I want to take you on a little trip down memory lane.
Think back to when you were a 10yrs old girl.
What did you look like? Who were your friends? How did you love to spend your time?
Now, remember yourself as a 20yrs old woman and ask those same questions.
Thinking about how much you’ve changed in that time, is it any wonder that long-term relationships often grow apart?
Not only do we change astronomically over time but our partners do too and we’ve gotta hope that the changes we each experience are complimentary to one another.
Surely there’s more we can do than just hope?
Of course there is! We can invest time, care and attention into our relationship to give it the best chance of surviving change and strengthen our connection with one another so that we’re unshakable.
So, what are three things we can do to make our relationship unshakable?
Let go of expectations
Can you relate to this? Your partner is due home any minute and in your mind you’re expecting him or her to walk in and a) comment on the beautiful clean house b) ask if there’s anything you need a hand with and c) start cooking dinner – after all, you’ve done everything else.
Instead they flop on the couch, kick their feet out and let out a deep sigh that reminds you they’re very much alive and well and the fury rises. You make a sly remark, which is met with “chill out, I’ve literally just walked in the door,” and thus begins hours of resentment, frustration and possibly, the silent treatment.
We regularly set-up expectations of our oblivious partners and when these are not met, we fly off the handles and berate them for not having done things the way we would have liked. We provide no clues or direction to what we need and instead get so crystal clear on this in our own minds, that even the slightest foot out of place will not be good enough for us.
When you think about it like that, can you see how unfair this is? In order to give your partner a chance to support you, you’ve gotta let go of your expectations. This is not to say that you have to put up with terrible behaviour and a sh*tty attitude but, it does mean you need to loosen up on how and when everything must be done.
Ask for what you need
This point is a follow on from the one above and commonly manifests like this. You need something from your partner – a hand, a cuddle, reassurance, advice – and you know just how to get it. You huff and puff, burst into tears, slam the kitchen pots and pans or lower your eyes ever so slightly that surely anyone in their right mind would recognise you’re feeling flat.
At no point do you ask for what you need. Why? Perhaps it’s too awkward, you don’t want to feel needy or you believe that if they really loved you, then they would just know what to do.
I hate to break it to you but neither you, nor your partner, has the ability to read minds. (Sucks, I know.) It’s time to start working up the courage to ask for whatever it is that you need.
Only in asking is your partner given the opportunity to step up and support.
Not only will their support go in helping get you out of your pickle (or at least making you feel better) it will also bring you closer together.
Perhaps most important of them all, it’s time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable and that means embracing vulnerability. Vulnerability in relationships does not mean being weak or submissive, it means having the courage to be yourself.
This courage to say I love you first, share how you feel, take responsibility when you’re in the wrong or ask for what you need when you’re terrified of the response.
Vulnerability is key to connection and it only kicks into gear when we release the fear of opening up and being hurt for a shot at a loving and meaningful relationship.
Opportunities to be vulnerable in our relationship present themselves every day. The question is – do we take them?
I am beyond excited to be running my next workshop ‘Resilience in Relationships’ with the Daily Mail’s resident relationship expert Megan Luscombe. Grab your tickets here and join us for an afternoon of reflection, practical advice and lots of laughs.