DR. CELESTE CATANIA-OPRIS, PH.D., LMFT
Sometimes, after many years of being together, it can become difficult to remember the reason you fell in love with your partner. The amount of stress we are under every day can really get to us. It does not help if you feel like your partner is adding to that stress.
Here are three key factors to remember during times of uncertainty in your relationship.
Comparing is competing:
Comparing is a recipe for disaster. It is neither helpful nor healthy for a relationship. Who did more? Who dropped off the kids to school more often? Who cooks more? Who does grocery shopping more often? Who makes more money? It really shouldn’t matter, because if you are a team, the idea is to win and you can’t always win on your own.
Yelling is belittling:
We all yell at each other sometimes, but yelling can feel as if your partner is belittling you. It makes you feel small and insignificant. Take a moment to walk away when things get heated. Regroup and return to the conversation when both of you are ready to speak to each other calmly. This way, you can actually hear each other rather than shut down and tune out what your partner is saying.
Appreciation is vital:
Treat your partner like you would treat a stranger. Say please if you need something. Say thank you when your partner hands you something. Actually listen to your partner and make eye contact when in conversation, just as you would when a friend is talking to you.
Undoubtedly, it can get tiring catering to someone else’s needs. Sometimes you may think, what about me? The point is to build a life while we are here on this earth. For many, that includes building a family. Sure, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes the downs may be way down, but what goes down will go back up.
Take a look back at your relationship. It may be assumed it too has had its ups and downs. Remember those “up” moments when you reach a point of uncertainty in your relationship. If those times appear so long ago or too unfamiliar, then it may not hurt to get an outside perspective.
The odds are that you both want the same things, but your methods of communication may be off balance. In this case, consider talking to close relatives, friends, or even a professional regarding ways to understand each other better. It may not be a bad idea to talk to those around you when you need support or insight into a problem. If that does not appeal to you or seem feasible, then there are always professionals who specialize in these types of issues and can assist you during these difficult times.
At the end of the day, remember that life is meant to be happy. It is even better when we have someone we love to share it with.
Celeste Catania-Opris, Ph.D., LMFT, offers therapeutic services to individuals, couples, and families. Visit www.TherapyForModernHousewives.com.