All couples have ups and downs. Conflict is inevitable and in fact, roughly ⅔ of relationship conflict is considered unsolvable. It makes sense then that couples need to periodically renew their relationships.
Couplehood only works when each partner is committed to personal health. But what does that mean? It means examining questions about Responsibility, Resistance and Resources.
Imagine—just for a minute—that all the stress in your relationship is your fault. What 2-3 things are you aware of that you could take responsibility for? Are there changes you can make right now that would change the trajectory of the relationship? Write them down.
What do you know about what’s keeping you from making those changes? Are there reasons, valid or not, that are making you resistant to change? What 2-3 things are standing in your way of responsibility? Write them down.
Who can help? Think of the resources at your disposal that can help you overcome your resistance to personal accountability. Is it a therapist? A pastor? A small group? A friend? A babysitter? Who can help? Write them down.
Use your lists to help begin to renew your relationship. But remember, any lasting change begins with personal awareness and accountability. You can’t change your partner. At least not until you begin to change yourself.
Zach Brittle is a licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) in Seattle, WA where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is a Certified Gottman Therapist and author of the Relationship Alphabet. Follow him on Facebook at Zach Brittle, LMHC or on Twitter @kzbrittle.