A relationship is one of those things that takes time and effort, but in spite of all the work you put in, things can hit a plateau. This respite can transcend to a loveless period where couples grow apart.
But where there is life there is hope, and marriage and family therapist Wayne Powell said assuming that there is a deterioration in one or more of the three aspects of the love relationship — commitment, intimacy, and passion — his advice would be given in accordance with those three points.
When it comes to restoring commitment, Powell said if you are married, he suggests you revisit the vows and pledges you both made on your wedding day, and if not married, recall when you both decided to enter into an exclusive relationship with each other.
“Remember when you had each other's back and provided emotional support and security? Remember when you felt it necessary to inform each other of your whereabouts? Recall moments when you could have been unfaithful but you remained devoted to your partner. Recall the times when you would risk your life to protect your partner, and remember the tolerance and endurance you exercised towards your partner. Think of the times when you selflessly gave of your time, effort and personal resources to benefit your partner and consider when there was a high degree of respect and regard for each other,” Powell said.
His second bit of advice surrounds restoring intimacy and in order to do this he said couples should consider the solid friendship they both shared in the initial stages of the relationship and remember the closeness and sense of warmth experienced when their partner was around.
“Remember those moments when your partner was away how sad and lonely you felt? Do you recall the times when you both could talk about anything and share private and personal matters and not feel ashamed? Consider the moments when you both would go out or stay home and just enjoy each other's company. Consider when LOVE meant: Love Overcomes Virtually Everything.”
With regard to restoring passion, Powell said you should recall those moments when the very presence of your partner would get you physically aroused; remember when lovemaking was a most enjoyable event; consider the times when you could not keep your hands off each other; and think of those moments when there was this uncontrollable sexual chemistry between you both.
Powell further stated that as you reflect it is important to ask the following questions:
1. Do I wish to regain and recover those moments we once experienced?
2. Am I prepared and ready to do what it takes to recover those moments?
3. Does my partner wish to reinstate those special moments and times we shared in the past?
4. Have I recognised that I need to make some personal adjustments/changes in my attitude and behaviour?
5. Have our values, ambitions, interests shifted hence we no longer share similar ideals, goals, aspirations and need to re-evaluate and recalibrate our personal positions?
6. Are we prepared to seek professional help to get us realigned?
7. Are we so far gone in opposite directions that the prospect of us regaining a high level of commitment, intimacy, and passion is almost impossible?
Powell said when this advice has been considered and the questions asked and answers thought about, couples must come to an agreement to either work on their relationship or part ways.
“As adults, part of our responsibility is to be decisive and assertive with our decisions, providing they've been well thought out,” he said.