In today’s culture of dating reality shows, smartphone apps, and romantic comedies, it’s easy to forget one thing: relationships are work. When the going gets tough, it’s tempting to throw in the towel, say “it wouldn’t have worked out anyway” and move on – rather than doing the work to learn how to save a relationship. But your relationship is worth saving.
You’re already reading about how to save your relationship, so you’ve figured out the first step: You must have the desire to save it.
A conflict with your partner can make you feel attacked or threatened, vulnerable and weak, and this can make you recoil and retreat. When things your partner does upset you, you’re less likely to respond constructively and more likely to resort to “the silent treatment” that, ultimately, does more harm than good. This will eventually cause your relationship to break down completely.
You know better than to resort to these silly tactics, but if you’re hurt enough, you do it anyway. Why fall back on negative patterns instead of working to actually fix the communication issues at hand?
Before you abandon all hope, try these tips on how to save your relationship.
Examine your focus
A conflict becomes harmful when you’re focused on defending yourself from attack rather than on solving the problem. If you focus on where you don’t want your relationship to end up, fighting and letting anger build over, you’ll find yourself where you don’t want to be – either in a painful, unfulfilling relationship or separated from your partner altogether. If you focus on resolving the conflict and growing together, you’ll get the outcomes that you DO want
Some couples know how to resolve conflict in a relationship, and others don't.Some react by relying on bad habits and use the conflict to widen a rift between them. Others use conflict as an opportunity to communicate their feelings and grow their relationship. Which couple do you think has a more successful, fulfilling relationship? Which relationship do you think will last longer? Communication is at the top of the list for how to save a relationship.
Turn conflict into opportunity
Conflicts are opportunities for you and your partner to align on values and outcomes.They are chances to understand, appreciate, and embrace differences. Put yourself in your partner’s place and make an effort to understand his or her experience. These experiences and emotions can be uncomfortable, but if we always opt for comfort then we can never grow. Conflict is also an opportunity to learn more about your partner and love them on an even deeper level.Learn to see conflicts as transitions to something better, and actively decide to work toward a more stable future together.
If you find yourself in a retaliatory spiral, a good tactic is to use humor to break the pattern. Humor can release tension and allow you and your partner to focus on what you both want – learning how to save your relationship – rather than on what you both don’t want, another pointless argument. If you feel an argument escalating, take a moment to derail it. Talk in a funny voice. Sing a song that makes your partner laugh. Make the conflict ridiculous.
Relationships aren’t easy. We are all human – and humans make mistakes. We have flaws. But remember this: Many relationships are worth saving. You just need to be willing to do the work.
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