Have you ever been guilty of taking your partner for granted? Yeah, me too. I think we all have at some point. We are Human. But you are here because you are trying to become the best human you possibly can, right? And that is the natural beginning of relating to love in a more conscious way.
Something happened a few days ago which threw me off my center a bit and really got me to thinking. A friend of ours confided that her husband has decided to leave her. After she told me this, I realized that my face must have revealed my shock because she revealed that she, too, is in shock.
I was in shock because they are the kind of couple that from the outside looking in just seem so perfect, not in that impossibly perfect way, but in that genuine lovable mess kind of way. They’re both genuinely nice, kindhearted people with a sweet family of three sweet little girls between 3 and 10. They are both devoted parents who go on quaint, fun little vacations and outings, drive hybrids, are conscious eaters and consumers. You know, all the right things. And knowing them, they are just the kind of people who you think you know for sure are tight.
And then this happens.
It’s been three days since I heard the news and I’m still in shock and can’t seem to shake the pit in my stomach. I can only imagine how she must be feeling. But the reason I’m so intensely affected by this news goes beyond my empathy for her. What’s really going on is the unshakable thought, if this can happen to them, it could happen to us. And that’s not a thought that we like to entertain.
Because I’m sure that from the outside looking in, people view us in much the same way, just the really nice family next door.
And then I can’t help but thinking, Oh my God, if she never saw it coming, what if my partner is thinking the same thing?
And let me tell you, that is One. Unsettling. Thought. But the truth is, we never do know what our partners are thinking. We sometimes forget that our partners do have their very own internal world, and there might indeed be things going on with them that we will never know. Even in the strongest and closest of couples, you can’t possibly tell your partner every thought that goes through your head, nor would we want to, right?
We can become so enmeshed in this wonderful little life we have created with our partner that we can very easily fall into the trap of expecting it will just always be there as it is now. It might not be this version, but at any moment something could take away any of the things we love, including our beloved. I won’t go into all the possibilities, you know them well enough from watching the news, movies, or reading books and articles.
I’m not writing this to strike fear in your heart, but to bring awareness. As in everything else in this human existence, awareness is key. It is when we are not aware that we can become delusional, take everything in our life for granted and feel like things are falling apart when change inevitably occurs.
Awareness is also the keystone to having a conscious loving relationship.
The truth is, that our partner makes a choice every single day to continue being in this relationship with us, whether consciously or not. They make the same choice about countless aspects of our relationships that we need to remember to not take for granted.
Because when life is great and our relationship is sailing along smoothly, it can be so easy to let it go on autopilot as we tend to all the other demands in our lives. And this is exactly where someone could get into a pickle, not realizing that as they were going along happily on autopilot, their partner had somehow veered off course. And they may not realize until it’s too late.
It is so crucial that we remain mindful in our relationship, staying in the present moment, appreciating our partner every day, not only for their choice to stay in our lives, but for all the parts they play in the life we have created together.
7 Ways You May be Taking Your Partner for Granted
By choosing to love us they are making an emotional investment. That is huge. We all have to decide whether to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to others and in a relationship with a life partner, we are more vulnerable than we are in any other kind of relationship.
So, we should also remember that our partner is trusting us with their heart, as well.
Remember, a commitment isn’t merely a one-time thing. It is a new decision every day and our partners are making that choice to honor their commitment every day. Just take a moment to feel the impact of this statement.
Their Own Needs
Sometimes we can fall into the habit of thinking our partners are there to satisfy our needs without realizing that our partner has their own feelings and their own set of needs, as well. It is when partners fall prey to this kind of thinking that troubles can quickly escalate in the relationship.
We can grow so accustomed to their little shows of affection that it is as though we become immune to its intended effects. We may ignore it or brush it off and not even notice it until we have inadvertently conditioned them to stop trying. And, as with all things in our relationships, it goes both ways.
We have to be mindful of not withholding our affection from our partners. Those times when life feels too busy to muster up much of anything, we can still always find time for a simple look, touch or kiss. And it can those little tokens of intimacy that keep us in touch with each other through life’s chaos.
It is essential that we recognize the efforts our partner makes on behalf of the relationship. This includes any efforts to please us or show up in any way, whether or not it is in the way we wanted.
So many times when we don’t receive what we want in the precise form we want or need it in we can fall into the habit of devaluing our partners’ efforts or blaming them for not reading our minds and knowing exactly what we need (Guilty!). This will only make them less likely to try the next time and will leave them feeling unappreciated.
If we share children and our partner is present and playing a part in the raising of our children, we need to recognize this and be grateful that we are not one of the many parents forced to go this journey alone.
Even if we do not always agree with their parenting approach or we wish they would do more, we can still appreciate that they have made the choice to stay in the thick of it and be present for their children as well as us.
We all contribute to the life we share together in some way, usually in many ways, and no one wants to be taken for granted for all they do. Whether your partner is contributing to the household financially or sharing in the household chores, errands, bill paying, and any of the other various tasks and things that must be done to stay on top of our lives, they should know that they are appreciated for the contributions they make to helping your lives together run smoothly and stay above water.
No one should ever feel like their partner doesn’t acknowledge them because they are simply expected to do all of these things. But it seems this is an all too easy trap to fall into. Becoming complacent is one of the quickest ways to lead our partners to relationship dissatisfaction.
The one thing to remember is that our partner doesn’t have to do any of this. And they are a free human who can technically choose to leave at any moment… yet they don’t. And while we never want to go through our relationship living in a state of fear of this fact— that would be damaging to ourselves and our relationship— we also never want to take for granted that our partners have chosen us and choose every day to share in this life with us.
As with so many things in life, being proactive is key.
In what ways might you have been taking your partner for granted?
What will you do differently today to let your partner know you notice and appreciate their commitment, efforts and contributions to your life together?