No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, be it five weeks or fifteen years, there will most likely come a time when you reach a point of stagnation. Perhaps you’re coming off a big argument; the kind of fight that makes you put up your defenses. Or maybe you’ve reached a roadblock that feels too large to hurdle. Perhaps, you’ve even come up against the same disagreement time and time again.
In any case, these challenges are natural in any healthy relationship. However, the key is equipping yourself with the tools to move on from the conflict. But the question remains, how do you keep your relationship moving forward? Well, based on our experience as couples therapists and relationship experts at Therapie, we’ve outlined a few methods of overcoming this unique kind of challenge on how to move forward in a relationship. In this article, we’ll help to address that looming sense of dread that sneaks up on us when something’s standing in our way and provide an answer for that daunting question; what do I do now?
Table of Contents
- How to Progress in a Relationship and Keep it Moving Forward
- Talk openly and honestly with your partner
- Be more present
- Make time for each other
- Show appreciation for your partner
- Be open to change
- Don’t bottle up your feelings
- How to Reconnect After a Big Fight
- Take a break from each other
- Talk it out
- Promise to forgive
- Hug it out
How to Progress in a Relationship and Keep it Moving Forward
Talk openly and honestly with your partner.
Sometimes the most simple advice is the hardest to follow. Oftentimes, it’s also the most beneficial. One of the most important things in any relationship is communication. It can be difficult to talk about what you want from the relationship, but it is essential to have an open and honest conversation with your partner.
One way to start the conversation is to ask your partner what they are looking for in the relationship. Listen to their answer and then share your own desires. It is important to be respectful of each other’s wishes and to compromise when necessary.
If you can openly and honestly communicate with your partner, it will strengthen your relationship and help you both to achieve a more fulfilling future together. Set boundaries but don’t be afraid of vulnerability. Be honest, even when it’s hard. It makes all the difference in the world.
Be more present.
If you live together, being more present can feel especially ironic. After all, you’re likely spending a good chunk of time with your partner anyway. But when we talk about being present, we mean being fully engaged with them in the moment. It can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life and let your relationship fall by the wayside. However, making a conscious effort to be more present with your partner can help to move the relationship forward.
One way to be more present is to put away all distractions, such as your phone, and focus on your partner. This will show them that you are interested in what they have to say and that you value their company. another way to be more present is to make an effort to learn about their interests and hobbies, even if they are different from your own. This will show them that you are curious about their life and that you care about what they enjoy.
Finally, try to make time for quality conversation, both serious and light-hearted. This will give you both a chance to share your thoughts and feelings and connect on a deeper level. By making a conscious effort to be more present with your partner, you can help to move the relationship forward.
Make time for each other.
As mentioned, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. However, quality time is an essential aspect of a healthy relationship, especially when things get rocky. Prioritize your partner by setting aside time to build and grow with them (or even just binge a show on Netflix and grab some takeout, for example.) Take an interest in what excites them. Making plans is a show of your commitment to progressing the relationship forward. When both partners are present, physically and mentally,
There are undoubtedly many demands on our schedules (– I see you, looming deadline at work!), and it can be difficult to find time for the people we care most about. However, making time for your partner is essential for maintaining a happy and healthy relationship. Here are some tips for making more time for one another:
- Set aside a specific time each week to spend together. This could be an evening or a weekend day. During this time, turn off your phones and focus on each other (see be more present section on that).
- If you have children, arrange childcare so that you can have some child-free time together. This could be a regular date night or even just an afternoon to yourselves.
- Make the most of small moments by really connecting with each other. Whether you’re sharing a meal or taking a walk together, put away distractions and give each other your full attention.
- Take turns planning fun activities that you can do together. This could be anything from exploring a new city to trying out a new restaurant.
By making a conscious effort to spend more quality time together, you can deepen your connection and strengthen your relationship.
Show appreciation for your partner.
The golden rule is to treat others as you’d like to be treated. With that in mind, it’s safe to say most everyone enjoys feeling appreciated. Acknowledge when your partner makes you feel good or goes out of their way. Say “thank you” for the things they do and give them earnest compliments. More often than not, focusing on the positives will give you a better perspective on your challenges. Maybe, you’ll see your roadblock looks more like a speedbump. After all, hold-ups are all part of the process.
Be open to change.
