This week during the Couples Workshop we discussed the cliché, “Familiarity breeds contempt”. Unfortunately, this is often true when it comes to long-term romantic relationships. They start out full of excitement and energy, but after a while couples can fall into the rut of contempt. Getting to know someone very well in the day-to-day challenges of life can cause you to start noticing all the little things about them that annoy you. If you are not careful, you can allow this annoyance to turn into disrespect. Disrespect, if nurtured by further disappointment and negative thinking, can become full-blown contempt. Once a couple reaches the stage of mutual disrespect and contempt, it is very hard to save the relationship.
What can you do?
You spent a lot of time and energy finding your partner – it’s worth it to invest in keeping the relationship healthy and full of life! The secret is – you get to CHOOSE whether you allow your heart to cultivate contempt or not. Isn’t that surprising? YOU are the only one who determines whether or not you will allow familiarity to breed contempt. It doesn’t have to – it can actually breed the opposite: Admiration and Intimacy.
Action step: If you notice yourself thinking a lot of negative thoughts about the one you love, stop and reconsider. YOU get to choose your own thoughts. Separate in your mind the behavior from the person – too often we jump to conclusions about WHY a person does what they do. You really don’t know and when you jump to conclusions, you tend to pass judgment on them. Don’t do that! Give them the benefit of the doubt – treat them as you would want to be treated. Assume the best, not the worst. Practice gratitude – daily think of things you are grateful for that your partner does. Make a point of telling them what you are grateful for – a partner that feels loved and appreciated will have greater respect and gratitude for YOU. See how that works? You treat them the way you want to be treated and you reap the positivity that you’ve given them. This cultivates intimacy instead of contempt.
If you find yourself struggling with this, contact me. I can help you work through this issue and turn your relationship around! I have tools and techniques that help you “pull your weeds” and plant better seeds to that you can enjoy the fruit of your garden. Having someone help you with this makes it much easier and the work goes much faster!