“You sort of stumble along and reconnect and lose each other and reconnect again.”
That’s Felicity Huffman’s response (Lynette from Desperate Housewives), when she was recently asked about her successful marriage.*
And it’s one of the best descriptions I’ve ever heard — of a good relationship.
Being in a good relationship doesn’t mean things are always great (that’s Hollywood). It doesn’t mean things are dramatic and tumultuous (that’s Hollywood, too).
It means — sometimes you’re close … then you fight … then you work things out … then you’re close again … and then you start all over again.
Hopefully there’s more closeness than fighting. And, when you’re close, you remember how much you really love each other. And, when you fight, you don’t do or say things you can’t take back.
But, it can be reassuring to realize that it’s okay to “stumble along” and “lose each other,” as long as you find your way back to each other again.
So, how do you find your way back to each other? Sometimes, it can help to try:
- Listening to what he’s saying. Even if you know you’re right and he’s wrong, try putting yourself in his shoes. Whatever he’s upset about is really important to him.
- Not replaying how and why you feel wronged, over and over in your head. That’s only going to make things worse.* (See Gottman’s Why Marriages Succeed or Fail, for more on this.)
- Taking time to cool off. It helps you put things in perspective. Then whatever you were fighting about becomes less important. Plus, you start to miss each other.
- Remembering, he’s doing his best. He may be having a bad day. He may be under stress at work. Sometimes, it helps to remember that things aren’t always about us.
- Appreciating what he does do. He might not do exactly what you want, when you want him to do it. But, there may be other things he does for you, that you don’t even think about. It’s important to remember he’s trying and not take that for granted.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you let him treat you bad or blame you for things that aren’t your fault. And you do need to work though whatever you were fighting about, so it doesn’t keep happening. But, first, you have to get to the place where you want to reconnect, before you’ll even be ready to try.
I’d love to hear how you find your way back to each other.
*To read more of the Felicity Huffman article, see the September issue of More.