Everybody has a model of what it means to be part of a relationship, and how a relationship works. We call this a mental model of a relationship. This model is built from experiences of being part of a couple, one’s own capacity to adapt to different, unusual or challenging situations and people, and one’s own communication style. Problems arise when partners’ relationship models clash, or one partner’s model doesn’t match the other.
Every relationship is unique. Raising couples' awareness of their unique relating style, and how that might impact on their partner, is important for new growth and understanding within relationship.
Life is full of challenges. Challenges bring about growth and new understanding. Without challenges, life would be mundane and boring. Every relationship has its challenges, and when dealt with properly, relationship challenges can bring about joy, passion and new life from new understandings.
Everyday stresses can also be challenging and may have a debilitating effect on a relationship. However this doesn’t mean that your relationship is over or that you should be willing to separate. What it does mean is that your relationship needs some attention.
Many people don’t understand that when things do go wrong in relationship, that it’s not necessarily the end. Rather, it’s an opportunity to learn a new way of relating to your partner, and may bring new life to the relationship through compassionate new understanding.
If your relationship early warning system indicates problems such as:
- Misunderstanding - minimal dialogue between you and your partner
- Significantly reduced sexual activity
- Circular arguments that go nowhere and are never resolved
- Disappointed or angry co-existence
- Strong feelings of being alone within the relationship
... then it’s time to take a look at why, not walk away.