In previous posts, I’ve shared that a few years ago my husband (then boyfriend) and I went through one of the most difficult times in our relationship. We had been dating for about 8 years and had become so distant, we weren’t sure what to do. We weren’t communicating with each other or working on our relationship. We realized that we needed to mend our broken relationship but weren’t sure where to start.
In the Spring of 2015, my husband and I relocated to the Twin Cities since I had just accepted a new job. The job was in a completely different industry than I had ever worked in. Not too long after I had started the job, I realized that it wasn’t a good fit for me! I found myself mentally exhausted, overworked, and had very little left for my husband by the end of the day/week. I worked long hours and started to develop a very negative attitude from being in a very unhealthy work situation, which I brought home with me.
Throughout our relationship, my husband and I have made a point to have a date night one night a week to spend quality time together. As I’ve shared before, my love language is “Quality Time” so it is very important for me to connect and spend quality time with my husband. As the job went on, our date nights became few and far between since I often stayed late at work while he would focus on his work too.
A few months after I started the job, we slowly began to drift apart and started to argue a lot. We found ourselves in a very rough patch in our relationship and by that Spring, I knew we needed to make a change. We had become so disconnected that I wasn’t even sure I wanted to continue with our relationship, if something didn’t drastically change.
One evening, I approached my husband and told him that I felt I was falling out of love and I wasn’t sure what to do or how to fix things. I had allowed myself to become so exhausted with work that I felt like I had nothing else to give in my personal life. He told me he was going to do everything he could to change how I felt and that he wouldn’t give up on us. After a serious conversation, we decided to take a few days for us to think of different ways for us to mend our broken relationship and figure out the steps we needed to take to fix it.
That evening, my husband spent the whole night online researching ways to reconnect and rebuild our relationship. The next morning, he approached me when I got home from work, and shared all of the ideas he had found researching the night before. He told me all of the ideas he had for how we could mend our broken relationship and how he wasn’t about to give up on us. I’m so beyond grateful that he did this because that was exactly what I needed from him!
At that point, my mental health had become so poor that my mind became spacey, noticeably enough that my husband became worried. It became so bad that I would often loose my train of thought because my mind was in overdrive constantly. I had very little energy, no matter how much sleep or rest I got, and it felt like my mind had a road block. I had no mind capacity to brainstorm ways on how to fix out relationship because I was mentally drained. Had he not taken the lead on fixing our relationship and believing in us, I’m not sure where we would be today.
After a few weeks, things began to slowly improve but we knew we needed to do more. We discussed what we felt might help mend the relationship and came up with the idea to start “dating” again. My husband and I have been together since we were 17 years old and we have lived together most of our relationship. After being in a relationship for 9 years by that time, we were learning the importance of changing things up and dating again.
Technically, we were “dating” since we weren’t married but If you’d ask our friends and family, they would all tell you, we were “basically married” even before we finally said “I do” this past October. Which has turned out to be true, not much has changed for us since we officially got married. So, “Dating” didn’t describe our relationship in any way, especially at that point in our relationship. It may sound a little silly for us to start “dating” again when we were technically boyfriend and girlfriend but that’s exactly what we needed and exactly what we did!
When you’re in any relationship for an extended period of time, things can become very routine. It’s easy to fall into daily patterns, which can become very bland. When describing a relationship, most of us can agree, one of the last words you’d want to describe your relationship is as bland or routine. No one wants a routine or boring relationship. We had hit a rough patch and needed to “spice” things up by dating each other again.
My husband and I have always enjoyed trying new thing, whether that is a new restaurant, trying a new activity, or sharing a new experience together. When we had fallen into our routines, we stopped dating each other and stopped creating memories together. If there is any type of disconnect in a relationship that has become routine or bland, it can be a recipe for disaster. No relationship wants to be bland!
Instead of continuing our daily routines, we started to make date night a priority again and focused on spending quality time together building fun memories. We tried new things and shared new experiences together. It turned out to be exactly what we needed! I found a new job and things quickly began to improve. We found ourselves falling back in love with each other and this time, on an even deeper level. We learned the importance of continued dating within a relationship and have created so many fun memories together during that time and ever since.
Relationships take a lot of effort and many times people give up because they don’t know what else to do. We’ve found that when you come to a crossroads within your relationship you have two options, you can either fight for it or give up. For us, through hard times, we have always asked ourselves one question to determine if it is worth fighting for, “Is the relationship worth it?”. Each of us have always been able to answer that question with a yes.
My husband and I have always agreed that if we’re both willing to work on our relationship, it will always be worth it! Either him or I, have always been strong enough to take the lead and work through the hard times throughout our relationship. That is what has help us last over a decade and counting. It has also help us to grow as individuals and within our relationship.
Looking back at that difficult time within our relationship, I’m so grateful to have had a boyfriend (now husband) who was, and continues to be, willing to fight and be strong for our relationship when I couldn’t, and can’t be. Our relationship isn’t perfect, and never will be because no relationship is. We are more in love today than we ever have been and we will continue to fight for our relationship as long as we are both willing to work on it.
What is something you have learned in your relationship? Has your significant other ever had to be strong when you couldn’t be or Vice Vera? I’d love to hear about your experience!
“The falling in love part is easy. It’s the keeping it together part that takes consistent choice day after day. To do the work. To show up for your partner and for yourself. It’s not that relationships are hard, it’s that they require effort. Choose to make one.”
– Mark Groves