Have you ever had any of these questions:
- “How do I know if I am supposed to stay in this relationship?”
- “Is this the person I am supposed to marry?”
- “Is our marriage worth saving?”
- “Is this relationship worth fighting for?”
- “Can I do better than this?”
- “Should I stay or should I go?”
We hear all of these A LOT in our counseling practice. While we never answer these kinds of questions for anyone (because they are deeply personal ones that only you can answer), we do have four criteria to help you gain the clarity you may be seeking!
When you are questioning your relationship, we know how difficult and scary it can be. Oftentimes, it feels painful to stay AND painful to imagine leaving, and there is rarely a clear sign that would allow you to choose either path without always wondering if you made the right decision. Many years ago, we too went through a stage of questioning our partnership and wondering if it was the right one for us. When we checked in with these four criteria we’re about to share with you, it always reminded us that staying and growing was exactly what we needed, and we have since continued to grow into and create the most phenomenal relationship.
#1 – BOTH OF YOU ARE HIGHLY COMMITTED TO GROWTH
The first way to know if your relationship is worth saving is that you are BOTH committed to growth, individually and together. When couples come to us for coaching and counseling, oftentimes it’s because they are in the midst of a really difficult time of heightened conflict, betrayal, or disconnect. Through this, we’ve learned that, no matter how massive your challenges may be, as long as both of you are committed to learning everything possible from what has and hasn’t worked in the past and implementing ongoing changes to improve the relationship, there is tremendous potential to turn your relationship into the one you’ve both always wanted. Of course, an essential part of growth is knowing where you currently are, which requires a willingness to be completely honest with yourself and one another.
#2 – YOU GENUINELY RESPECT ONE ANOTHER
The second way to know if your relationship is worth saving is that you both genuinely respect and have an interest in each other emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Compatibility in no way means you need to be the same. In fact, it is your differences that can keep things exciting. However, a thriving relationship requires each of you to honor one another in mind, body, heart, and spirit. You need to be interested in and respectful of each other’s feelings, thoughts, spiritual perspective, and physicality.
#3 – YOU SHARE VALUES
The third way to know if your relationship is worth saving is that you share many of the same values. Your values deeply influence what you set as priorities in your life. When you live your life in alignment with your values, you feel happy, confident, and fulfilled. Some examples of values would be honesty, integrity, joy, love, kindness, generosity, compassion, ambition, courage, accountability, faith, family, fun, freedom, discipline, harmony, awareness, equality, positivity, acceptance, passion, ease, balance, adventure, and peace.
#4 – YOU SHARE A VISION
The final way to know if your relationship is worth saving is that you share a vision for your lives. Although you may not have a clearly defined vision yet (and we highly recommend creating one!), this essentially means that you want the same things in life. Do your dreams match up? For example, if one of you wants to have children and the other prefers a child-free life, your visions may not match up. If one of you wants a free-spirited life of traveling the world year-round, and the other wants to settle down and grow all your own food, your visions may not match up. At the end of your lives, you both want to know you have fully lived, without regret or sacrificing too much. Be sure both of you are able to be flexible and find creative ways for each of your dreams to harmonize and be honored and fulfilled!
If you are in a relationship you want to save, couples can find their ways back to each other and discover their vast untapped potential. If you are questioning your relationship, consider seeking deeper guidance to support you on this journey.
This article was originally published at Center for Thriving Relationships Blog. Reprinted with permission from the author.