In an ideal world, we’d meet the person of our dreams and walk blissfully happily off into the sunset. Until death do is part is a beautiful concept however it’s becoming a rarity as opposed to the norm. So, what’s happening our ability to remain monogamous? Is it simply too ambitious and unrealistic a concept in a vastly expanding and rapidly changing world filled with the allure of easily accessed alternatives? If so, why do so many of us continue pursue a happy ever after? Why do we so often continue to make the same mistakes in consecutive relationships? And, is there a way we can improve the likelihood of a flourishing, healthy relationship?
Without a doubt, a long-term relationship has become more difficult to sustain. There’s a myriad of obstacles that potentially work against relationships that were simply not as prevalent in the past. This include a rise in mental health issues; technology advances providing temptation at a fingertip which reduces our requirement for intimacy, conversation and physical interaction; a reduction in community support and connections; as well as insane expectations for how fabulous our lives should be and a demise of spiritual ways of living. Now I'm not saying relationship breakdown is a new phenomenon however it remains a painfully harrowing experience which often times could have been prevented.
So, what can we do to safeguard the lifespan of our relationship? Maybe the answer lies in to taking a ‘prevention is better than cure’ mindset. Now anyone who follows my work will be aware that I recommend self-discovery and awareness therapy for everyone, no exceptions. However, that can only get us so far. Relationships are a completely different litmus test for our concept of self; they are co-created, an amalgamation of two different histories and as a result, can bring out a surprisingly different side to us. Naturally the first 6 months is a time of evaluating the possibility of this other person as a partner. Everything is blissful and red flags are blatantly ignored, if noticed at all. However, once we move past the more superficial honeymoon phase when we explore likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams; perhaps we should start focusing on what REALLY impacts the harmony of relationships. Things like attachment types, styles of conflict and love language are all valuable insights into how to get the best from our partner yet most people don’t become aware of them until the damage has already been done, if ever. These factors tell us so much about how to engage our partners and meet their needs, as well as giving us awareness of our own insecurities, triggers and weaknesses.
Couple counselling tends to be a last resort to save a ravaged relationship and anger, bitterness, self-righteousness and resentment are rampant. Could you imagine the possibilities for your relationship if you explored and addressed all the most likely causes of conflict from the offset? And while some may argue it’s pessimistic and clinical, romance thrives on understanding, communication, forgiveness, tolerance and kindness. Surely if a couple identify their potential pitfalls from the offset, the way in which they interact and interrupt each other will transform radically. If you want the fairy-tale, then you need to make it happen!