Incredible relationships don’t happen by accident. It happens through an understanding of what it takes, and consistent action to keep improving them. It would be like expecting that you can remain in great physical condition without doing any effort to maintain that!. So knowing that it’s going to take work to make it succeed, we always as “how to know if a relationship is worth saving?. And then consider WHAT actions are going to be the most effective in giving us the results that we’re looking for?.
Here are three great ways to start to look at this question, to see whether the relationship is really worth saving.
The first and most obvious question is whether there is love in the relationship. Often we can get lazy and think, ‘Well, we’re married with kids and we’ve been together for years so of course, we love each other.’ But then when actually look at how we relate to our partner in the cold light of day, the reality on the ground doesn’t much look like what we understand love to be.
For example, if an alien was going to sit in our house and neutrally observe what is happening, would we be able to reconcile the picture they are seeing with an explanation of what love means?
One definition of love is that of ‘transmitted benevolence’, which means essentially that something positive has be conveyed between two people for it to be love:
Encouragement when we’re struggling
Sharing in positive moments and celebrating success
Caring for the person and supporting them to meet their needs
Responding positively to request for help
Having each others’ backs and letting the other person know if we are concerned for them
Affection, warmth and being happy to see the person
And so on.
one rule is “there is no couple alive who has exactly the same values”. But the significant differences in values can make it difficult to connect with each other. The issue when we have big differences is that it can be difficult to simultaneously:
To accept the other person the way they are without trying to change them.
While this balancing act is active in every relationship, where there are really big differences it becomes difficult to maintain.
For example, a couple we were working with had some substantial differences in the area of diet – one being a card-carrying vegan and the other a passionate carnivore. Being in a relationship always involves intertwining our lives with our partner, and being in proximity to each other means that there will be moments when these differences become unavoidable… And potentially uncomfortable, for example when children come along.
So while we can always choose to stay in a relationship, we always need to be vigilant. We have to set ourselves up for success because where there are big differences it can be an uncomfortable ride!
Is my partner willing to join me in working on things?
One of the most common challenges that clients face when they approach us for support is that they really want to work on the relationship but their partner is not so sure. In fact, it’s come up so regularly that we’ve put together some strategies that can lead you through this process step by step to give you the best possible chance of bringing your partner to the table.
So, if you have understood “how to know if a relationship is worth saving?”, and you are willing to save yours, try our strategies.
If we do get clear on what we want and we invite our partner in the right way to join us, and they are still indifferent, then we need to wonder what this is saying about our partner’s commitment to the relationship. Sometimes we may be ready to step up and move to another level but the other person is still on the journey. And then we need to consider whether we are willing to wait and hope and what the effect is going to be on ourselves in the meantime!
If you are looking for support, we offer a free initial consultation. In it, we can understand your situation (whether as a couple or individual), and see how we can help.