Being able to identify the resources we require to meet our own needs is one of the most important factors in maintaining the health of our romantic relationships. Knowing what we need and how to get it enables us to nurture both ourselves and our relationships.
Most of us know that we need to hold space for being a romantic couple in our daily lives. Those moments we spare for quality alone time with our partners helps our emotional resources grow.
Sometimes, though, in our daily hassle, we may forget to center ourselves and/or our relationships. Our responsibilities may take over and become the determining factors of how we greet life each day, taking up our energy, space, and time. This can cause us to feel tired and stressed to the point where we can no longer identify the resources available to us.
Perhaps we may find ourselves saying: “This week went by like the blink of an eye,” or, “My partner and I just don’t have time to do the things we want together,” or, “Sometimes we can’t even make time to chat,” or, “I feel so tired, I feel like I can’t catch up with anything,” so much that they become our knee-jerk response. When we realize that these expressions have become the dominant pattern of conversation in our lives, we may reconsider what we need to change.
We can begin to take back our power, disrupting the pattern by rearranging the boundaries between demands of the external world and those of our private lives. Releasing the burden of trying to catch up with everything, reevaluating our priorities, and reviewing where we put ourselves and our relationship on that long list can be helpful. Stepping back from our routine lives to identify our needs and how we are feeling turns our lives into a process we feel we can take part in rather than be dragged along for the ride. With practice and time, reorienting ourselves and reaffirming our boundaries and priorities becomes much easier.
The quality of our communication with our partner can tell us a lot about the quality of our relationship. Ask yourself these questions: Do I feel like I’m being understood by my partner? Am I motivated to share with them? Do I think that they will be interested in what I say? Do I feel like I’m being heard?
Our motivation for talking with each other and sharing how we’re feeling or what we need is closely related to whether or not we feel we’re being understood. We are more likely to share if we feel that the other person cares for us and is interested in our experience. By asking ourselves the above questions, we can begin to get a better idea of how we are able to communicate our needs in our relationship and what may need to change.
Being unwilling to share, believing our partner doesn’t care about us, or losing interest in our partner can be indicators that something is blocking our sharing channel, the most fundamental resource for maintaining closeness in our relationships. These feelings can also show us what we need, which is not to ignore the blockage but to work toward finding a solution.
Barriers crop up in our relationship for a variety of reasons and every relationship has its own dynamic. That’s why it is so important to evaluate our relationships with our specific story and relationship history in mind. We can ask further questions of ourselves to deepen our understanding of how we’re feeling about our relationship in the present moment. Some of those questions could be: How long have I been feeling reluctant to share with my partner? How long have I felt as though they won’t understand or care for me? Can I recall a situation in particular that made me feel this way? Does my partner know how I feel? How does my partner experience this difficulty? Do they feel the same way? If so, how do they explain it? Time and context impact our relationships beyond just what we do within them. Our jobs, families, health, and traumatic experiences weave themselves into the fabric of our daily lives as well. How do these factors impact your relationship? Do they play a role in preventing closeness? If so, how can we prevent such factors from deepening the rift we may feel? How can we begin to cope with these difficulties?
Each of these questions can help us to understand the origins of feelings like resentment, desperation, and anger. These feelings can run deep and may trigger our self-defense reflex.
When we identify the problem areas which cause such feelings and find a solution for them, our relationships can become more trustworthy and enjoyable again because we have been reassured that our partner cares for and loves us. We care for our partner as well and feel willing to share with them. The question marks and worries in our minds fade away. Curiosity, desire, and trust are restored. In such an atmosphere, we feel more willing to share a life and ourselves with one another.
Imagine chatting, expressing yourselves, listening, and just enjoying one another’s company without feeling obligated to do anything. Think of basking in the desire for one another, creating time and space for having more fun, traveling, listening to music, dancing, watching movies, playing games, exploring new places, creating space for the marvelous, the surprising. Just like sustaining our wellbeing with self-care, our relationship needs our care as well. That’s why being aware of our resources and keeping them active is important. How are you nurturing your resources today?