18 November, 2013

How is it that we can live in a smooth routine with our partner and everything just seems to flow? We have found our unique slice of heaven with a companion and nothing can go wrong. Being in our comfort zone is very important to us human beings, as it helps us to feel safe, secure and in control. No one likes the feeling of loosing control, so most of the time we are very busy trying to maintain the status quo, even if we are actually quite annoyed with our partner.

This need for predictability is deeply ingrained in us. It helps to plan and foresee the things which in reality are not very foreseeable. So most of us make small deals with ourselves in relationships, which help us tolerate some behaviours in exchange for certain feelings like comfort, love and security.

Sometimes, however, these negotiations do not seem to add up for us any more. For some couples it can take years to recognise, that they have grown apart. The “WE“ has become a “YOU and ME”. Suddenly things are not so comfortable any more and arguments seem to be a regular form of communication.

It can be a very daunting experience to admit to ourselves our relationship is not working as it used to.

Most couples agree that looking back, they noticed these problems, but choose to ignore them for a greater good.

When couples find themselves at this stage in their life, it is usually a make or break decision. Resentment, anger and frustration have been held inside for many years and it feels like “growing apart has happened for too long and we cannot find our way back to the comfortable home zone, we once called our marriage.”

It does not have to be this way. There are many couples, who have a very happy, long lasting relationship extending over many years. The secret to their happiness is not that they never fight or argue, or that they are not going through hard times. In fact, quite the opposite!

Their seemingly secret ingredient is surprisingly simple – they do not take each other for granted. And they work on their love.

Love is a commitment we make to somebody at some stage in our life and it is up to us, if we honour that commitment. With the right motivation, our relationship can grow stronger, if we care for it. The rewards at the end will be more than we hoped for.


--Denise Reichenbach is a counsellor and community educator with Relationships Australia Spring Hill