Tiffany doesn't recognize her husband Pete anymore. She remembers those early days of their relationship when Pete wanted to spend just about every waking moment with her and was so romantic and caring.
This man, 8 years later, seems to be a completely different person!
Feeling disappointed and resentful, Tiffany wonders how she can get her “Mr. Right” to return. She also worries that this is just an inevitable part of marriage and she'll have to either suffer through it or leave.
We've all heard about the so-called “honeymoon” phase of a relationship. This is when a couple is getting to know one another, falling in love and generally can't seem to get enough of one another.
But then, often, some change seems to happen. Whether you move in together, get married or continue to date, the two of you settle into your life together.
During and after that settling in, some of the initial passion and newness of the relationship can dwindle and fade. For some people, habits and tendencies that you didn't notice before about the other person, come out-- and they aren't always pretty or preferable.
When the spark dies down (or seems to go out), the marriage or relationship itself can be in jeopardy. Without that sense of excitement and passion-- even if it's only part of the time-- one or both of you might begin to question why you are still with this other person.
Become clear about what you want.
When you notice that you are in a relationship with a mate who seems completely different than the person you fell in love with, this is your signal to stop and go inside yourself.
Ask yourself about what you feel is missing or lacking in your present relationship. Be specific. For example, you might crave more physical intimacy with your partner. Or, it could be that you'd like to feel listened to and really heard more of the time.
For right now, focus on what you would like to be different in your relationship instead of on how “wrong” or “inept” your partner seems to be in particular areas.
You might also ask yourself if you want to continue to be in this relationship.
We aren't encouraging you to rush into a breakup or divorce. However, it can be renewing and empowering for you to know that you get to decide whether or not you'll stay in this relationship.
When you re-affirm that choice to stay, you might find within yourself a more open attitude which can help you to see solutions that were not apparent before.
Tiffany takes a day off work so that she can be by herself at home. She purchases a journal and begins to write about what she wants from her marriage and for her life overall.
She also allows herself to consider the possibility of leaving her relationship with Pete and starting over. After Tiffany has poured her thoughts and feelings out onto the pages of her journal, it is clear to her that she does want to stay married to Pete.
Tiffany still loves him deeply and can see that the foundations of a healthy marriage, like trust, are still intact for them.
Be the “right” partner.
When you decide that you do want to stay in this relationship and work to improve it so that you can feel satisfied again, it's then time for you to start to make a shift.
The kind of shift that we're going to advocate may not be appealing or comfortable for you to read about or do. But we encourage you to stick with us here and give this a try.
In order to save your relationship, it's vital that you become the “right” partner for the kind of passionate and connected relationship you would like.
We know, it might seem that it's your partner who has changed and who is dropping the proverbial ball in your relationship...and he or she might truly have changed and may actually be letting you down.
But, unfortunately, the only person in this world whom you can really change is you.
That's why we suggest that you start with you.
Look at the dynamics between yourself and your partner from the point of view of an observer. Of course, this is not easy to do because you are in the relationship-- but try it anyway.
From this observer's vantage point, make note of the habits that you've fallen into or the tendencies that you have that may create distance in your relationship. In particular, look for the ways that you might dampen or extinguish the spark in your marriage or relationship.
Come up with some ideas for how you might realistically start to turn those disconnecting habits and tendencies around. You might also think of some requests that you will make of your partner about specific habits he or she has.
Everyone and every relationship changes over time. Even with the inevitability of change, you and your partner don't have to grow apart and become bored or dissatisfied.
Be willing to know exactly what it is that you want and then be courageous enough to be the kind of person who can work with-- instead of against-- your mate in order to create that connected and spark-filled relationship.
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.