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The Art of Relating

Christine Kniffen

By Christine Kniffen, MSW, LCSW

How To Breathe New Life Into Your Relationship

It’s easy to get complacent and it’s easy to take your relationship for granted, although not consciously meaning to do so. We have busy lives, we fall into predictable routines and we forget that relationships are a living, breathing entity. Those who know me have often heard me compare this precious union to a living plant. Your indoor plant may likely be able to survive in the same Miracle Grow soil originally planted it in. However, it will not thrive without new nourishment from time to time. The same can be said about your relationship. So, I thought I would offer some ideas about how to nourish and care-take this all-important aspect of your life. The two best ways to do this involves learning to have fun together and creating some newness in your lives.

My first suggestion is to integrate some fun into your relationship. Some couples seem to struggle to do this. Individuals may find that they have very different ideas regarding what constitutes fun. They express a need to try to find common interests. Many couples realize this is missing and often express that sentiment in my office. I agree it’s not good to be serious most of the time. Life can be serious, so we need to make a conscious effort to combat that in our relationship. Therefore, if you seem to have widely varied interests, do not stress. Instead, each person should write down 3 to 5 things that they consider fun. Then, the simple way to do this is alternate participating in each other’s activities. This equates to compromise and the spirit of fairness that should be in the forefront of all individuals in a healthy partnership. Much of the time people discover fun in activities that they had never considered previously. This is part of the individual growing that happens in healthy relationships.

I mentioned the idea of life becoming too routine. Relationships certainly can suffer this fate as well, leading to a boredom/staleness which can create feelings of disconnect with your partner. It is time to interject some adventure. Plan a weekend or day trip to somewhere you have never been, to nourish and fuel your relationship. It doesn’t have to be expensive. That can be part of the creative process. Head to a nearby town, stay at an Air B&B (they are everywhere with numerous options under $100), explore the area and grab a bite to eat. Consciously leave the worries and stressors at home, practice being in the moment allow yourself to regain that feeling of how much you enjoyed each other’s company when you first met. It is essential that the two of you get time alone with just yourselves, as this is how you add nourishment back into the base of your relationship. If you can’t get a whole weekend, then make a commitment to schedule date nights on an on-going basis. It will work to serve the same important purpose.

In short, it is essential that you add energy and nourishment to your relationship just as you need to do with any living entity. Make a concerted effort towards your relationship to reap the rewards of a greater connection, much more happiness and increasing the potential for it to last a lifetime.

Christine Kniffen, LCSW is a Therapist and Relationship Coach in private practice. For a free consultation call 314-374-8396. Visit ChristineKniffen.com.

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