“Your relationship doesn’t suck, you do!” she said to me, with total conviction in her voice.
No, my girlfriend didn’t say this, because we all know as a busy mother of three little ones I don’t have very much time for friends; at least any that require my full, undivided attention.
So, who was it that spoke to me with such audacity and judgment?
Oh wait, that was me, talking to myself — and I’m not mad at myself for saying it.
You see, far too often in a good marriage or a good partnership (the key here is that it’s a good relationship at its foundation), one or both partners will come to the bogus conclusion of “my relationship sucks.”
Your significant other may utter this statement to their friends during a night out, or maybe they disclose this little gem of a generalization to one of their co-workers. There is a very good chance that they internally affirm to themselves a few times a day just how horrible your union is, and it’s not unheard of for them to throw an “our relationship sucks” dagger your way, one or multiple times mid-argument.
The hard pill to swallow for those who are pretty secure in themselves and who never like to be wrong is that sometimes we are the damn problem.
I know that I just lost some of you with that line because for most people it feels completely uncomfortable to admit that we’re getting something wrong. It’s not easy to admit that we aren’t the most loving partner we always dreamed and preached we would be and that a healthy and happy romantic relationship is not nearly as natural and easy as we had hoped and imagined.
When you swallow the aforementioned love truth in its entirety, you allow for personal growth and improvement, and similar growth and development of your relationship.
How do you open up your eyes to the fact that you might be the problem (or at a minimum, a part of it)? By doing the following:
Step 1: Document your character flaws. Would you enjoy yourself every second of the day? No?! Well, then don’t expect your spouse to either.
Step 2: Throw away your expectations. The ones of yourself, the ones for your partner, and the ones for what your love is supposed to look like, sound like, and be like.
Step 3. Get rid of any jealousy; and not just the romantic kind. Rid yourself of any envy of your partner’s perceived workload or lack thereof; of their free time; of their success; of their ability to stay carefree while you stress the f*ck out. You get my point. No jealousy is appropriate.
Step 4: Stop making mountains out of every molehill. Did your wife not screw the mayo cap on entirely for like the eight millionth time? Oh, well. Did your husband put and leave his dinner plate in the sink when the dishwasher is like five steps away? Get over it.
Step 5: Use humor; to silence the demanding inner witch that resides inside of each of us.
It’s only five steps people, and it’s most definitely not an exhaustive list of life-changing instructions on how to stay together forever. However, I believe that it is not our relationships that suck; not yours and not mine. It’s us, the people in them, that suck, and if we are going to fix any perceived or actual problem in our relationships, then we must accept that we are a part of the problem and one we are willing to tackle head-on.