What is one thing I can do, starting immediately, to significantly improve my relationship in a way that will help us last forever?
~ Seeking Forever
Now here's a McQuestion begging for a drive-through answer. Let me see if I can cook up something quick and tasty - and even good for you!
Be curious, not critical.
That's my answer.
One of the most exciting things about initial courtship is the constant desire to learn more about one another, to connect. This energy is rooted in curiosity.
As time passes, and commitments are made, couples get lazy - they begin to think they know all there is to know about their partners, and they lose interest in actively knowing them, or updating their understanding of one another as they grow and change. In fact, some partners are threatened by change and growth and begin to criticize the changes, rather than to seek understanding and offer support.
Often partners complain they have "grown apart" or "grown in different directions." When I hear this, it's stated in such a way that leaves me thinking they must have been abducted by aliens and hand-placed on entirely different life paths without their involvement.
As humans we continue to grow and evolve. Consequently, one, five, ten or twenty years into a relationship we are often not the same person we were when we first fell in love. We risk growing apart if we don't continuously discuss who we are, how we think, and the ways in which our beliefs about the world and ourselves are changing over time. It is not the pursuit of different interests, or even the development of different parts of our self, that change the shape of our relationship. More often it is the lack of communication about these new developments as they are being made and the assumption that it is not okay to change, or the resistance to seeing our partner (through a lens of curiosity!) for who he or she is, that causes damage to our relationship.
Change is wonderful. Change is alive. Change is possibility and growth and hope and newness. And more than anything, change is inescapable. My number one suggestion to help you stay in love forever is to be curious about your partner. I actually wrote a little book of questions called "Ask Me!" to help couples keep curiosity alive. If you have trouble being curious - get my book, or one of the many other book of questions and start asking each other new questions. You'll be amazed at how it affects your relationship to bring curiosity back to life.
Got your own question? Ask Michele!