Treat your relationship like a choice<! -- force hide the author box -->
Are relationships unconditional or a choice?
Does the word “divorce” not exist in your vocabulary? If this is true for you and your partner, awesome!
Unfortunately, when one or both partners hold the belief that the other will never leave, this invites complacency or even neglect into the marriage. Life gets busy, so if the belief is that, the motivation to respond to them will get dropped lower on your list of priorities. It seems okay because your partner won’t leave no matter what, right?
No, that’s not right.
There are plenty of couples, including many who never ever believed it would happen to them, who do split up. A funny thing happens though. Those who do break up or divorce and enter a new relationship, marriage or otherwise, now know that relationships are a choice. They must be treated as a choice. This can be a game-changer.
Honestly, though, it doesn’t matter if you believe marriage is an unbreakable commitment or not. What does matter is this:
If you want to keep your relationship, you must treat it and your partner as though they can choose to be in the relationship or not.
Figure out what creates a hurt
To help your partner keep choosing to be with you, you will need to figure out two things. Firstly, what is it that hurts them? What are the hurts they experience that force them to think about choosing not to be with you? Once you zero in on one or two things, then stop. Just stop doing the things that hurt your partner.
If you need help figuring out what hurts your partner, you can certainly go ask – by all means! They will probably welcome your curiosity as it will help your partner feel like they matter enough for you to ask. However, I have a feeling you already know what they will say.
Does it hurt when you criticize your partner? Stop criticizing! Learn to express your needs without criticism. If you need help with this, Step 4 and 5 in my book, Fix Your Partner in 10 Easy Steps or Less! discusses criticism and hurtful communication and how to change it.
Does it hurt your partner when you are dismissive? Stop being dismissive. Learn to validate and empathize; learn to be compassionate to how your partner feels. Whatever it is that hurts them, stop. You can’t hurt your partner and then expect them to want to be close.
What creates a connection?
The next step is to figure out what you can do that builds a connection. You have to work on cultivating the connection between you if you want it to be strong. This takes intention and effort, not just being in the same room watching television.
Remember, love is a verb, so let’s get you loving! If they value time with you, make some time. If they value being snuggled, then get snuggly. If they like it when you cook dinner or clean the bathroom, get started! If they value these things and you do them, they will feel grateful and more motivated to meet your needs, which will help you continue to make the choice too.