Couples Counseling Articles

A.R.E. Makes Everything Better

Today, if things are not going well, we can commit to doing better tomorrow…or next week…

But if we keep putting it off… years can go by and we’ll still not have the relationship we want at the time we need it the most.

Of course, this could apply to lots of things in life and not only our relationships…but…stay with me on this…for just a minute.

It’s not that we need every relationship to be perfect, every day of the year…

And we ought not give ourselves a hard time when things go off the rails now and then…because human relationships can be challenging. But when temptation seeps in:

  • We can ruminate…and play the scene in our head a thousand times…
  • We want to be right…
  • We wish it were different…
  • We ask ourselves how…and why…things went so wrong so fast.

We might wonder if our brain is wired that way.

Or if it’s because there are so many things going on at the same time.

Everyone and everything needs our attention…especially our devices.

If only s/he would put down the phone and talk to me!…we hear ourselves say.

We think about all the stuff that needs to get done. After all, if we don’t do it…who will?

So we get busy:

  • Straighten
  • Scroll
  • Work
  • Clear the inbox
  • Do laundry
  • Prep meals
  • Check the news
  • Cart the kids off to one more activity
  • Head to the gym and
  • Make weekend plans with friends.

After all, if we can’t see the rift, maybe nobody else will either.

We know how to lock-down those awful feelings and get stuff done.

We tell ourselves, tomorrow will be better…and sometimes it is.

But those locked-down emotions haven’t gone anywhere.

They are planted firmly within us where they wait patiently…until the next time things go off the rails and an eye-roll or harsh word fires off like a bullet.

Unless, of course, we’re super-skilled and tuck our emotions into a zen-like state before anyone notices.

On some level, we all know it’s better to talk about our relationships in a proactive way…in a warm, preventative, caring way…rather than waiting till we feel annoyed, stressed and overwhelmed.

Problem is, most of us have never learned to do that. Instead, we’re expected to pull off stressful conversations as effortlessly as award winning actors on a screen.

Most people have never witnessed a warm, loving, supportive partnership that has stood the test of time.

And while we know relationships are important, most of us are on our own to figure out how to select a life-partner and conduct ourselves in relationship with them…seamlessly…for decades.

It’s a very tall order!

Despite all that…there are some things we do know for sure.

  • We all know comforting relationships enable us to feel less stressed in a topsy-turvy-stressful-upside-down world.
  • We know we are healthier more resilient and resourceful when we feel loved.
  • And we’re clear that we are less irritated and overwhelmed when we can count on our partner for support.

Most of us have also heard about the science-based studies that validate what we already know in our hearts:

  • Positive relationships are the most important factor in determining human happiness, health, and longevity.
  • Close relationships and social connections are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes and
  • The quality of our relationships is more important than the number of relationships.

At the end of the day, there is hope AND there is work to be done.

Perhaps it’s time to prioritize our well-being and our relationships by stepping into the simple yet powerful principle of A.R.E. which seems to make everything just a little bit better.

Becoming more

  • Accessible,
  • Responsive and
  • Engaged

in daily life…even in moments we might consider challenging…is a very good thing for our health, our well-being and the world.