Ditch the toxic crap from your past, your relationship deserves better.
Wouldn't it be great if all of the relationship challenges you faced in the past magically disappeared whenever you wanted them to? It would be amazing if all the obstacles in the way of closeness, intimacy and happiness vanished in one fell swoop.
But it doesn't happen that way, sadly.
No matter how firmly you resolve to make THIS the time when you and your partner figure out how to build the kind of relationship you've been longing for, it doesn’t happen magically. A brand new focus on a better relationship with your partner doesn't guarantee anything. You're still the same person you were and your partner is the same too.
To make room for what you want more of in your relationship, you've got to change those unhealthy habits.
Researchers in a National Institutes of Health study found that people really WANT to make beneficial changes, but they just can't seem to follow through. Old habits can seem like the "only way" and trying something different is usually uncomfortable or emotionally painful.
What makes this trickier in a relationship is that not only is your partner wrestling with their own unhealthy habits, but your partner is well aware of your habits too. Expectations about your behavior pile on and make the dynamic between you two appear even more stubborn than it is.
So how can you get beyond the expectations and eliminated the recurring relationship problems for good? Don't just resolve to create a happier and healthier relationship, ACHIEVE it.
Start with these 2 critical steps:
1. Don't avoid the past
A big mistake that many couples make is to wait for a new year to make a fresh start. This has its benefits, but it can make you blind to the vital information you need in order to make sustainable changes.
If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll just perpetuate the jealousy, tension, emotional distance, and drama. Instead, find the courage to take an honest look at your actions that contribute to the problems you and your partner have. Rather than getting caught up in assigning blame, uncover the habits that contribute to your relationship's problems, and then dig deeper and understand what drives those habits.
Write about it. Meditate on it. Talk about it with your partner in productive ways. When you communicate about the past, make it clear that your intention is to understand the hidden needs, worries, fears, and convictions that you each have. Make sure your partner knows that your goal is to work together for a new and happier future together.
2. Notice what is different now
What's equally important to changing habits is noticing what's different now. Getting caught up in an argument that you and your partner had 6 months ago or a misunderstanding that occurred when you first got together isn't going to serve you now. As the saying goes, "learn from the past, but don't live there."
Spend most of your time and energy tending to what's going on in the present moment. When a familiar and triggering situation arises, pause and remind yourself that this may feel like what "always" happens, but it can have a different trajectory.
Remember that you are not only starting new, but you are building on the solid foundation you've built your relationship. Learn and grow along with your partner to create a newer, more fulfilling relationship for the future.
The words you choose in both ordinary and tense times are key to breaking habits that keep you stuck and disconnected from your partner. Click here to watch our free communication video to learn words and phrases to help you communicate honestly and that encourage connection and harmony in your relationship.