Time and again, couples in my office try to make sense of how their relationship came to be in such a state of disrepair. I hear things like, “I was going to put my focus back on the relationship once I received that promotion or when the kids started school.” Why is this faulty logic? Just like your car needs oil in order to keep running or your body needs exercise to stay strong, your relationship needs your active attention to stay healthy and connected. Relationships cannot work on autopilot. Unfortunately, it often takes the relationship hitting rock bottom to jolt one out of the misconception that he or she could put the relationship on the backburner.
Ways to ensure you are not putting your relationship aside is to have frequent discussions about how the two of you can get through busy or tough times together. Learn what your partner’s needs are out of relationship and actively work to fulfill them. Ask each other regularly how you are doing in terms of fulfilling those needs. If these conversations are difficult for you, seek out the help of a relationship counsellor to facilitate these dialogues. The main thing is DO NOT ASSUME it is okay to give other life demands priority over your relationship for an extended period.