Just as we pollute our planet’s environment, we also pollute our relationships through our behavior and the methods we use to get what we want.
No relationship is perfect. Every relationship needs maintenance, as well as a clean up from time to time, so that it can stay healthy and on the right track. Not only that, but a relationship also requires a couple to find new ways of cleaning it up- since a relationship changes and grows in time- with new experiences and issues.
As much as we all want to keep our relationship happy at all times, it is just not a realistic desire. While you might have a lot in common with your partner, you two are still two individual human beings with your own personal goals, passions and desires that you wish to achieve in your lives. You and your partner may not always see eye to eye on everything and this causes conflicts. One or both of you may also get lazy in time, not investing as much effort as you used to when the relationship was young and fresh. Does this mean that your partner (or you) no longer cares? Probably not- but it does mean that you and your partner have settled in too deeply in the comfort zone of your relationship and need to get up and give your relationship a good work out, so that it can get back in shape.
The following are common ways we pollute our relationships with negativity, as well as suggestions on how you can cleans things up and improve your relationship’s health.
Polluter #1: Laziness
Laziness is never your friend. It holds you back and keeps you from accomplishing goals that will make you feel happy and fulfilled. Just as laziness hurts you in your academic and career field, it hurts you in your relationships as well. It is only natural that both you and your partner will become comfortable as your relationship matures. The more time you spend together, the less concerned you become with staying on your toes and impressing one another, because you trust that you both love each other. There is nothing wrong with being comfortable in a relationship. In fact, you should feel safe and comfortable with your partner. However, there is such thing as getting too comfortable in a relationship. If you hang out in the comfort zone most of the time, that means you are no longer trying to find ways to excite each other and bring new joys into the relationship. At one point, you two will drift apart and will become bored- leading one or both of you to perhaps look outside the relationship for excitement, and/or break up.
What you can do: If your relationship is already suffering from the pollution of laziness, then it is time for both you and your partner to get up and get active! Do things to let your partner know that you are still crazy about him/her, as well as let him/her know things you would like for them to do for you, or with you. Find new places to visit together, new hobbies to get active in- whatever you both feel you will enjoy in each other’s company. It does not have to be anything big or extravagant, as long as you both work together in keeping the relationship active.
Polluter #2: Arguments
It is not really the arguing that is the polluter here, but more the way you argue that is. Arguing is normal and is important, because it plays a big role in bringing you and your partner closer together. Arguing is reasoning people give one another when they are for or against something. Through arguing, you and your lover learn the differences that exist between you and can use this information to understand each other better and therefore respect each other more, as well as behave more considerately towards one another. Arguments can help a relationship become even stronger and healthier…when you do it in a positive manner. Unfortunately, we often handle arguments in a negative manner, because to most of us arguments equal negative and this point of view causes us to behave negatively in an argument. Before you know it, what is supposed to be a constructive and learning experience, ends up being a fight of him vs. her with the goal to win and be right, rather than working together in finding a compromise.
What you can do: First of all, it is important that you keep reminding yourself that arguments are not a bad thing. Keep reminding yourself this until you truly understand it, so that the next time you get involved in an argument with your partner, you will not have your defenses up ready to enter a fight. Instead enter an argument with an open mind and heart, ready to problem solve- rather than enter a fighting contest. Do not be afraid or shy to talk to your partner about arguing. Remember, open and honest communication is key and if you and your lover talk about this when you two are happy and not arguing, you will be able to set your goals about this open and clear mindedly. It is essential that you both remember that when arguments do come to surface, the point is to attack the problem and not the person. Getting angry and feeling hurt during arguments is okay, as long as you express your anger and hurt productively and not in a way to just hurt your part back.
Polluter #3: Denial
Denial is a huge relationship polluter. Many of us want to desperately believe that everything is fine or will work itself out in our relationship, causing us to blind ourselves from many truths. Every relationship will have problems and obstacles that are both painful and anger inducing, so while you can denial problems all you want- you are actually only making things worse for your relationship. Ignoring problems does not make them go away, but in fact makes them grow and grow until your relationship is hanging by its last thread. There are times when two people will grow apart and break up because of that, but often times; a relationship does not have to fall apart due to problems. Most relationship troubles can be worked out, but that requires the acceptance of these troubles from both partners involved.
What you can do: Be realistic and accept the fact that you and your partner can love each others and have problems at the same time. Understanding that having conflicts between you and your partner does mean you do not love each other anymore will help you avoid entering the denial zone. When a problem comes along, talk to your partner about it and do not avoid conversation when your partner approaches you about something. Brushing issues off will actually tear you two apart, because issues cannot work themselves out. If you really want to be with your partner, then you need to be a team member in your relationship at all times- the good and the bad. If do not want to lose your relationship and you want to make it last, then do not pretend everything is perfect. Love your relationship unconditionally by accepting it’s imperfections and teaming up with your lover in making improvements where they are needed (whether it is in the communication, trust, passion or commitment department) so your relationship can strengthen from both it’s positive and negative sides, rather than weaken due to denial on your or your partner’s part.