Do you feel like your partner is your rock? Can you always depend on them to be there for you when you most need them? And, if you answered ‘yes’ to those first two questions, have you told your partner how much you value them for being there for you?
If not, you may be taking your partner and your relationship for granted. This is, unfortunately, a relatively common occurrence in long-term relationships. Early on, partners will go above and beyond to do thoughtful things for each other in an effort to make a good relationship last. After a few years, however, many people begin to settle into a routine and grow more comfortable in what they feel is a stable relationship, causing them to become complacent.
Some signs that you are being complacent and taking your partner for granted may include:
- Neglecting to thank your partner when he/she does nice things for you
- Failing to compliment your partner out loud when you think nice things about him/her
- Not making room for ‘couple time’ (e.g. cancelling date nights)
- Seeing your partner as fulfilling narrow, specific roles, such as ‘caretaker’ or ‘parent,’ rather than viewing him/her as a whole, complex person
- Assuming that your partner will fulfill all your needs
While it’s nice to feel secure in your relationship, it can be incredibly harmful to start taking your partner for granted. They may begin to feel that there is an unequal power dynamic in the relationship and that they are being used. This can cause them to harbor resentment and lose their trust in you, and relationships cannot survive when partners don’t trust and respect one another.
How to Stop Taking Your Partner for Granted
If you recognize some of the signs described above and feel that you may be taking your partner for granted, it’s time to make a conscious effort to show them that you love and appreciate them.
Remember to say ‘thank you.’ It may seem like a little thing, but everyone likes to know that their efforts are appreciated. The next time your partner makes dinner or runs an errand for you, tell them how much you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
Compliment them every day. Find positive things about your partner to compliment every day –not once a month. Not only will these compliments make them feel valued, they will remind you why you value your partner.
Make time to be with each other as a couple. Both you and your partner probably take on multiple roles, perhaps as working professionals or parents, but you shouldn’t let your other roles subsume your relationship. Make time every day for just the two of you to be together alone, even if it’s just the 15 or 20 minutes before you go to bed.
Make time for little romantic gestures. Hiding a love note for your partner to find, making his or her favorite meal, kissing him or her when you leave for work—many couples make these kinds of romantic gestures early in the relationship but taper off over time. Rekindle your love by bringing these small—but meaningful—gestures back into your relationship.
Meet with a Houston marriage counselor. Relationships are hard work, but all that work is worth it when you truly care about your partner. If you’re struggling with taking your partner for granted, or you feel as if your partner has been taking you for granted, consider scheduling a session with a Houston marriage counselor to learn how you and your partner can better communicate and mutually appreciate one another.