So how do we go about fixing a damaged relationship? You can get started with these practical tips from relationship experts;
- Think About The Reasons Why You’re Staying Together
“We’re not the same person as we were when we entered a relationship. As time goes by, our goals, preferences, wishes and desires change and we can suddenly feel like we signed up for something we don’t want anymore. Throughout the time, our partners’ personalities change and we need to reassess why we’re together and what keeps us together. To decide whether the fight for the relationship’s survival is worth the trouble, make sure to list all the reasons why you want to stay in a relationship as it will help you push forward and give you the motivation to work on it.” (Nikolina Jeric)
- Work On Your Communication
“Lack of communication can stand in the way of maintaining a good relationship. That said, if you feel like you’re hitting the bottom with your partner, make sure to establish open and honest communication and really talk about how you feel, what your plans are, and where you’re headed. Daily life can hit us pretty hard, we’re usually too tired to devote our time to communicating and working on our relationships. We fall into a routine and we come to our senses when it’s too late.” (Nikolina Jeric)
- Make Time For The Two Of You
“As I already said, the speed of life makes us pay less attention to things that matter. We have less and less time to spend on things that matter and invest our energy in relationships. Think about when was the last time you did something together and when were you two alone. Make sure to make some room for quality time – an escape from the city, dates, or volunteering together.”
Nikolina Jeric, Co-Founder of 2Date4Love
“Parenthood is hard work. Really hard. Yes, you will hopefully experience profound joy, but your life will transform in radical and profoundly challenging ways. Invariably, as parents, you make huge sacrifices, both in your individual lives and in your relationship.” says Natalie Grant, “If you don’t acknowledge this and take intentional steps to tend to your marriage, then you risk relationship burnout. Here are two vital tips for upgrading your marriage in the midst of family chaos:
- Attend To The External First
“Self-aware ‘talkers’ often want to discuss and fix uncomfortable feelings and relationship grungies as they are felt. But this isn’t always the best approach, and instead, you may want to look at externals: Are you catastrophically tired? Have you eaten recently? When was the last time you exercised?
“Physical depletion leads instantly to mental anguish. Instead of trying to talk your way out of the ensuing existential maelstrom, pause. If you can get more rest and nutrients, your inner angst may evaporate leaving you feeling clean and healthy in your and your relationship. And so, can you get to sleep earlier by leaving your phone outside the bedroom? Can you do a 15-minute kids yoga video along with your children? And is there any way you can blast a few super green smoothies during the week? Try it and see if you still need ‘that talk’.” (Natalie Grant)
- Build Something Inspirational Together
“Children don’t need to be the death knell for personal growth. No doubt you had had passions and hobbies before kids. Often engaging in these joyfully connects us to our sense of self. If you are stagnating in your relationship, then come up with a joint passion project. Keep it small and simple. Learn art together, or read the same book and have a weekly two-person book club. Moments of shared inspiration (while not attending to children’s needs) can reignite the spark that brought you together.”
Natalie Grant is a parenting expert and lifestyle blogger WeTheparents.org
- Acknowledge The Gaps And Apologize
“The first step to healing is acceptance. Both parties in the relationship have to acknowledge past faults and hurts, apologize and forgive. One thing to note is that forgiving does not mean forgetting, it is a commitment to never bring fault against the other person again.” (Rowena Murakami)
- Have Accountability Partners
“Find someone else whom the couple can be accountable to – someone they trust, unbiased, available to share their knowledge. It can be another couple, a friend they both know, an elder in their community. The important thing the accountability partners can offer is time to check in how the couple is doing and being there when they need help.”
Rowena Murakami, Co-Founder of Tiny Kitchen Divas Blog
- Acknowledge There Is A Problem
“The most important thing a couple can do to restore their marriage is to acknowledge that there is a problem as soon as they notice it. The toxicity of anger, resentment and constant conflict can quickly ruin the foundation of a once healthy marriage.
“If you notice that you are bickering frequently, keeping tabs or a ‘scorecard’ on who’s doing what chores, or if you find yourself using attacking language with your partner such as “you never…” or “I always have to….”, then your relationship is showing signs of stress.
“To restore harmony and balance, start with a conversation acknowledging the tension. Refrain from blaming one another or using insulting language. Acknowledge that it’s a joint problem and that each of you has a role to play. From there, consider if you feel this can be handled on your own or if you need to seek professional guidance from a marriage counsellor.
“In this conversation, listen to each other, offer support, apologize to each other and agree to work together on this problem. This is not the conversation to prove a point, blame, yell or shut down in silence. All healthy marriages need a strong foundation and anger can crack that sturdy foundation quickly. Remember that marriage is always a work in progress and that one conversation will not fix things. You need to create a sense of safety so that you can both express your thoughts to each other.”
Carrie Mead, LCPC Licensed Psychotherapist Maryland Counseling