That’s received wisdom and makes perfect sense, for our back garden gate. It’s wonky and the latch no longer connects, but who cares? A handy cord keeps kids and dogs securely locked in. Most of the time.

Applying the ‘don’t-fix’ rule to relationships seems to work okay. We rock along in the day-to-day rush, not worrying too much if it all feels a bit superficial. At the pace we live, we don’t have time to pause and reflect. If we do – we may feel something’s missing. Not broken, simply absent. That sense of connection, the spark from heart to heart we used to experience. The way we talked, words tumbling over each other to let our partner see the real person inside. How we felt listened to and valued. Here, we thought, was that one person in all the world who really cared, truly understood.

Now – after months and years – perhaps the gate is a bit wonky. Things that should connect, no longer do.

Our gate suffers, not from any lack of tools or expertise, but because fixing it is WAY down the list of ‘Important Things That We Really Must Do.’ Hopefully, keeping our relationship in good working order is high on that list. We may think it’s not really broken, but as in the case of garden gates, there’s a law of entropy in effect. Things naturally fall apart, unless we work to keep them whole.

What to do? We may fear that going on a course looks like we’re advertising our failures for all to see. ‘You’re attending that? Oh dear, you must have big problems.’

The answer to that is, ‘No, we don’t, but we want to avoid them in future. We want to treat our relationship to some pampering, to make it the best it can possibly be. We don’t want to settle for “okay” in the most important human connection of our lives.’

Meanwhile, back at the garden gate….hubby assures me the cord is working just fine!

Donna Vann, 2015

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