YOUR relationship is sailing along well, then it hits an obstacle and springs a few leaks, then a few more. You realise it is starting to sink. The great bond you shared, the closeness you felt is fading or isn't there. The iceberg of our busy lives has struck our relationship and it is about to go under, leaving us a stark choice: abandon it, or make urgent repairs to keep it afloat.
Better still, revitalise it and make it better than it was before. Many a relationship can be salvaged, some that even seem lost. The key is to re-establish the closeness. Here are six ways you can regenerate damaged relationships to give them resilience, depth, strength, and substance. Then they can thrive despite life's hits.
It is hard to feel close to someone if we don't feel valued or important to them. We feel most valued when others make time for us and make us the priority. We have to work to pay the bills; but is the larger mortgage for the bigger house in the better street really more important than a close friendship with our partner? Make regular time to be alone together. Make your time together precious and a top priority even and especially if you are parents.
Talk and listen
We can't feel close to someone we don't talk and listen to. This works best face-to-face; not using texting, not on the phone, and not by emails, though these can get us by in short bursts. We feel closest by being physically next to each other so we can read each other's body language; how we move, smile, frown, or react. We all like others to hear and appreciate our story.
If we focus on differences we make the other person a potential threat. Look to see what we have in common and we make each other friends. The more we share what we have in common, the closer the relationship. This doesn't mean we have to like all the same things, just focus on sharing what we both like and agree on. If you know your partner also likes long walks, chocolate cake, the movie, the funny show on TV, agree on it.
Make fun time
We want to be with the person who we feel good being around. Having fun together feels great and makes us want to be around each other and be closer. Don't neglect this opportunity to bond. Every week set aside time to do something fun together. It could be games in the bedroom or splashing each other on the beach. Make sure it happens - ensure it's a promise you keep.
Share secrets and build trust
Sharing secrets means you are working as a team to keep something between you that no one else will ever know. How important, trusted, and special must we be if someone is prepared to share their most important secrets? The deeper the secret and the more secrets you share, the closer you can become.
Sharing secrets can make us feel vulnerable and place our heart in someone else's hands. If they validate this trust by never betraying it then we can share 'anything' with each other and further increase our close bond.
Respect, notice and support
We are closest with people who neither try to dominate us nor act like our inferior; those we respect. We can notice someone with a touch, or just say "Hi” if they are in the room. Never give the silent treatment or ignore them - ever. We seek to be with those who support our dreams and ambitions.