Do you and your partner get stuck in repetitive unhealthy dynamics around specific topics? If so, know that you are not alone. According to Dr. John Gottman, who researches the behaviors of couples, 69 percent of problems are “perpetual and unresolvable.” This statistic can sound depressing, but it can also sound liberating. This means there is nothing wrong with you and your relationship.
While you might not be able to resolve every problem that you have with your partner, there are certainly some action steps you can take to feel better about the issue at hand. You can communicate directly and honestly with your partner. You can let them know how you feel and what you would like to see from them. Even more importantly, you can genuinely listen to how they feel and what they need. You can seek to understand them. Even if you two never agree, you can at the very least get where one another is coming from.
Once there is some level of understanding of one another, you can take some actionable steps to create new systems in your relationship that will better serve you both. Systems can be as simple as creating a daily structure around chores or scheduling a weekly money meeting. The key is intentionality. Be intentional about how you run your relationship.
When we first get together, we each come with a lot of baggage. We have scars from our childhood and our past relationships. Many of our views and how we do things come from a wounded place. It can be healing for couples to give themselves a blank slate to create something new. To find the middle way when they feel polarized. To be open to trying new things and learning from each other.
Once you begin creating structures and systems, know that you do not have to adhere to them strictly. There is a balance between structure and flow. There is wisdom in flexibility and giving one another the benefit of the doubt when inevitably, there are times things don’t go according to plan.
You and your partner have the choice to be stuck in negative patterns or to liberate yourselves and be restored to sanity. What is your choice?