Are you a risk-taker?
Have you leaped from an airplane? Scaled treacherous mountainsides? Braved shark-infested waters?
There are many ways to take risks. Some of them are more obvious-- such as those above-- and others are a little less so.
There are risky behaviors you might take in your relationship too.
Flirting with your co-worker is one example. Going online to look up and contact your first love is another potentially risky choice to make. Keeping secrets from your partner or lying to him or her about what you've been doing and who you've been with is also a risk.
These behaviors could erode trust and put a wedge in your relationship. They might even lead you to have an affair which could mean conflict, pain and breaking up.
If keeping your love relationship or marriage healthy, close and connected is a priority for you, it's likely that you steer clear of risks like these.
However, trying something new in your relationship can also feel like a risk.
If it seems like you and your partner have “always” communicated, been intimate or interacted with one another in certain ways, it can seem uncomfortable to do things differently. It can feel risky to be with your partner in ways that you haven't been before...
Even if it's crystal clear that the ways you two have been together simply aren't working.
One common barrier to making improvements to your relationship is an aversion to taking a risk. After all, there are no guarantees that being with your partner in this new way will bring the results you want.
Regardless of the fact that there are no guarantees, we encourage you to take some risks in your relationship.
Risk being honest.
While it's clear that lying to your partner is a risk that could cost you the relationship, have you considered the possibility that you maybe aren't being as honest as you could be?
Start by being more honest with yourself. Too often, the “have tos” and “shoulds” in life override the voice inside of you that says... “WAIT, I don't like this!” Get into the habit of pausing before you commit to anything with your partner and with anyone else in life. Ask yourself what you are honestly willing and unwilling to do at this time.
Now, communicate that. You don't have to be mean or heartless to be honest. You can share about how you truly feel and what you actually want in ways that actually help you and your partner move closer to one another.
Risk trying a new response.
Yes, it can be terrifying to try something new with your partner. You can't know how he or she will feel about what you're about to say or do. You might even be worried that your mate will laugh you out of the room.
Whether it's spicing up intimacy in the bedroom or handling your partner's bad mood differently, you might feel vulnerable and unsure of yourself when you take a risk like trying something new.
Be mindful about what you are about to try. Could this new response more effectively bring improvement to your relationship or meet a need (that you or your partner has)? Is this something you feel is right for you and your situation?
Remember, there is a difference between taking a risk that feels uncomfortable or foreign to you AND taking a risk that goes against what you believe in. It's healthy and usually beneficial for your relationship when you and your partner both keep learning and growing. It's unhealthy for either of you to compromise on your deeply held morals or ethics.
Risk doing what has worked in the past.
There are also times when the risky thing you feel compelled to say or do is actually not new. It might be a communication strategy that you read about, used once with your partner and haven't tried again.
The thing is, that strategy or different-than-usual way of being with your partner actually worked!
Unfortunately, habits don't usually change instantly. If you've ever tried to stop smoking or stop reaching for chocolate when you're upset you know what we mean. It takes patience and perseverance to develop a new, healthier habit.
Take a moment and think about what your biggest relationship challenge is. Have there been times in the past when you or your partner acted in a different way and the results were positive? Make a mental note of what seemed to work then.
Now, even if it was your partner who said or did something differently, invite yourself to remember and try out what worked in the past when similar situations arise in the future. Watch what happens and keep doing what helps keep trust, passion and connection strong in your relationship.
Encourage yourself to take risks that have the potential to bring you and your partner closer together again. Believe us, it's worth it!
Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire. Click here to get their free ebook, Passionate Heart-Lasting Love.