etc. But there are no schools out there that teach you how to help your relationship when it gets into trouble. And most relationships do, at one point or another. It’s a fact of life.

You can’t expect two people coming from different backgrounds to get along fabulously all the time; to never have disagreements that turn into something more serious. It is at these critical times that relationships need a save.

Perhaps you find yourself in a relationship such as this. If you do, I want to remind you that almost all relationships need saving every once in a while. That does not mean that the relationship is bad or that it’s doomed to fail. Before you call it quits, I’d like you to try the facilitative relationship savers below. They may sound silly and ineffective, but allow me to prove you wrong. They may, in fact, end up being the only relationship help you need. Remember, often the simplest things are the most effective.

Before I present you with these conducive approaches, keep in mind that in order to have a strong and healthy partnership you’ll need to have the following ingredients: 1) Trust 2) Loyalty 3) Honesty, 4) Respect, and 5) Compromise, to name but a few. The following suggestions will help you achieve these relationship must-haves.

So, without further ado, let’s begin!

1. Become Teammates

The first thing you need to remember is that you chose to make a life with this person. There are reasons you did so. No matter what’s going on right now to make you doubt that, look at your person and know that you’re both on the same team.

Advertising

Focus on your similarities; the things you love and respect about each other; the things that brought you together in the first place. Take time to review the history channel of your life with each other. You may currently be at odds, but if you say to yourself, “Wait a minute, this person is on my team. We are in this together! Maybe we just need a referee,” you might find your perspective shifting from Enemy to Ally.

Any time my husband and I have a falling out, or we start to argue, our reset is always to say: we’re on the same team! Let’s look at what’s really going on. How can we make things better, not worse?

Ask yourself, “What were our original goals? Do they need to be modified?” In her article, 12 Powerful Habits of Happy Relationships, Tiffany Mason writes, “Work as a team toward goals (short & long term).” When you understand you’re teammates, you’re more apt to want to work together for the benefit of the unit, not the benefit of the “I”. You’ll feel a camaraderie and discover that teamwork strengthens the relationship; that teamwork can save it by unifying it instead of ripping it apart.

When I was in graduate school, often times the professors would break us up into groups to work on certain projects. It would always turn out to be a huge bond-building exercise. The team members felt connected and worked steadfastly on promoting their team efforts.

2. Find a Common Ground

When you’re in the middle of a heated dispute, it’s important to find something on which you both agree. I once treated a couple fighting over what to do with their 7-year-old son. Dad wanted to send “Billy” to summer camp and Mom was dead set against it. He thought it would be good for Billy to have the experience away from home. Mom was fearful that Billy would be too far away, and should anything happen, they wouldn’t be there to care for him. The situation was tearing Mom and Dad apart. They needed a save.

Finding common ground did just that. In this case, the common ground was that they both loved Billy and wanted the best for him. Each of them had different ways of expressing that love. Once they remembered that they both had their son’s best interest at heart, they started talking. They agreed to let Billy go on the condition that they could call the camp site and check in on him. And if at any time Billy felt like he wanted to come home, they’d go pick him up. In order to find the much-needed common ground, it was necessary for both Mom and Dad to take a step back and listen to each other’s thoughts and ideas. They had to respect each other’s perspective and come to an understanding.

In an article written by Collen Morris, a counsellor and family therapist, she talks about “accepting influence.”[1] She states that in a conversation with your partner, that might mean saying “Good point”, or “I see”. She points out that, “Giving the respect of acknowledging your partner’s opinion is the beginning of negotiation…If that rarely happens in your relationship, it may be time to step back and listen to your partner’s thoughts on the subject at hand, instead of responding from a negative, closed position.”

3. Tell Your Partner What You Need

Nope, no one is a mindreader. Not you nor your partner. Yet often in relationships, you might hear someone say, “If he loved me, he’d know that I need some time away from cooking!” Or, “If she loved me, she’d let me spend some time with my buddies.”

One of the things that causes relationships to break down is a breakdown in communication. Each person is assuming that the other person should know what they want. In the film The Break-Up, starting Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn, there’s a scene that clearly encapsulates a total communication breakdown. Vince Vaughn’s character yells…

Advertising

“Fine! I’ll help you do the dishes.”

“That’s not what I want,” says Aniston’s character.

“You said that you want me to help you do the dishes.”

“I want you to want to do the dishes.”

And on it went. Neither one expressed what they wanted in a clear and concise way. This led to fight after fight until their relationship became too far gone to save.

If you want to save your relationship, one of the best saves is to communicate exactly what you need. Warning: Do not use your own personal language code.

For example, you’re sitting on the couch and are feeling a little cold. Instead of saying, “Honey, while you’re up, would you close the window for me?” You say, “I’m feeling a little chilly,” as you wrap your arms around yourself. Don’t make your partner guess, then punish them when they don’t guess correctly. It’s unfair and cruel.

