Relationships are beautiful. They can be challenging and requiring of continuous effort and maintenance but they are wonderful. Nothing beats that feeling of knowing that we are loved, wanted, and that we belong. Relationships bring us so much joy and fulfillment and scientifically, if they are supportive and healthy, they can improve our brain functions and physical health, strengthen our immune system, increase happiness, and give us a sense of purpose and meaning.
I know that there are so many accounts of relationships that don’t work; breakups here and there, dysfunction, and toxicity but there are also relationships that have stood the test of time. One of our goals at Gabby Cares is to provide resources that nurture healthy relationships and families because we know that fulfilling relationships are achievable for us all.
No matter how loving and committed a relationship is, it can fall into the trap of stagnation. This is a relationship that is no longer growing or evolving; it has stayed in the same spot for a while. It’s characterized by a lack of change or progress in the relationship, a feeling of boredom or dissatisfaction, unresolved conflict, decreased intimacy, and poor communication. It’s not a good place to be because it can lead to the breakdown of the relationship. It’s important to recognize the signs of stagnation and make an effort to reignite the connection and positive change.
“Change is inevitable. Growth is intentional.” - Glenda Cloud
Growing together as a couple means you actively work to improve yourself as an individual and grow your shared life together. It’s about staying committed to supporting each other’s personal growth and development and evolving together as a couple. When you grow together, you also deepen your bond, understanding of each other, and intimacy.
How can you grow together as a couple?
Have a life outside of each other. It’s easy to build your life around your partner such that you lose your unique identity and forget who you are without them. This can lead to over-dependence on each other for everything…happiness, fulfillment, and well-being which is not a healthy dynamic. You are yours before you are your partner’s so don’t neglect yourself and your needs and know that your partner can’t meet every need you have. Pursue your individual interests, goals, hobbies, and other relationships (friends and family).
Leave room for personal evolution and change. Recognize and embrace the fact that you and your partner are bound to change and grow over time. It’s not easy because change can be messy and uncomfortable but it’s the only constant in life. Allow yourself to grieve past versions of both of you then be willing to adapt and grow alongside each other. Encourage each other to pursue new interests and goals, maximize personal potential, and become better versions of who you currently are. Also, celebrate each other’s growth and milestones.
Have shared goals that you both work towards. This is about having a common vision and putting together the work individually. It could be short-term goals like planning a vacation or long-term ones like saving for a home or retirement. Accomplishing things together can give the relationship purpose and keep you on track. The other side of this coin is having different personal goals and supporting each other toward achieving them. It may be helpful to keep each other accountable so that you’re both on the same trajectory.
Have constant conversations about your relationship. Check-in with each other regularly. Openly discuss the state of your relationship, both positive and negative, to improve it. Use that opportunity to resolve conflict and arising issues or concerns and exchange ideas about how you can better the relationship. This involves open communication, responsiveness to each other’s needs, and willingness to be honest and vulnerable. Also check in with each other’s personal life/goals, mental health, and overall well-being. Be each other’s friend, soundboard, and safe place to land. You can choose to do this weekly or monthly…or when you feel the need to.
Remember that growing together takes effort, patience, and commitment but it’s worth it all. Don’t give up on each other or yourselves. Keep in mind that growth is good because it ushers more possibilities for a fulfilling and long-lasting relationship.
Starting therapy is the best decision you can make for your relationship this year. View our frequently asked questions to learn more about scheduling your initial conversation. We'll discuss your needs and if we're a good fit for you as well as answer any questions you might have about cost, length of treatment, and coordinating services.
We treat these common concerns:
Anxiety and Phobias
Difficulties with Self-Esteem
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
College/Graduate School Issues
Medical and Health Concerns
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Gender Identity Support
Grief, Loss, or Bereavement