A rut is defined as “a long deep track made by the repeated passages of the wheels of a vehicle.” A routine is defined as “a sequence of actions regularly followed.”
A relationship routine is agreed upon and followed by both parties. A routine makes comfort and fun available to both parties. Routines include positive features that make both parties feel good about the relationship. Routines are kept up with and both partners take time to think about one another and do little things that they know would be meaningful to the other person.
A relationship rut is created by one partner and followed by another. The pattern of repeated wear and tear begins to create tracks in the relationship. In a rut there is conflict after conflict and no partner in the relationship is left feeling good.
As a relationship leaves what we call the “honeymoon stage” both partners begin to feel less connected and more consumed with the “task” of keeping up with the relationship. This is the biggest time when a relationship can get stuck in a rut.
In the beginning of the relationship, you wanted to pay more attention to what would make your partner smile and feel good, such as leaving a note.
Try these three steps if you feel you are in a relationship rut:
Step 1: Each day ask yourself what you can do for the other person? Yes, each and every day. That may be making dinner, helping with dinner, leaving a note, or holding the person and telling them how much you love them and care about them. It can be as easy as a compliment or a romantic touch. Ask about their day, or engage in a conversation. These things remind us of the connections that we had early in the relationship. If both partners actively ask that and act on it each day, the relationship will begin to flow smoothly. It takes an active engagement in the relationship to change it.
Step 2: Positive, positive, positive. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.
Not, “I don’t like when you…..” Try “I love it when you help with the dishes.” Positive talk from both parties will create a positive environment that allows both partners to feel happy, cared for and loved. Positive-in leads to positive-out. There are times when you need to discuss certain undesirable characteristics to work through a rough patch, but talk about it then move on. Don’t stay in blame or hurt for longer than you have to.
Step 3: Play around. Try to do something spontaneous. Be playful in your relationship. Find what you have within you to create a playful relationship and environment.
The Cynical Therapist came to be when two therapists became friends. SoulMates or Kindered Spirit Animals… Call us what you will…. We are two bad*** chics Licensed to teach you how to grow into your full potential and add some humor along the way.
Laurie Wilson and Elle Anzalone are both Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist practicing in Huntington Beach, CA.