Relationships are complex and ups and downs are just part of the process. However, when the downs start to outnumber the ups, people begin to question whether or not working things out is worth the effort. While this may seem crass, in reality, saving a relationship is as hard as building one in the first place – it takes a lot of conscious work on the part of both people and, in some cases, not in the best interest of either of you.
In fact, most people go about saving their relationships not out of love, but out of fear – fear of being alone, fear of financial ruin, fear of the unknown, etc. Fear is a powerful emotion, but love is more powerful and it is only from a place of true love and respect that you can hope to truly “save” a relationship and not just patch it up and limp along.
There are no hard and fast rules or checklists that can tell you whether or not your relationship is not only worth saving, but able to be saved in the first place.
Every couple must carefully consider their individual circumstances, personalities, and feelings in the context of the effort it will take to get from where they are to where they want to be.
However, there are four criteria that must be present in order to know if saving a relationship is possible — and worth it — in the long run. So, do a gut check and ask yourself if your relationship possesses each of these four important qualities:
1. You BOTH Want to Grow and Change
The only way to successfully save a relationship is by working together with your partner. If only one of you wants to do the work, or, worse, if only one of you sees a problem in the first place, growth and change cannot take place. You must work together to save a relationship.
2. You Have a Relationship Rooted in Mutual Respect
Valuing your partner as a person, irrespective of your lives together, is critical for change and growth. A relationship based on dominance by one partner is not healthy and not easy to “save,” particularly if it is the submissive partner looking for change. You must respect your partner mentally, physically, and spiritually, which means acknowledging your differences and embracing them, not trying to be the same person.
3. You Share the Same Values
Values are at the core of people’s happiness and are critical to feeling fulfilled. Values go beyond simple explanations such as politics or religion. Instead, they are deep, complex interpretations of the world and what you deem acceptable.
While you do not need to be the same in your execution of your values, you must have similar approaches to important aspects of life such as honesty, family, discipline, freedom, equality, peace, passion, balance, adventure, and more.
4. You Have the Same Vision for Life
Relationships that last do so because partners work together for common goals in life. Like values, this does not mean wanting the exact same things, since reality has a tendency to change the specifics of one’s mission. However, the overall vision you have for life, settling down with children vs. travelling and seeking adventure, living off the land vs. wandering the streets of the big city, must sit in alignment for your relationship to work over the long term.
If you have a relationship that you want to save, it is important to acknowledge that there will be a lot of work involved and that outside help may be necessary. Just possessing these criteria is not enough, on its own, to save your relationship. Only hard work, commitment, and love, in combination with these factors, can provide that.
Got questions? Click here to seek an unbiased help from Brad Browning, a relationship counsellor who has been helping people get back with their exes for over ten years.