Recovering your Relationship from the Summer Slide By Anna Osborn, LMFT, owner of Life Unscripted Counseling
It’s official, school is back in session; and it’s back to the daily grind of packing lunches, managing homework and reinstating reasonable bedtimes. One of my biggest goals, this summer, was to have fun and find every possible way to avoid a rigid schedule or a plan… within reason.
My kids will be heading into first grade this year, and I’m still getting used to all the demands of having school-aged kids. In fact, I became versed in a term I’d never heard before; and honestly when I first heard it, I thought someone was talking about playground equipment (which I was embarrassingly wrong about). It’s the old summer slide and it refers to previous school year learning that is lost over the summer—because well you know, it’s summer and anything goes. And in my humble opinion, I think that the summer slide refers to more than just the kids. I really believe that we, as couples, can experience a summer slide in love. I don’t know about all of you and your summer, but for me it was a nice break from the routine of go, go, go. And with the reprieve from the usual fast pace of life, you can find yourself being less intentional about spending time with your partner—or forgetting about setting time aside for just the two of you. 32. ardentforlife.net - Late Summer 2018
Summertime feels like there’s an abundance of time spent with others and that often leaves little time for just you two as a couple. Whether it’s an invitation to a backyard bar-b-que, going camping with friends or traveling with family, it all equals fun time with many, and potentially little time for just the two of you. Along with the change in routine, couples can quickly realize that they’ve lost sight of one another. It didn’t happen on purpose, or in an intentional way, but just because the pace shifted… they overlooked each other in the process. A true summer slide. The connection you two share may have slid backwards a bit, because you enjoyed a little too much basking in the sunshine. Maybe there’s been less family dinners in order to squeeze in extra daylight hours in the pool, or a bit more zoning out to mindless summer television in order to escape the heat (Bachelorette Season 14, anyone?) Whatever the reason, summer slide in love can be easily recovered from.
Let’s also pause for a second to reinforce that it’s completely unrealistic to expect yourself to always keep moving at a breakneck speed, BUT it also doesn’t mean you have to lose sight of where you’re going just because you slowed down. If you’re goal is to grow and sustain a connected long term relationship, then you’ve got to put your work in.
If you’re realizing that you feel a bit disconnected from one another, lean into these tips and see how it helps you slide back to each other. · The first thing to do is to give yourself some grace. There is a natural ebb and flow to your partnership and love doesn’t mean you’re striving for perfection. Once you’ve got the awareness that the two of you have ebbed a bit, you can use that to your advantage and begin finding your way back to your shared connection. · Second, focus on small things often. Seattle based couple’s researchers, John and Julie Gottman, have decades of research to support that it’s the small things done often that make the biggest difference in our love relationships. Yes, it’s great to plan vacations and time away in the future, but those far distant plans won’t sustain you on a day to day basis. You need a regular practice of gratitude and appreciation to withstand stress that inevitably presses up against your relationship. Starting with small things often allows you to do just that. Start small. Be intentional. Whether it’s the way you greet each other in the morning or say goodnight at the end of the day. Share your daily appreciation and gratitude for one another. You will never be sorry for saying “thank you, I appreciate you,” I promise.
Ardent for LIfe Late Summer 2018