How To Revive A Stagnant Relationship
Whilst coaching people on relationship issues I have often found that there is a time when things just seem to get stuck or stale. Coaching can be useful in helping to reinvigorate and reset relationships so that they can continue to grow and flourish.
So what are some of the areas that can be explored in coaching that can help to improve relationships?
One area that is key is clear communication, being able to discuss issues in ways that don't allocate blame, express feelings and find solutions. Being able to have difficult but constructive conversations that help to build and develop the relationship is really important. There is a skill to doing to this but one that is well worth learning and developing in order to be able to effectively deal with difficulties as they arise, which they undoubtedly will, and thereby help to positively move the relationship forward.
Another key yet basic ingredient is being able to set aside quality time in the busyness of every day life. Date nights are a good way to do this although they don't have to be restricted to evenings, the important point being to have some protected time where you can discuss the things that you don't normally get chance to talk about and get time to just enjoy each others company again and have fun again.
Being aware of each others love languages is also helpful (Gary Chapman, 5 Love Languages) as individuals we often express and receive love in different ways. For example for some this could primarily be physical touch, for others words of affirmation or acts of service, and this can be a source of conflict in a relationship when each partner does not feel their needs are not being met simply because their partner receives and shows their love in a different way.
An appreciation and exploration of attachment styles can also be helpful in resolving some relational issues, for example recognising our differing needs for self sufficiency and insecurities that sometimes affect how we behave in a relationship.
Understanding each others values is also helpful particularly in terms of developing a shared vision for the future, which provides another way of reinvigorating the relationship as both partners strive to pursue a common or related goal or goals. It is unlikely that a couple will share all the same values, but there is great benefit in building on those values and interests that are shared, enabling the development of common purpose and a shared vision for the future.
At the same time it is good to recognise that your partner may also have different interests. Allowing and positively encouraging your partner to pursue their interests and to grow and develop as an individual is not only good for them it will also be good for the relationship as they will be energised and consequently have more to give back into it.
This is not to say that any relationship will not have challenges over time. Having children for example or may be changing career demands for one or both partners can often change the dynamics. It is important at these times, to give space to go back over some of these areas and refresh and refocus the relationship in the light of the changed and changing circumstances to help prevent the relationship getting into a rut and to continue to enable it to develop in a positive way.