A long-term, committed relationship can very easily turn into a toxic one and lead to a breakup or divorce if you start taking your partner for granted.
Why a committed relationship fails
With over 39% of marriages ending in divorce in the United States, it is high time that men start taking their relationships and their women seriously. Justice Schanfarber, a marriage counselor and certified Hakomi therapist, believes that one of the main reasons that most romantic relationships are failing today is because men tend to take their women for granted.
Yes, committed relationships are complex as it is, but it is only by working together and being present for their partners will enable both men and women to overcome relationship crises. However, when men fail to express their love and don’t make their partner a priority, women leave men they love. With emotional neglect comes distance, and with distance comes emotional disconnection.
Are men at fault?
You can be a loving, caring, and responsible husband and father, yet if you fail to acknowledge and appreciate your partner, she will eventually be compelled to leave you. And it is not easy for most women to leave the man they love. But they still do it even if it breaks their heart. Dedicated and committed women can leave their boyfriends or husbands, men, with whom they share homes, children, and lives. “They feel terrible about it. It tears their heart out of them. But they do it. They rally their courage and their resources and they leave,” explains Justice Schanfarber.
Although a woman can leave for a number of reasons, the most important reason is perhaps these women don’t feel appreciated, recognized, or valued in the relationship. “Women leave because their man is not present,” writes Justice. She adds “These aren’t bad men. They’re good men. They’re good fathers. They support their family. They’re nice, likable. But they take their wife for granted. They’re not present.”
So while you are working hard to meet deadlines at work, hanging out with your coworkers during happy hours, watching TV, playing video games, or golfing, your partner is feeling lonely, neglected and isolated. And that’s not how a committed relationship works. It requires you to commit yourself to your partner. It requires that you make them your top priority and balance your life in a way that enables you to focus on your and her needs equally.
Read also: 8 Tips To Stop Being Taken For Granted
“Women in my office tell me: ‘Someone could come and sweep me off my feet, right out from under my husband.’ Sometimes the realization scares them. Sometimes it makes them cry,” explains Justice.
Earn her love
It’s not about being right or wrong. Men, you have your right to enjoy solitude and to enjoy some time alone. But when it comes to the cost of your partner feeling neglected or unloved, then you need to pull up your socks and take notice. It’s not about feeling offended or hurt or angry. Instead, this is about realizing the truth and how your actions and behavior can affect your partner, the person you promised to love and take care of in this committed relationship.
Justice writes “Your wife is not your property. She does not owe you her soul.” She adds “You earn it. Day by day, moment after moment. You win her over first and foremost with your presence, your aliveness. She needs to feel it. She wants to talk to you about what matters to her and to feel that you’re listening to her.”
What she wants is to experience the same passion that you had at the beginning of this committed relationship. One of the very first things you can do to get started with ‘fixing’ your relationship is to start listening to her again. Really listen to what she is trying to tell you and make you understand. Give her your undivided attention and show her how much you love her. However, with our busy lives and constant distractions, it is not always possible to give your partner your full attention even if you want to. So what should you do?
“How about five minutes?” asks Justice. She explains “Five minutes a day. Will you commit to that? I’m not talking about extravagant dinners or date nights. I’m talking about five minutes a day to be completely present with the woman you share your life with.”
How to stop taking her for granted
Here are a few other ways you can stop taking your partner for granted and rebuild the emotional connection you share with her.
1. Give her compliments
Relationship expert April Masini says “Telling your partner that they’re attractive, sexy, or the best spouse ever is something that no one gets tired of hearing. Especially when it’s a compliment that’s unique in your own voice.”
2. Take some responsibility
A good way to show her that you don’t take her for granted is by reducing her workload around the house. If you’re married or live together, do some of her chores once or twice a week.
Read also: 10 Mistakes Most Men Make In Relationships
3. Appreciate her when she does something good
Say thank you more often and this will help your wife or girlfriend realize how much you truly value her. Notice even the smallest things she does for you and be grateful for that.
4. Take her out on dates
Start going on dates again and engage in activities that she likes or do something completely new as a couple. Couples therapist Laura L. Ryan, LMFT explains “Novel experiences increase excitement and connection in the relationship because you are doing something new and different together.”
Strengthen your committed relationship
It is only by being completely open and honest with your partner, by listening and understanding her without judgment, and by showing her how much she means to you, you can truly rebuild your committed relationship and make your partner feel loved and happy.