Do you remember what it was like when you and your partner first got together?
For many couples, dating is fun, you can never get enough of each other, and you talk constantly in the beginning.
Things are shiny and new. It's exciting to grow closer together and learn all about the other person. You actually feel "in love" and are likely to be sexually intimate frequently.
But then something changes.
Your routine takes shape and you may even feel bored sometimes. You start to see their flaws. You notice things that start to annoy you and you can't unsee them.
This is when you have left the honeymoon phase of your relationship and are entering a more settled and comfortable stage.
Typically for most couples, this occurs within the first two years of their relationship, if not sooner.
When you get to this point, it doesn't mean things are terrible necessarily, just that your relationship no longer has a "new car smell" to it.
So what do you do when the honeymoon is over? Does the honeymoon actually HAVE to be over?
In my years working through this settled stage with tons of couples in a therapy setting, I have found that many couples are grieving the loss of their honeymoon phase. Some couples even blame each other for this loss. They wonder if things will ever go back to how they were when they first got together.
My short answer to them is "no". There isn't a way to go back.
However, things can get even better in this settled stage moving forward.
To use the car analogy, you will never get your car back to its brand new, right-off-the-lot state when you've had it for a while. But there ARE things you can do to help maintain its quality and not let it rust away into a piece of junk. It may take a little time and effort, but it's definitely worth it.
The same goes for your relationship.
Established couples have the advantage of really knowing their partner's inner world, their likes, their dislikes, and hopefully their top love languages. Having (and using!) this knowledge is a huge step in the right direction.
I assure you there are specific ways you can maintain the quality and health of your Partnerhood in the settled stage.
Regular maintenance is just as important for the survival of your Partnerhood as it is for the function of your car (just different types).
To learn a little more about these maintenance tips, I would love for you check out the FREE 30-minute mini-course. I encourage you to take some notes as well so you can really absorb the information and begin using it right away.
I hope today's message finds you and your partner well and I look forward to touching base next week.
Christie Sears Thompson
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
The Partnerhood (www.thepartnerhood.com)
Trade Winds Therapy & Relationship Coaching (www.tradewindstherapy.com)