A long-term relationship can be one of the most satisfying experiences in the world, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Most couples go through periods where they don’t get along or their relationship just doesn’t feel as close as it used to be. Don’t despair — there are ways to troubleshoot your relationship.
1. Open yourself to being vulnerable.
A successful relationship requires you to be open to the other person. This can be hard if you have been hurt in the past. When you’ve been hurt, your natural instinct is to protect yourself. You shut down lines of communication, and you become defensive.
If you want to heal your relationship, you need to be willing to be vulnerable. This can feel very scary. You may feel like you’re opening yourself to pain. But that’s essential if you want to foster a connection with your partner.
2. Extend compassion to your partner.
Just as you may feel scared or hurt, your partner may also feel scared or hurt. You need to extend them compassion if you want to improve your relationship. This is the person you love. You need to treat them kindly and gently.
Imagine your partner throughout their life. Imagine the ways they have been hurt. Think about how they could have been loved more during their life. Become the person who gives your partner the unconditional love that they have always deserved during their life.
3. Get ready to compromise.
Relationships involve two people. Regardless of how much you have in common, there will be times when you disagree on things. To make your relationship work, you need to be willing to compromise. This rule applies to both big and small situations.
Compromise also comes into play with how you interact with each other. If your partner snaps at you, don’t snap back. Instead, internally acknowledge that they may be having a rough day or might be a bit stressed, and then, respond with kindness and compassion. This type of compromise can help you avoid unnecessary arguments.
4. Practice intimacy.
Your primary relationship is the most intimate relationship in your life. You need to nurture intimacy if you want this relationship to be successful. Keep in mind that intimacy takes a lot of different forms.
To foster emotional intimacy, listen actively and make eye contact while your partner talks. Focus on what they’re saying, not how you want to respond.
Also, make sure that you display physical attention. When relationships are suffering emotionally, they typically suffer physically as well. Take a walk and hold hands. Touch each other gently while watching TV or relaxing. Set aside dedicated times to explore each other and rekindle your relationship in the bedroom. Be patient. This process can take time, especially if you’ve been struggling for a while.
5. Have fun.
Relationships can take work, but they should be fun. Remember why you got together? A lot has probably changed since then. You and your partner have gone through all kinds of life events and experienced ups and downs both individually and as a couple. Revisit experiences that you enjoyed when you first got together. Or explore new hobbies. Find ways to have fun with each other.