The Ups and Downs of Relationships

Do you feel like your relationship is Failing?

Every relationship has its ups and downs. It is inevitable, really. We grow as human beings, life circumstances change, and new stressors emerge. All of these things are out of our control, and, as significant as they are, we may pay little attention to the changes as they become an intimate part of our every day life.

People tend to believe that we have control over  our relationships. Thus, nothing quite as disquieting as when your marriage or relationship is doing poorly and you don't know why or how to fix it. You feel it when you wake up; you notice it during dinner. Sexual intimacy with your partner starts to dwindle, and your patience begins to snap. Suddenly you find that your relationship is in an uncomfortable, dark place, and you’re not certain when or how this happened. If you are starting to feel or notice these signs, here are five things you can do to get your marriage back on track.

Schedule a date night.

No matter how busy you are, schedule a night out with your partner. Date nights are essential to relational intimacy as they ensure you and your partner have dedicated one-on-one time without the busyness of life getting in the way. The simple act of getting ready to go out is also important. Make it easy – nothing over the moon or strenuous. Perhaps go play miniature golf, or dinner and a movie. The goal? Have fun - together.

Turn down the volume in your life.

Often, stress in your relationship is the result of the stress you or your partner is feeling individually. The stress of being over committed, running from event to event, or having a demanding work schedule can all contribute to relationship dissatisfaction. Reduce your social and work calendar as best you can and be more present in your relationship. Saying “no” can be hard, but by doing so you will create more space for your relationship.

Take care of yourself.

We mean this in the simplest of ways. If you haven’t worked out in ages, get out there. Even a brisk walk for 15 minutes a day will help. Get enough sleep. Eat healthy foods and take care of yourself ascetically.  Do things for yourself that make you feel attractive and energized.  Feeling unattractive can erode your self-worth and cause a negative outlook.

Really assess your unhappiness.

You and your partner are having a bad few months, and suddenly you think your relationship is on its way out.  It may or may not be. Make a list of what is contributing to your unhappiness. Some things on the list may have nothing to do with your partner, but instead are all about you. You may also notice that your list is really long, or really short. This simple exercise can provide a new perspective on what is really happening and how dire the situation may be.

Consider getting outside help.

If after trying each of these steps you are still not noticing any changes, or you have just reached your wit’s end, consider getting help from another resource. Talking to a trusted friend, reading a self-help book (visit our library), or considering couples therapy are all good options to explore as they can help guide you to a better understanding of what is happening in your relationship, and what you can do to change it for the better.