Portland Relationship Therapist: Recognizing Routines and Knowing When to Break Them

December 18, 2013 by

As a Portland relationship therapist, I’ve worked with a lot of couples who are looking for marriage help because they feel like they’ve fallen into the same patterns and routines and have consequently gotten bored.

Routines aren’t always a bad thing, and anyone who has been in a relationship for an extended period of time has likely fallen into some of the same familiar patterns with their partner. Routines can be comforting, help us organize and compartmentalize our lives, and reduce stress. However, being in a relationship that feels like it’s governed almost entirely by routines can lead to marriage problems. Here are a few tips to help you recognize which relationship routines may be harmful as well as some advice to get out of your rut.

Tips to Break Free of Routines from the Portland Relationship Therapist

Find ways to interact with your partner more. After a long day at work, you and your partner might be tempted to just sit and watch TV, read, or each get on your own laptops. There’s nothing wrong with doing these kinds of things occasionally, but this shouldn’t be your nightly routine. Make an effort to cook or eat dinner together, have a weekday date night, or come up with another activity that’s relaxing but allows the two of you to interact.

Learn something new about your partner every day. Sure, you and your partner talk every day, but how often do you check in on your partner’s emotional state, ask about future goals and dreams, or talk about where the two of you want your relationship to go? Not every conversation has to be a serious one, but make an effort to learn more about your partner’s beliefs, wishes, and concerns.

Brainstorm new things that you both want to try. This is one activity I have almost all of my Portland relationship therapist clients try: sit down with your partner and make a list of things that neither of you has done before but have always wanted to try. It can be cooking a new food, traveling to a new place, learning a new skill, or anything else the two of you can imagine. You can set some bigger goals, but also include things that you and your partner can try together in the near future.

Don’t schedule your whole day. Many of us have very full lives, and it can often feel like every minute of the day is scheduled. You and your partner should make a goal to set aside some time each day when you have nothing scheduled, even if that just means taking a bit of time to decompress and talk about your days before you go to bed.

If you’re still looking for more marriage help and ideas to get you and your partner out of a rut, talk to a Portland relationship therapist. I’d be glad to talk to you and your partner about breaking out of problematic routines.