Closeup of a mature couple in love“What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while.”

–The Gottman Institute

Whoever said that relationships were hard work wasn’t kidding! When they’re going well, they feel almost effortless. They’re not, of course. The truth is that even healthy, communicative relationships take far more effort than we realize—a day-in, day-out way of being that keeps our partnerships alive. Many of us forget that. We service our cars more regularly and attentively than we service our relationships, and then we wonder why our relationships leave us stranded on the side of the road, so to speak.

A relationship that isn’t going well can overwhelm your emotional reserves, sap your strength and impact every other area of your life. Whether it’s frequent intense conflict, distance and lack of intimacy, sexual incompatibility or lack of sexual desire, overwhelming external stressors such as illness, or recovery from betrayal, couples may find themselves in a place where they’re not sure whether the relationship is worth salvaging.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I have a magic wand to wave over your relationship and make it all better. I’d love to, but I can’t. What I can tell you is that assuming that both partners are on board, we can all work together on increasing closeness and intimacy, healing old wounds, learning new ways of communication and conflict management, becoming more educated and self-aware as sexual beings, and learning other skills either to give your faltering relationship a fighting chance, or to enrich a relationship that is already relatively strong and healthy.