Worried it’s too late to improve your relationship? If you feel that you or your partner’s habits are straining your relationship, it’s not too late to change.
By the time we are in a relationship most of us are pretty good at navigating life. We have probably achieved some sort of successes with school or jobs and just the ability to accomplish things in life.
Improve Your Relationship by Learning New Skills
So when we finally connect to the person we fall in love with, why is it that so many of us feel as if we can’t figure out how to fix simple things, like misunderstandings and disagreements? If we as humans are good at other things in our lives; taking care of people, working, going to class, why do we fail at simple things like getting along with another person?
As a couple’s counselor I believe the answer is simple. We are not skilled. Of course we have skills. Again, we are probably successful in our lives. But where have you received your training to be a good mate? Where have you learned how to be a good partner?
Where Do Troublesome Relationship Habits Come From?
You probably learned these things by watching your parents, or television, or in the movies. Maybe you know people in good relationships and you watch them. It looks easy; fall in love with the right person and then everything just magically works out, right? Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work?
I think all of us feel this way. It’s just supposed to work out. But often times it doesn’t. So then what? We have to learn how to do things better. And often we feel terrible about not knowing how to do these things. None of us likes to feel we aren’t good at having a relationship. That’s embarrassing. It shouldn’t be that hard.
Want to Improve Your Relationship? You Need Time, Patience, and Maybe Even Swallowing Your Pride
The idea of not being very good at something is difficult for many of us. We pride ourselves on being successful. So having to learn new behaviors and consider new ideas about being with the person we love feels really weird, and it may feel unnecessary.
I think that’s normal too. I was thinking about learning how to be with my rescued dog. She came to me from a relative. I had seen the dog and loved the dog at my relative’s home and when the dog needed a new home I was asked if I wanted her to come live with me. I was tickled. Great, I loved this animal. And I just assumed we would get along fine.
Old Dogs Can Learn New Tricks After All
Well she had some habits, (she was 7 years old) and she brought those habits with her. She would sneak off to different areas of the house to do her business. She apparently had done this at her old house too. This was so frustrating for me. I tried everything I knew, and then I turned to a dog trainer. I would have a good day and then there would be an accident. This went on for months. I was upset every time I discovered another wet patch on the carpet. My heart would sink and I would think. I can not have this life.
And maybe because I got to my end I finally started over again and went back to the beginning. I said to myself, “It doesn’t matter her age. I will teach her what I want from her.” So, when I took her out for a walk, and she went to the bathroom, I imagined she was a puppy just learning and needing praise. Not just a “Good dog,” she got a whole party from me, yelling happy phrases and really making a show of it. And I did this EVERY TIME WE WENT OUT. And we took 4 walks a day, and I took her out before I went to bed. And I was consistent.
You Can Learn New Tricks Too
That was almost a year ago. No accidents in the house. She is trained. I went back to the beginning and started over. I resisted this for a long time thinking it would just get better on its own. And that’s the lure. We all want better. We have to put in the time to make it so.
Take the time to learn new skills in your relationship. Learn how to be a good mate. Start at the beginning. You will give yourself and your partner the gift of a lifetime.
How to Improve Your Relationship Today
Can’t make it on Monday? Learn how to improve your relationship by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It’ll help you communicate clearly and learn how you and your partner can reward each other and reinforce behaviors that leave you feeling happy and fulfilled.Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.