Is there Room to Grow in your relationship?

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No matter your age you are always changing, growing and evolving. This needs to be taken into consideration in your love relationships as well. The main questions you should be thinking about, are you going to grow together? Is there even room for growth in your relationship? Couples who report feeling stuck or stagnated often feel that their partner isn’t the same person they used to be, not the same person they fell in love with. That’s to be expected, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. We tend to form a picture in our mind of who our partner is and resist changing that impression. The person we fell in love with is not the same person we’re living with today. The longer you’re together in a love relationship, the truer this becomes. So how do we reconcile the idea that we might grow at different rates and may not always be in synch with one another? How do we both participate and encourage each other to stretch and grow as humans in the context of our relationship?

  • A strong foundation at the heart of your relationship gives you both the confidence and the desire to be a better person and to continue to grow and develop over time. You want to be the very best person you can be for yourself and your partner 
  • Flexibility is crucial to navigating the sometimes rough terrain of your relationship while you are going through changes and growth. It’s not always pretty and can be taxing on your relationship. Being flexible, understanding and having the knowledge that this is a temporary glitch, a hiccup in your relationship, will allow you to bend and not break.
  • Give each other permission  While we don’t need permission to expand our horizons or stretch our wings to fly higher and to grow as individuals, life is so much better, easier and happy if we give each other permission to explore growth, to aim higher and to attempt to grow as individuals. 
  • Assist and encourage growth even when it feels uncomfortable or that you are not a part of the process for your partner. Whatever they are going through, striving for, or reaching out for will be more easily attained and less painful if they know they have your support and constant presence in their life. 
  • Try to keep up so you don’t get left behind. Being out of synch with your partner is an uncomfortable feeling. Emotions run high and resentments can build if you’re not careful. Make sure that while your partner is growing as a person, you are too. You may not always be at the same level, but if you understand each other’s struggle, you’re better equipped to support one another. 
  • See growth and evolution as a positive step. You and your partner are not the same people who met and fell in love, and that’s a good thing! Personal growth, learning to be a better person and a better partner can only improve your lives together. You both should be doing the inner work needed every day to become a better person than you were the day before.  If you are not doing that, you risk becoming stuck, stagnated and boring, and nobody wants to be that! 

It’s easy to fall into a rut or develop habits and routines together.  Breaking out of that mold can be bit scary and intimidating, but I encourage you to do it. It will also be exciting and rewarding to mark the growth that you achieve. Looking back on who you were compared to who you are now individually and as a couple can be extremely satisfying and fulfilling. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, and make sure you go together. 


About the Author:

Stuart Fensterheim, LCSW helps couples to overcome the disconnection in their relationships. As an author, blogger and podcaster, Stuart has helped couples around the world to experience a unique relationship in which they can feel special and important, confident in knowing they are loved deeply and that their presence matters. The Couples Expert Podcast consists of weekly provocative conversations offering the perspectives and insight of experts from a variety of relationship related fields. Stuart also offers daily relationship video tips on The Couples Expert YouTube channel and by subscription in Stuart's Daily Notes. Stuart is happily married and a devoted father of 2 daughters. His office practice serves the greater Phoenix, Arizona area including the cities of Scottsdale, Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.