What stops us putting our relationship first?

Many of us can fall into the trap of assuming that our most important relationship will look after itself. The fact of the matter is - creating and maintaining a healthy intimate relationship takes ongoing work, effort and energy.

The signs that our relationship may be suffering from neglect are many and varied, but may include:-

* feeling like we never spend any time together except to plan and talk about the practicalities of running a household.

* we seem to fight about nothing in particular

* communication is poor

* one or both of us have lost interest in sex

While it can be helpful to learn skills that can facilitate good communication and problem solving, relationships need a particular kind of commitment in order to flourish. Commitment may also mean prioritizing and sacrifice - you may need to sacrifice one thing in order to do another.

Bader and Pearson, leaders in the field of couples counselling, describe the three main trade-offs or sacrifices to be made in relationship as time, energy and comfort. We have to give time to our relationship that we may have otherwise chosen to use elsewhere; we need to give our relationship energy - our full attention and presence, our willingness to talk about and work through difficulties; and we may need to step out of our comfort zone in order to try new ways of doing things e.g. listening respectfully instead of interrupting our partner. Go to http://www.psychotherapy.com.au/fileadmin/site_files/pdfs/notestoacouple.pdf if you'd like the full article written by these renowned therapists.

While this can be hard going, at least at times, the rewards can be great. Investing in your relationship is playing for high stakes - each partner's health and happiness, your children's wellbeing, and the quality of your lives now and into the future. 

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