I think it’s easy to become complacent in a relationship over time.
Just Google and see just how many articles are out there about “how to spice up your relationship,” “why am I bored with my partner,” or “how to get closer with my boy/girlfriend?” There’s a ton!
But this doesn’t mean that people who choose to be in a committed or monogamous relationship are all doomed to a life of boredom.
There are many reasons why it happens over time but I want to focus on one major reason today. So many people spend the “getting to know you” (or I like to call it “really paying paying attention”) phase in the first couple months and then it usually dies off. You become comfortable and feel like you really know the person… whether that be a couple months or years down the road. And although I don’t think there is anything wrong with getting comfortable with one another. I think it becomes very easy to get lazy in a relationship. This is where a lot of things can go wrong.
But why does it have to end? Why do you think you completely know someone after a year or even years? Don’t people change? I always sadly hear stories of how marriages fall apart because someone or both people “changed.” This doesn’t just happen over night. If you are truly serious about who you are with and want a bright future, it is important to always be open to learning more. Yes, this may sound like a simplistic concept, but let me explain more.
Everyone has the desire to feel understood in life – even more so by the person you choose to share your life with. I think people underestimate the importance of this in a relationship and how beneficial it can be to improve it significantly.
We all are humans and we all have basic needs, in a general sense, but we all aren’t created equal regarding our wants, feelings, desires, thoughts, beliefs, etc. I believe taking the time and energy to truly try to understand and appreciate your partner can really make a major difference in the quality of your relationship long-term.
So how can you start doing this more?
I believe in a 3 step rule that is easy to start at anytime in a relationship.
Step 1 – Watch
Step 2 – Listen
Step 3 – Engage
Try this the next time you spend some quality time together… Watch them more carefully. Listen and engage. Seriously, do it.
Watch. Be more aware and in the moment instead of thinking about yourself, your phone, work, what you have to do for the day, what you’re hungry for, etc.
Listen. Pay real attention to them and what’s going on.
Engage. If they do or even say something you don’t understand or want to know why, ask them about it! This part is VERY important. You must do this with an open mind. Don’t come across judgemental or they will get defensive.
Sarah and I have a lot of similarities and things in common but we also are completely opposite in many ways. One example – She could spend an entire day outside looking and playing with bugs. She likes to show and explain to me what they are, why they do certain things, what they eat, and whatever information she knows about them. Do I particularly like bugs? Not really. But I love that she loves bugs. I love that she truly gets excited about them and wants to share her excitement with me. Even though I’m not into bugs I try to listen, because I know it’s important to her. I’m not saying I always do the best job but I try. If I just told her bugs are stupid or gross, do you think she would appreciate that? It doesn’t mean I have to like them, or touch them, or even get excited about them like she does, it’s not my thing. It’s hers. And she is my thing.
If you are more aware and in the moment with your partner, it will show them that you care and are truly interested in what they have to say, what they think and what they like. This is a win-win. Because you will also gain a greater understanding of how they really tick, and hopefully it will make you appreciate their uniqueness and differences a little more.
Learning who your partner is and truly caring and trying to understand their unique thoughts and feelings is one of the most amazing things each of you can do to advance your relationship.
Practice watching, listening, and engaging more and watch just how much your relationship grows and improves over time.