Fall Down, Get Up, But Never Give Up In Your Relationship

This polarity is present in most relationships.

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Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of the person who has the higher degree of concern about the relationship to continue to make an effort to engage the other in a dialogue in which it can at least be acknowledged that “we’ve got a problem”

Note: The key word here is the pronoun ‘we’ as opposed to the accusatory pronoun ‘you,’ which, if used, is more likely to generate or amplify defensiveness on the part of the other person.

There is no ground of neutrality when it comes to relationships. We are, to paraphrase Bob Dylan “either busy being born or busy dying.” Allowing unfinished business to accumulate puts relationships on a trajectory towards destruction.

We may become inflamed and loose our cool a number of times in the midst of the same conversation. This is common, and we are challenged to start over again. Declaring our intention to learn and understand is a good way to begin again. It can get us off on a good foot.

We may have to repeat our intention a number of times to remind ourselves that it’s not about getting our way, but to find some solution that works for both of us. To go on the record, to be heard with respect, to be understood, to learn more about the other person’s point of view, experience, feelings and needs are all examples of worthy intentions.

There is a frustration factor that must be managed to stay with the process until we can feel complete somehow. It is not unusual to have hundreds of conversations about some core issue that is an irritant in the relationship.

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For some couples, it’s about money, others sex, power, in-laws, emotional intimacy, how we spend our leisure time, or disciplining the children. It can feel tiresome to go over the material numerous times, but for many couples, the issue is so fraught with intense feelings, that only a bit of headway can be made at a time. It can feel that we haven’t gotten anywhere, and that we are back to square one.

But it is often the case that we aren’t at the very beginning, but are just taking a deeper cut at the issue. The process of coming to understanding and completion on an issue is more like spiraling than climbing the ladder of success. It is a more circular process, but hopefully taking a deeper cut at the issue on each pass.

It takes faith, persistence, and perseverance to begin again and begin again. But it is the depth of commitment that will bring success.

I am reminded of a quote by Jonas Salk:

“Evolution is an error-making and an error-correcting process.”

 

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Written by Linda and Charlie Bloom
Originally appeared on PsychologyToday

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Linda and Charlie Bloomhttp://bloomwork.com/
Linda Bloom, LCSW and Charlie Bloom, MSW have been trained as psychotherapists and relationship counselors and have worked with individuals, couples, groups, and organizations since 1975. They have lectured and taught at universities and learning institutes throughout the USA, including the Esalen Institute, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, 1440 Multiversity, and many others.  They have taught seminars in many countries throughout the world. They have co-authored four books, 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married: Simple Lessons to Make Love Last, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth From Real Couples About Lasting Love, Happily Ever After And 39 Other Myths About Love, and That Which Doesn't Kill Us: How One Couple Became Stronger at the Broken Places. They have been married since 1972 and are the parents of two adult children and three grandsons. Linda and Charlie live in Santa Cruz, California. Their website is www.bloomwork.com
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