Sometimes love is a choice, not just a feeling.

After the honeymoon, what?

After the honeymoon, what?



Usually when people first get into a relationship, their partner is viewed as fulfilling many of each’s perceived needs and wants. As time goes on, questions arise such as “How come he’s not like he was when we first met?” or “How come she’s not the same as she was before?”  As years pass, the relationship goes from excitement and bliss to routine and mundane.

Couples can easily evolve into a pattern of superficiality and surface communication.  They excessively become involved in activity outside the relationship, be it work, raising children, community involvement or worse, an affair. The results is an avoidance of closeness.

For those couples, who find themselves living more like married singles, divorce or separation can be seen as a viable option. For those who haven’t reached that point and earnestly want to work on their relationship, the following are some strategies each can use to improve upon what they have. It is not all inclusive but can be a viable start.


  1. Increase awareness of your own role in the problems in the relationship and begin to focus on taking personal responsibility on working on your own part.
  2. Develop the ability to handle conflict in a mature, non-impulsive, non-aggressive, assertive way. Reframe from the traditional fight/flight response.
  3. Deal with a conflictual situation as it occurs rather than holding things in and allowing it to build up only to come out in some other way.
  4. Focus on dealing with one conflictual situation at a time.  Reframe from bringing up a past unresolved conflicts while trying to deal with the issue at hand.
  5. Write down each of your needs, wants and core values in the relationship and share them with one another. Hopefully, this should lead to both of you negotiating getting them met within the context of the relationship.
  6. Be aware and acknowledge what the partner does right and resist taking those positive behaviors for granted. by focusing only on the behavior that annoys you.
  7. Talk directly to your partner when there is an unresolved issue between each of you. Reframe from sharing those personal issues with others such as friends, relatives or colleagues at work.
  8. When communicating, be physically close to one another rather than just talking in passing or on the run, making it difficult to focus on what is being said.
  9. Plan on setting time aside each day to truly talk to each other. Also, set aside a block of time each week to discuss concrete issues that need to be addressed as a couple. i.e. finances, major repairs, calendar  of activities for the upcoming week.


Implementing some of these strategies may be easier said than done. What is especially difficult for many couples is that each of them are very different. This the result of a different set of parents, different upbringing and different life experiences. Each of you need to take into consideration these facts and resist the temptation of insisting that your partner view the world as you do and behave as you would behave.  Understanding the differences may help you develop new ways of dealing with someone who is just different and not wrong.
Your questions and suggestions can be directed to Raymond Shocki PhD, LCSW, LMFT at