Many couples I see come in to my office with a long list of what is wrong with their relationship, how they can’t communicate anymore and mostly, seeking an opinion about who was right in the last argument. When I delve deeper into arguments it usually comes down to how hard everyone is striving: at work, with errands and chores, up in the night with the baby, running the kids around and trying to get EVERYTHING done. Driving oneself, or each other, so hard is stressful. While I do of course try to teach people how to communicate their wants and feelings and give techniques to problem solve disagreements, underneath it all it usually comes down to the fact that we are so busy doing things that we forget to have fun in life!
Yes, the mess is piling up and everyone needs to get fed but if you stop, even for a short time, you fill yourself up. I often say that we should think of ourselves as a car. If we keep going and going without stopping to fill up, eventually we come to a grinding halt. How do you fill up? To me that means sit down, really engage with the people you are with, laugh. So have a think about what you used to do with your partner that you always enjoyed. Dancing? Going bowling? Laughing at a re-run of a favorite show? It doesn’t have to be complicated to organize. Put on a couple of songs and turn up the volume and get everyone dancing around the house. What makes your kids giggle? Go and join them and you’ll probably start giggling too. Having fun with each other means you have a deeper reserve to draw upon when your partner does something to irritate you.
Relationships can be improved by an occasional tune-up. You don’t need to wait for a crisis to come in and talk about ways to improve your relationship through couples counseling.