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with Relationship Speaker/Author/Coach...
Larry James


Relationship "Slump Busters"
Part 1 of 5
Larry James

So often in coaching couples about their relationship, I hear one or both partners say, "The passion is gone. We're just roommates. It's just not the same as it was." How sad to have moved away from the excitement that once was.

While it may be true that with the passing of time some couples tend to tilt away from the consistency of effort that is required to keep them on track, it doesn't have to be that way.

When you have experienced a pulling away, a slowdown in affection, sex and all the other important things that seemed to matter when you first met, it is often difficult to begin again.

The hardest part of coming out of a slump is acknowledging you are in one. You cannot solve a problem that you cannot admit you have.

When the energy you pour into your relationship has slowed to a trickle, there are some things you can do.

Don't give up! The power to break through a slump is in you.

If you are thinking, "It's no use. I'm tired of doing all the work in the relationship. He/She isn't even trying. I've got to get out!" Think again. Your interpretation of how things are colors what happens next. It alters your forward motion. While in the heat of battle, it may feel easier to leave the relationship rather than do the work you committed to in the first place. The odds are against you.

Making another relationship work most likely will not work if you do not take time to work though the issues you are currently experiencing. It is most difficult to start over in a relationship you are already in, much less begin a new one.

Adversity does not create a great relationship - it reveals it! Upsets create the wisdom necessary to grow in spite of the situation. Upsets stimulate courage to face what's next. To have a problem be an experience of value, you must be attentive to the lesson the upset presents and be courageous enough to do what is necessary to avoid a future setback for the same reason.

It helps when both partners are in agreement. Obviously one person cannot do the work of two. Remember you are in a partnership. It takes two! The sad truth is, you know the relationship is over when one partner refuses to work on the relationship.

Once the decision to move forward is clear, getting started will be your next hurdle. It requires your personal urgency. It will take a leap of faith. This may feel like you are living your life in the leap; not being sure of what will happen or where you will land. It will also take courage. It will take both partners working together, making new promises and beginning with baby steps.

It's time to make some new choices such as changing your thinking, constructing new behavioral patterns and changing your relationship from one that may be sinking into the abyss, into one you can be proud to be in.

At least now you know what doesn't work. Perhaps this is good. Don't do your relationship that way anymore. The secret is to not repeat past destructive behaviors.

Here are some ideas to help you get your relationship back on track. Investing your time in working together a little each day on a few carefully selected "Slump Busters" will pay off handsomely in your relationship.

Rebuild Your Relationship With Yourself - This is the first step in the right direction. When your relationship with you sucks, you cannot be the kind of person your partner needs you to be. Work on you first. The relationship is a close second. Two broken people cannot fix each other. If you want to fix your relationship, start by fixing yourself.

Only you can do the work that you know must be done. I stress "know" because everyone knows themselves better than anyone does. If you truly want out of your relationship slump, you must begin to be honest with what needs to be fixed within you. Learning to love yourself teaches you to love others. Learn to love you. Only then can you offer the kind of love your partner needs. Only then.

Begin Again - Start fresh. Why is it that when you were first together, everything was great? Each of you were doing the right things. The relationship was on fire! The reasons don't really matter. What matters is that you acknowledge that you both stopped doing the things that brought you together in the first place. Re-acquaint yourselves. Get to know each other again. Begin to woo each other like you used to do. Take a moment right now and recollect some of those special moments. Think about it.

It's never too late to recreate the good times. You may have a fresh start on your relationship any moment you choose. Forgive yourself for getting off track. It will release you from the negative feelings that keep you and the relationship stuck. Refuse to hold on to what may seem unforgivable. Read, Forgiveness: What's it For?. Negotiate some new agreements. It's time to move forward.

The Correct Carrot - What is your relationship carrot (or goal)? What dangles in front of you that keeps you moving forward? What is important to you? To your partner? If you have no good reasons for being together, then the relationship will not work. Spend some time together talking about what is important to both of you. Set some mutual relationship goals. Commit these ideas to paper. Undefined goals are unreachable. Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your relationship. To follow a relationship path without knowing where it leads is a mistake.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! - Laugh about anything or nothing for 30 seconds each day. If you must, force yourself. Don't be a sourpuss. Drive yourself happy. It doesn't take long for a put-on outburst of laughter to become the real thing. Redevelop your sense of humor. Demonstrate an abundance of smiles for your partner. It's catching. If you think you have nothing to laugh about. . . you're right. Find something to laugh about. What you think about and speak about, you bring about. Force yourself to look at the bright side of things for a change.

The Perfect Present - Be happy now! It's a choice, you know. Focus on the perfect present and its opportunities rather than worrying about past guilt or failure anxiety. There is no future in the past. There is only right now! Live it to its fullest.

Don't Be a "Lone Ranger" - Obviously you must spend time alone to do the work that is necessary for you to be the person your partner can enjoy being with. However, you must also plan to spend time together. The keyword here is "plan." Stand by your plan. Keep your commitment to be with your partner. Make a collective effort to be together. Work as a team. Together everyone accomplishes more.

Accelerate Your Bounce-Back Time - Disagreements will occur. When they do, bounce back quickly. If an "I'm sorry" is appropriate, muster the courage and say it. Don't waste time wallowing in the stuff of the quarrel. Someone has to be first to break the silence. Let it be you.

Don't Let Your Partner Determine "Your" Behavior - When the relationship is strained, it is often difficult to be your own person. Sometimes you may feel that if you don't do what your partner wants you to do, he/she will be upset and become even more distant. This is where agreements are important. Agree to allow each other to make your own choices, first for yourself and then for the relationship. Remember, women usually respond most to a man's action or lack of action. Men generally respond most to a woman's attitude. So. . . now you know what you need to work on. Men - Action. Women - Attitude.

Eat Right - Sleep Tight - Keep Fit - When you are frustrated with the tension present in your relationship it is easy to miss a meal or indulge in inappropriate food, alcohol or drugs. This is another mistake. Pamper yourself. Make a special effort to attend to your diet and your overall well being. Healthy stamina translates into healthy relationship endurance.

You can never catch up on the sleep you missed. Never slight your body on the amount of rest it needs. When you exercise your body, you stimulate your mind. When you are fit, you feel better and are more likely to perform better in your relationship. This is another part of taking care of you.

Part 2next

Copyright © - Larry James. Adapted from the books, "How to Really Love the One You're With" and "LoveNotes for Lovers."

  If you would like to talk one-on-one with Larry James about relationship issues related to this article, you are invited to arrange for a private coaching session by telephone. Go to Personal Relationship Coaching for specific details.

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