You might have insight into your partner’s psyche, but you don’t know everything they need under every circumstance and vice versa. It’s important to Ask and Tell. Take all the guess work out of your relationship.

4. Give Your Undivided Attention

Recently, my husband, who installs home elevators, called to check in with me. He started telling me about the rails he was installing, the top of car wiring he still needed to do, the problematic door locks, and battery lowering something or other. He was going on and on in great detail. My eyes started glazing over. What the heck was he talking about? I found myself checking emails, Twitter, and Facebook.

Advertising

Then it hit me: I was not listening, only pretending to do so. I felt terrible. I knew better. I closed up all the windows and without any distractions, started to really listen. I realized that it was rude to be saying, “Mmm. That’s interesting! Rails? Cool!” when I had no clue what he’d said.

A relationship cannot be saved if you have no interest in your partner or what they do. Showing genuine interest in what your partner does can make or break the relationship. If your partner knows you’re interested in them, that you’re not on the phone, the computer or reading a magazine, but are truly invested in them, then you’re on your way to creating a stellar coupledom.

Your undivided attention can breathe life into a dying relationship. Why? Because it makes the person feel heard and special, as if they really matter. And isn’t that what we all want?

5. Play Games Together

No, not mind games. When was the last time you sat down and played Scrabble? Truth or Dare? Deal or No Deal. Playing together can be a way to bring fun back into a withering relationship.

When all you do is work and take care of business, letting your hair down and having some time together playing a game (that you can make trés romantique), might just be the save you need to bring your problematic relationship to life.

Playing games can, 1) Add a fun, competitive edge to your relationship. 2) Make you laugh. And 3) Get you in a good mood.

Being in a rut is one of the things that can make a couple feel as if their life together is circling the drain. No relationship is dead until one or both people give up. Before you do, get creative. You will be surprised how doing something as simple as playing a game can relax you and diminish any stress that’s currently infecting your connection with each other.

6. Send a Quote

Before you think I’ve lost my marbles, hear me out. Imagine that you’re really upset at your partner. Your anger has been bubbling for a while. He comes home every night and sits in front of the TV. It’s his way of winding down, but you feel excluded and unloved. You start to think, “hmm… this marriage sucks. It’s dead in the water.” You go upstairs to fold laundry and hear your phone vibrate. When you pick it up, you read: “You are the sexiest woman alive. So glad I married you.” How mad will you be then? I’d venture to guess, not so much. This is an invaluable save.

Don’t be underwhelmed by its simplicity. I guarantee you that if you send love quotes to your partner on a regular basis, you will be pleasantly surprised. Just this morning, after my husband left for work, I decided to send my own love quote. I wanted to test out the theory for myself. I texted, “My life wouldn’t be the same without you.” No more than three minutes passed before I received the following text in return, “Nor would mine, hon! You are the light that shines in my heart.” Awww…that made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I guarantee it will do the same for you.

Advertising

Sending loves quotes works! This is probably one of the most effectual saves. It’s easy, can evoke immediate feelings of love, and dissipate any residual anger you might have over some stupid, petty thing. I highly encourage you try it.

Final Thoughts

Right about now, you might be thinking to yourself, these “saves” are too simplistic. Being teammates, finding common ground, talking to your partner, paying attention, playing games, sending quotes? No way could any of these save my messed up relationship.

I beg to differ. All you have to do is implement these saves into your relationship. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Try one, two, three, or all of them. But give it the good, old college try.

Broken relationships can be fixed. But there has to be a genuine desire to do so.

You have to be willing to fight for the relationship, not to fight with each other to get out of it.

All relationships face challenges at one point or another. Don’t let that scare you. It is just an indication that you have to pay closer attention to what’s going on. Consider it a nudge. You may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Just refocus and get back on track before the relationship crashes.

“All relationships go through hell, real relationships get through it.” — TheloveBits

Using the six saves above can inject some much needed and beautiful energy into your troubled liaison. Sometimes all you need is to hit the reset button and start anew.

So what are you waiting for? Hit RESET!

More About Saving a Relationship

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Rossana Snee

Rossana is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She aspires to motivate, to inspire, and to awaken your best self!

How to Be a Better Parent: 11 Things to Remember What Is Attachment Parenting and Does It Work? How to Love Someone in the Way They Need How to Be a Successful And Happy Stay at Home Mom What to Do If You Grew up in a Dysfunctional Family

Trending in Relationships

1 3 Simple Signs of a Strong and Healthy Relationship 2 How to Deal With the 15 Most Common Marriage Problems 3 10 Ways To Fix A Bad Relationship 4 How to Overcome Jealousy in a Relationship 5 How to Stop Nagging And Communicate With Your Partner Better

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

Advertising

2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

Advertising

Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

Advertising

12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

Read Next