Growing Together or Apart: Staying Connected in a Partnership

I think people are constantly growing and changing. Or at least I think we should be striving towards that in some regard. Evolving is an indicator that we have an open mind and are willing and able to adapt as we gather and process new information. While learning and growing can be such a good thing, how does this affect relationships?

Many people establish long term relationships in their late teen years/early twenties. Who we are in our teens and twenties might be very different from who we are later in life. Some couples can grow together; I think of my husband and I in this way. We started dating when I was 18 years old and he was 23 years old. We didn’t have the most solid relationship in the beginning, but we both grew up and matured in our twenties and decided this was the relationship we wanted to make work. While we both have our own interests, we have developed a strong foundation of shared beliefs that keeps us both interested and engaged.

While some couples grow together, what about couples who grow apart? Interests change as we change and common interests between a new couple might not be common later on.  I think it’s not only good, but healthy for each person to have their own interests and life, but there needs to be some sort of common ground to really make a relationship flourish. If the only thing you share with your partner is a bed, it will be difficult to nurture a connection. So are you doomed if you are partner are growing in different directions?

I definitely don’t think so, but it might take some effort to ensure you stay connected. Here are a couple of ideas to bring your partner and you back together.

1) Talk. I mean really talk, not just about household stuff or the kids. Check in with each other on goals and dreams. Reminisce about past vacations or childhood stories. If having a meaningful conversation seems daunting, check out the Open Ended Questions app by marriage therapist John Gottman.

2) Try something new together. Do something that is out of both of your comfort zones. It really doesn’t matter what the activity is, as long as both of you are on board. If you are noticing that you don’t have many shared interests anymore, this can be a great way to find new interests you enjoy doing together.

3) Make a conscious effort to spend time together. This even includes doing household duties together. It is easy when you are drifting away from your partner to spend less time around each other. Don’t let yourselves fall into the rut of being roommates; living under the same roof but living completely different lives. Find the fun in everyday activities and relearn how to enjoy each other’s company.

How do you make sure you and your partner grow together?

Danielle

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