Relationship problems are common these days. If your relationship is on the verge of collapse, you might find it worthwhile to give it one last chance. It is more than likely that you can save your relationship if (and only if) you are absolutely determined to do so.
Most relationship problems suffer from lack of intimacy. Emotional intimacy must come first, and then physical intimacy. How close do you feel to your partner? It is important to closely examine your feelings in this regard. If you find intimacy lacking, it is probably because one or both of you lack trust in the other. Try this experiment – promise yourself that for the next 24 hours, you will be completely open with your partner about everything. Part of this experiment is to avoid speaking falsely. Avoid telling outright lies, but also avoid “spin doctoring” the truth. Does your communication with your partner contain hidden messages or barbs? If so, take them out and let what you say be exactly what you mean, no more and no less. Do this even if your partner is not being honest with you.
The second part of this experiment is candor. In order to be candid, it is not enough to avoid speaking falsely. You must also speak your mind instead of keeping silent, especially about your feelings. That doesn’t mean being abusive when you are angry, it just means forthrightly admitting that you are angry and telling you partner why, without judgment or condemnation.
Don’t expect positive results at first. The initial reaction from your partner might be negative or even explosive. Take a rest for a few days, and then try again – this time for 48 hours. This may be brutally difficult for you, but don’t quit. Keep on gong until you are open with your partner 24 hours a day, every day. This will take a huge amount of courage on your part. Take heart – nothing worth having ever comes without some kind of fight.
While you are practicing being open, simultaneously practice the art of acceptance. Do your best to accept your partner no matter what he or she says or does. This will take tremendous forbearance on your part, and forbearance is a muscle that strengthens gradually with constant use. You don’t have to accept your partner’s actions if they are bad, but you do need to accept your partner as a person, and treat him or her accordingly. The idea is to gradually reassure your partner that your love and acceptance are absolutely unconditional and eternal (even in the event of divorce). What you need to get across, whether you say so directly or not, is something like, “Just because I’m upset with you doesn’t mean I don’t love you anymore.” Get this across by proving it every day, because words will only take you so far.
If your relationship is salvageable, your partner will gradually start to trust you more and more, and will begin to mirror your actions by becoming more open and accepting with you. Once this happens, you will have built up enough trust to start gently threading your way through the emotional barriers that have been separating you. Instead of disco dancers, you will gradually move towards the cheek-to-cheek closeness that only ballroom dancers can taste. Remember, though, that just as in ballroom dancing, someone will have to take the lead.
Expect a long, tough road ahead, with no guarantee of ultimate success – every successful relationship takes two, and your partner will have to be gently coaxed instead of berated or cajoled. Hopefully you will be able to save your relationship – but if you can’t, at least you will go to your deathbed with the serenity of knowing that you gave it your very best shot.