Change can be a scary thing, but it’s also part of the human experience. Give yourself and your partner the grace to develop and grow, and give your relationship room to do the same. If we’ve learned one thing as a collective in the past few years, it’s that life is unpredictable and the future is unknown. Anything can happen. To thrive, you must be adaptable. When something is not working, be willing to give other options a try.
Don’t bottle up your feelings.
The silent treatment never did any couple any favors. Though it’s common to bottle up negative feelings, having an open line of communication will prevent explosive arguments and underlying resentment. When you’re facing a challenge, explain what it is that’s bothering you, and discuss ways to move forward. You’re doing both yourself and your partner a disservice by not discussing your thoughts and feelings. Demonstrate your self-worth by speaking your truth.
How to Reconnect After a Big Fight
Take a break from each other.
Facing conflict head-on is important, essential even, but discussing challenging topics while feelings of anger are present can sometimes be counterproductive. If you are stuck in the middle of a fight and things just seem to be escalating, it’s time to take a break. Consider taking a walk or a hot shower, or calling a close friend or family member; something to create a healthy distance while you let the dust settle. Distance provides perspective and a little perspective makes sense.
Bonus: Free Mini-Course
As couples therapists, we understand that taking a break when things get too heated is ESSENTIAL. However, most of the couples we have worked with were unclear on how to take an effective time-out. The owner of the practice, Christian Bumpous, created a free mini-course that teaches you everything you need to know about stopping every fight in its track. You can get free access to it here.
Talk it out.
Once you’ve taken some time and space to cool off, it’s time to face the cause of your argument directly. As licensed psychotherapists, the most common issue we see with the couples in our treatment of couples is a communication breakdown. In terms of addressing this challenge, my professional advice is to talk it out. Negative emotions only multiply when left unaddressed. Maintain your composure and respect but let your feelings be known. Then listen when your partner reciprocates.
In the heat of the moment, you or your partner might lash out and hurt one another. After a big fight, it can be hard to know how to apologize to your partner and move on – especially if you’ve been hurt, too. However, there are a few things you can do to make the process a little easier. The first thing is trying to take responsibility for your own actions. This doesn’t mean that you need to take all the blame, but acknowledging your role in the fight can help to diffuse the tension.
Next, avoid using phrases like “I’m sorry if you were hurt” or “I’m sorry you feel that way.” These phrases can come across as insincere and could make the situation worse. Instead, try to focus on specific actions that you are sorry for. Finally, be sure to listen to your partner and understand their perspective. They may have valid points that you need to consider in order to move forward and are deserving of your respect. By following these steps, you can start to repair the damage from a big fight and build a stronger relationship with your partner.
Promise to forgive and forget.
It’s not uncommon for couples to have the occasional big fight. Whether it’s over something minor or a more serious issue, these arguments can leave hard feelings on both sides. In order to move on from such a fight, it’s important to make a promise to forgive and forget. This doesn’t mean that you should simply pretend like the argument never happened.
Instead, it means that you should be willing to let go of any residual anger and hurt feelings and move forward with your partner. This can be difficult to do, but it’s important to remember that every relationship has its ups and downs. By making a commitment to forgive and forget, you can help ensure that your relationship remains strong in the face of adversity.
Hug it out. Literally.
One helpful way to start reconciling is by hugging it out. This may seem like a small gesture, but it can actually have a big impact. Physical touch helps to release oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone.” Oxytocin has been shown to promote bonding and trust, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, hugging also gives partners a chance to physically reconnect after an argument.
By wrapping their arms around each other, you can help to heal the emotional rift that has formed between you and your partner. Plus, the act of hugging sends a clear message to the brain that the person being hugged is safe. As a result, it can be an effective way to defuse tension and create a sense of safety and security. When partners hug it out after a big fight, they are taking an important step towards rebuilding their relationship.
Now, it’s your turn.
Hopefully, this article has provided some valuable insight and useful tips on navigating those moments of transition and stagnation that we all so often face. Moving forward in a relationship can be a confusing (and sometimes daunting) task but increasing the tactics on your toolbox will make you feel more prepared to overcome whatever issues you come upon.
Get in touch.
If you are interested in getting some support around your relationship, Therapie has tools to make that happen. Take advantage of our free mini-course or schedule a consultation call if you are in Texas or Tennessee and interested in working with a couples therapist.