How much do you value your relationship?
Every now and then I speak to couples who are really suffering in an unhappy relationship.
Imagine you are with your spouse spending time together, still neither you nor your spouse is happy. You both look for distractions to avoid to being too close to each other.
Think of how badly you’ve lost connection when you are talking to each other but not listening.
Or worse still, you’ve stopped talking altogether.
Each of you is going your own way at home and questions are either ignored or answered with a single word or phrase. There is not much left: No empathy, no heart, no love.
This is the reality for many couples searching for help through friends, on the internet or by reading a relationship self-help book.
When I spoke to a man some time ago, he told me that he got divorced after forty years of marriage. I was just blown away and said: “Wow, forty years of marriage – that is a very long time, what happened in the end that made you file for divorce?” And he replied: “For over ten years I dreaded coming home. We had nothing in common any more, we had nothing to talk about any more. Some days I even took a 20-minute detour to postpone me coming home by a bit”.
Just try to imagine it: you come home each day, dreading the feeling of putting your key into the lock. Not at all looking forward to seeing your spouse.
Or, perhaps you might feel elated when, after coming home, you realise that your partner isn’t yet home.
We all want relationships. We want closeness, trust, security and the certainty that we won’t grow old alone. We want to wake up lovingly next to our best-friend, partner and confidant, feeling closer than we did the day before.
You see, no matter how many ‘things’, accolades, money or awards you’ve accumulated – nothing compares to coming home to a loving and supportive partner whom you can share anything with, especially moments of time you’ll never replace.
But when then the relationship gradually turns sour, we find ourselves at a loss. When the happiness and excitement turn into routine, and then in turn the routine turns into boredom, we start to look for help. The problem is, sometimes it really is only half-heartedly.
In fact, if it is not bad enough, why even bother?
At this stage, oftentimes only one of you feels anxious or worried about the state of your relationship. Sometimes, the other is unhappy too but thinks this is only a momentary disconnect and only a temporary glitch in your relationship.
And it might well be.
Relationships do not follow a linear path of great connection and overwhelming feelings for each other. Relationships are a breathing entity. There are times that you feel closer to one another, and there are times that you feel further apart. There will be times that you can’t get enough of each other, just as there will equally be times where you just want to be left alone. That is completely normal.
So how then, do you decipher whether this current state of your relationship is one of these ‘normal’ times where you are a bit further apart than usual or whether this is beginning of a crisis?
There is no formula (being a mathematician) that I could give you from which you could determine the answer to that question.
Instead, I’d highly recommend you fill in my Relationship Quiz online and answer 25 questions which in turn will give you a very good indication of the state of your relationship. But even with a low score your partner might be in denial and respond “ah, this is just a superficial test, I don’t think that we have a problem in our relationship.”
You maintain your house, you look after your car, and you update or backup your computer on a regular basis. You go to your doctor because you care for your health or to the dentist to look after your teeth. You do all of this on a regular basis, because if you don’t, these things deteriorate, they lose their value.
The same is true for your relationship. If you do not look after your relationship, it declines in value.
After over 26 years of being happily married I can absolutely testify to that fact. A happy relationship is daily work.
So, what is the value you associate with your relationship?
How much do you value your relationship?
What are you prepared to do on a regular basis to look after your relationship?
Think of the happiness it brings you. Think of the wonderful feeling when you love someone unconditionally and in return, are loved the same way. Think of the warm fuzzy feeling you get waking up next to your partner, knowing that nothing can derail you as long as they are there. Think of your future or past travel with your spouse and the magic moments you’ve created over the years. Think of the friendship you formed together with many other people around you. Think of the food you like to share and think of the touch of their hands on your naked skin. Think of the challenges you’ve conquered together and think of their smiling faces.
Now let me ask you again: What are you prepared to do and to give to keep your relationship happy?
When the happiness turns into routine and the routine turns into boredom, we might look for help – but not really.
Only when the boredom turns into a lost connection and the fighting starts, do we become serious about getting help. Unfortunately, by that time, it is often too late.
I don’t know about the state of your relationship right now. But I encourage you to do the online quiz and when you want to find personal help, connect with me and let’s find out whether and how I could help.
Maybe you want to share this article with your friends. Please do, because there are many, many couples out there needing help right now.