When we first get into a relationship, we fall into a kind of surreal world where we mistakenly believe there will never be any problems in our love life ever again. Our boo is perfect. Then as time goes on issues we never dreamed of crop up one after another. Some we take of. Others begin inhabiting our relationships, and threaten to bring it down. But if your present self could jump into a time machine and warn your past self about the problems and misunderstandings, the slipups and snafus, would you believe them? Probably not. Even if your past self did believe, where would they go from there? Any relationship is always in flux. You are either growing together or apart. Though we may pine for the days when everything looked perfect, that was nothing more than a bio-chemically induced delusion, though undoubtedly the most pleasant kind. How can you make sure you are growing together instead of apart? One way is to sort through the difficult issues together. Communication, patience, caring, open-mindedness, and negotiation skills are vital. Lots of couples get tired and give up when things get too tough. But if you try some novel strategies and keep in mind that it takes time to overcome the big stuff, you two can find a way to coexist peacefully, and even reignite the spark that brought you together to begin with. This advice isn’t guaranteed to keep you out of divorce court. But they can help turn around a relationship that is drowning but just needs something to grab onto to be saved.
If either of you are angry, do not discuss the issue. Hurtful words are said in anger, which are likely to increase rather than decrease the gap. When one is mad, logical reasoning is no longer in charge. Instead of moving forward, we try to win, get even, or even going for the jugular. This is pure instinct. Many do this without realizing that any amount of damage you do to the relationship is only going to take you deeper down into the hole. You will only have to work longer and harder to climb back out again. Instead, step back from a fight, or even goading. Tell them that you do not want to move forward now. You do not think it will be productive accounting for the mood you are in, or perhaps your partner is in. Instead, couch the issue and schedule a time to come back to it at a later date. Ruminate and look at it from your partner’s point of view. Sometimes we hold so hard to our own perspective we fail to take theirs into account. But in this we may be missing something. Do not focus on who is right or who is wrong. It is not about that. Really emotions lie at the core of any fight. These aren’t good or bad. They just are. How we deal with them makes them good or bad. If you can get to the root of the issue, you can overcome it.
Agree to disagree on small issues. Learn to let things go. Do not be too judgmental. We all have certain idiosyncrasies. If we are to be accepted and loved, we must also accept our partners. But harsh judgment gets in the way of love and causes derision. Trust in the fact that you will find a solution that works for both people. Have serious conversations in private. Nothing can be more embarrassing than airing your grievances in front of an audience. Lastly, always be supportive of one another. Watch out for childish behavior like one-upmanship. Sometimes we like to rub our partner’s nose in missteps. But we end up building an intolerant atmosphere where each person is waiting for the other to make a mistake, and both partners are keeping score. You should both be on the same side, not adversaries. Cheer each other on, instead of tearing each other down. If you cannot find a way to be on the same team, you are not meant to be together. Spend time discussing what is important. Too many times partners let squabbles get out of hand, and ruin what is really a good thing overall. If you both love one another and desire to work things out, have faith that you will. It may just take some patience, hard work, and of course time.
For more advice on getting the most of couple hood read, Emotional Fitness for Couples: 10 Minutes a Day to a Better Relationship