A relationship can be a wonderful trip. However, by its very nature it often has many ups and downs or what I call relationship speed bumps. These kinds of speed bumps can be challenging and often cause major upsets in relationships. It’s crazy to think that a great relationship should be smooth sailing all the time. That’s not going to happen.
Rough spots are natural to progress. There are many speed bumps to be negotiated along the way. You most likely hit that bump because you unwittingly mishandled a situation or don’t know how to handle it.
When we’re driving, if we know a speed bump is coming up, we get prepared for it. We slow down, lean forward, it’s no surprise and we travel on. But, when we’re hit with it suddenly, we fly over it, we bump our heads on the roof top, it jars us and can be very scary.
Here are a few “relationship speed bumps” that come up in my coaching sessions:
• One partner has grown distant – completely shut down
• Financial problems and a lack of knowing what to do about it
• No or little sex (HINT: Sex releases oxytocin, which is a bonding hormone)
• Few or no relationship goals
• Wanting to be “right” about your position
• Blaming your partner for every little thing
• Not taking responsibility for your own actions
• The mistaken belief that problems go away by themselves
• Addictions: Drugs, sex and others
• One partner has wandering eyes and flirts with the opposite sex when with his partner
• Not addressing the real problem
• Romance and love seem absent
• Poor (or no) communication
• Your partner complains and whines about everything (or at least it feels like it)
• One partner is still hanging out in bars and still acting single
• The untimate relationship speed bump – your partner is cheating on you
• ______________________ add your speed bump here!
The key is to work together to avoid common mistakes in relationships. Most relationship speed bumps are not catastrophic. They seldom bring you to a grinding halt. They don’t cause enough damage to make your relationship undrivable. Most create just enough stress or angst to cause temporary concern. Some require major damage control. Others just slow you down for a bit.
Slowing down and listening to your partner when you reach relationship speed bumps works better in the long run than always trying to swerve around (or avoiding) them. Always remember, problems call attention to things that need to be fixed.
Sometimes the best route to avoid those speed bumps is to ask for help. Call a relationship coach. Every couple has relationship problems now and then. The best strategy is to have an agreeable strategy for avoiding past pitfalls, and have the same long-term relationship goals. This is a great way to reinvigorate not only your long-term relationship, but your ambition. Sit down with your partner and decide where you both want to be in the long-term – neighborhood, house, kids, jobs, etc., – and how to get there.
When couples are invested emotionally in each other they have a better change of navagating around the speed bumps that show up.
When you notice you are in an unhealthy place or your relationship is not working well what do you do?
Some just give up and let the relationship die, or move on to the next relationship blaming everything on their partner and know that the next partner won’t be like the last one. Most – and a better solution – is to give yourself a kick in the seat and then begin to work “together” to do all those things you know will help you bring your relationship back to a healthy and fulfilling state. For sure a challenging time doesn’t mean the relationship should end.
It just means that both partners need to slow down, take a serious look at what is really going on and be determined to do what ever it takes to fix it. It’s time to recommit and rededicate yourself to your partner and approach the challenge together, knowing you will get through it.
Equate a relationship like a muscle. If you don’t exercise the muscle, it wheithers away. This is true. . . relationships become stronger as a couple works together to avoid the relationship speed bumps. It will revitalize your relationship.
Remember, speed bumps are not road blocks. They only stop you if you allow it. Relationship speed bumps are a good reason to slow down and “pay attention.” They help us realize how fast we are moving and remind us we need to consciously step on the brake and pay more attention. There are always ways to better yourself and your relationship, and it’s better to do it together than separately.
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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