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I’m A Couples’ Therapist & This Is One Thing Lasting Relationships Have In Common

Intentional means doing the mental work, aka planning,” Andre tells mbg.

A funny thing that happens in relationships, particularly ones that have lasted a long while, is we tend to go on autopilot. A couple will establish a cadence or dynamic that they settle into–including how they interact with each other, what their daily and weekly routines look like, what they talk about, and even how and when they show affection–and they keep at it until an issue comes up. In fact, they may be so married to their familiar patterns of us-ness that they may even just sweep issues under the rug for as long as they can, only finally addressing them head-on once they’ve gotten too big to ignore.

But as Andre notes, relationships require proactive nurturing–not just reactive responses to issues. That’s where intentionality comes in.

“If you want to nurture your relationship, you have to think ahead and figure out all the pieces and parts of what it will take to actually improve your relationship,” she explains.

Being intentional in your relationship means regularly thinking about what the relationship needs to function better and ultimately grow, and then actually taking concrete steps now to make that happen before issues arise. “You’re making it a priority, instead of an afterthought,” she notes.

Instead of waking up one day and wondering, “How did my relationship get here?” or “How do we fix this?” you’re proactively nourishing your relationship so that serious challenges are less likely to appear or less likely to significantly threaten your relationship when they do. As Andre puts it, “You won’t have to worry about the grass being greener on the other side if you’re intentional about watering your own on a schedule.”

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