The “Empty Bucket” Method: Save your relationship by building intimacy

Long-term loving relationships are a blessing. Having someone to share the rest of your life with is truly amazing.

But, let’s be honest, there are times when you just want to kill your partner.

Not because of something particular they did, but because of numerous little things that irritate us. Eventually, all these little annoying things pile up to the point where we lash out for something completely insignificant, only because we associate it with everything else we disapprove of.

When the butterflies are gone and seeing your other half doesn’t give you goosebumps anymore, it’s natural to experience a relationship freak-out. There comes a time in long-term relationships when all the things you used to find adorable in your partner start massively irritating you. While it is definitely not a pleasant stage, it doesn’t mean you have fallen out of love. Instead, it means that your bucket is full, and you need to discharge it as soon as possible.

What is the “bucket” and how does it overflow? 

As Elephant Journal describes it, “the ‘bucket’ is where you store all the little tiny resentments and annoyances you have with your partner (or actually with any other human being).” 

Every time your partner does something that makes you cringe or annoys you, you put a tiny pebble in the bucket. The pebbles may be small, but as time passes, they stack up to the point where if you put one more, the bucket will turn into a bomb and will explode.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the bucket, so when it explodes, the collateral damage is irreversible. A simple disagreement over the weekly shopping list can turn into a massive argument about something that happened years ago. At some point in the fight, you find yourself wondering where is this all coming from. Your significant other is probably thinking the same, but you both are too proud to admit it.

How can you empty the bucket?

First, you need to realize that both you and your partner have a bucket. While there are things about your spouse that annoy the hell out of you, there are things about you that irritate them as well. And that’s absolutely normal.  What should not be considered normal is letting all these little things pile up and leaving them unresolved until you burst in anger over something irrelevant.

The next step of the process is to explain the concept of the bucket to your other half. And then, when you both understand it, you can decide to make time to empty each other’s buckets. Doing it together brings a sense of closeness, which helps you intensify the intimacy in your relationship.

You can take turns in letting your feelings out. No interruptions, no questions, no judgment. While it won’t be easy, it will definitely bring you clarity. When you feel that your bucket is empty, it’s time for your partner to do the talking. All you have to do is listen. But listen carefully, as what you will hear may transform entirely your view of your relationship.

It all comes down to one conclusion: Communication is key

One of the fundamental things for a loving, healthy, prospering relationship is proper communication. You must be able to share your thoughts and concerns with your partner without fearing judgment or criticism. They should be able to do the same. This way, the pebbles won’t be piling up as much, and you won’t be at risk of breaking up over the smallest thing.

If you are willing to grow together, the “empty bucket” method will be an incredibly useful tool to overcome many of the challenges throughout your journey.

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