To say that relationships are like cars is so cliché, but they kind of are. Think back to when you bought your first car. Was it your favorite color? Did it look just like you wanted? Over time the car gets dirty, needs maintenance, and we fix it. We tend to our vehicles to keep them running smoothly and to last us as long as they can. But what about our relationships? Our relationships constantly need tending to in order to continue to run smoothly and bring the same happiness they did when we first started them. Here are 4 quick ways to give your relationship that much needed tune-up!
1. Start with “Hello.”
How did you initially greet your partner in the early stages of your relationship? Did you get up from what you were doing and greet them at the door? Did you seek them out to ask how their day was? Was there a physical display of affection? Think about how you currently greet your partner. In most relationships greetings change over time as couples become more comfortable. Taking the little initiative to greet your partner in the way that you used to can help to rekindle some of those old flames. Give it a try!
2. Focus on you.
I know, that seems wrong, but you should keep your focus on you in certain situations. When we have a disagreement, we are inclined to think about what the other person did wrong. We often begin the blame game and point out the other persons’ short comings versus thinking about ways that we could have improved the situation. Focus your energy on yourself when in a disagreement. Think about what you could have done differently to bring a better outcome to the situation. During the next disagreement focus on improving your response.
This seems simple, but it can be quite a difficult task. I often ask couples “who wins if neither of you is willing to give?” The answer is usually “no one”. Try to compromise in situations big and small with your partner. Think about ways that both of you can feel like winners. Compromising puts you back on the same accord.
4. Be in the present.
It is natural to use your past experiences as a point of reference for future decisions. In relationships, this often leads to one or both partners focusing on the past and having difficulty letting go to move into the future. Focus on the present. Think about what your partner is saying and doing and evaluate it within that moment. Try not to bring anything from your past to your present.
If you’ve tried to make changes and are having difficulty consider professional couples counseling. Like most vehicles, with a good oil change, tune up, and maintenance check you can get your relationship back on the right road.