Relationships, like life, go through ups and downs. When we are under pressure, especially with what we are all going through right now, even our strongest and most harmonious relationships can get tricky at times. With Valentine’s coming up – as well as the fact that I’ve now been sucked in to Marriage At First Sight Australia! – here are my reflections on calm relationships.
When things get difficult – because they invariably often will at some point – whether that be with a partner, a friend, a family member or a colleague, how we go about repairing our relationships afterwards is critical for preserving an enduring positive connection going forwards.
It’s about restoring trust and reminding each other that you are there for each other and have each other’s best interests at heart.
sorry is not the hardest word
Can you and will you say sorry? It’s not always easy as it’s not just the words – they have to know that you mean it and that means you accepting that you have been part of the problem. This could set off all sorts of triggers about how you feel about yourself and your role in the relationship. Ultimately can you notice this and accept it, placing greater importance on the value of the relationship with the other person to you than on protecting your own ego?
forgive and forget
Can you forgive and accept an apology? It’s about accepting that other people that you trust and love can let you down sometimes. Obviously there needs to be boundaries around the extent of this but as long as these are not crossed, can you remember that we are all human beings and we all make mistakes from time to time.
Can you connect to what the other person was trying to tell you in spite of the relationship rupture? Often when relationships get tricky, it’s because one person was trying to get the other to understand something but weren’t able to get this across effectively. Are you able to look past the emotions and stories about yourself that this stirred up for you and break things down into the key message that the other person (perhaps badly) was trying to communicate to you? If you were the one trying to explain something, sometimes we need to accept that even people who love us very much might not always fully understand where we are coming from.
Finally can you be open to learning what the rupture might teach you about yourself? The good relationship repairer is usually a good learner and is prepared to accept criticism and to take on board whether there are any useful lessons that can be reflected on for their personal growth.