Are you finding that your relationship is defined by pain, bitterness and anger? Are you and your partner so stuck in the negativity of the past and so pessimistic about the future that you often fail to nurture the positive things that happen in the present? Is it becoming difficult to remember why you chose to be with your partner in the first place?

I’m betting that you have been depending on romance and that “falling in love” feeling to return right? Well I’ve got some bad news and some good news.

First, love should not be an emotional accident! A lot of people think  of love as something that happens to them whether they choose it or not! Folks talk about falling in love as if relationships are only good if they resemble a headlong plummet into a dark pit!

The really sad part is that after falling in love, so many people find at the end of a relationship that it feels like they were the victim of a ten car pileup on the freeway! They end up hurt, bitter and doubtful about ever loving someone intimately again. They are stuck in the traumatic past and fearful of the unknown future. Consequently they are unable to be nurtured and inspired by the here and now!

I believe that this is because so many people have never learned to engage in a relationship or marriage consciously and on purpose as a discipline and practice of intentional love, rather than as an emotional accident called “Falling in Love”.

Now for the good news. It doesn’t have to stay bad.¬† There is hope if you’re willing to do something different. I want to suggest just three steps you should take if you want a better relationship. To do anything well, including marriage and committed relationship you’ve got to . . . .

First learn the basic principles of successful relationships and marriages.

Second, consciously practice the principles until they become habits.

Third relax and experiment and innovate based on the principles. Take some love risks. This keeps your marriage from becoming boring or mundane. Practice makes you good at what you do. It puts you in control of your behavior and lessens the chance that you will be a victim simply waiting for things happen to you in your relationship.

There really can be hope for your relationship. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support and ask for help. The relationship with your partner is just one part of an entire community relationship that can possibly make you stronger together if you search out those institutions and people who are marriage positive, community minded and believe that we are stronger together. Reach out to a community based, socially and culturally aware professional such as a marriage and family therapist or other counselor. Ask them to help you learn the principles, practice the principles and learn how to experiment and innovate to help the two of you discover a relationship rooted in loving on purpose and not by accident!