In your relationship, do you find yourselves:
- Repeating the same fight over and over again with seemingly no hope for resolution.
- Losing interest in your partner and heightened curiosity in some outside person.
- Anxious and jealous because one partner is trying to be more independent than the other.
- Doubting whether the relationship will actually last or not and what that means.
All relationships of any length of time have rough spots. The conditions above show a relationship that has gone too long without repair. You don’t want your relationship to get to this point. Then it becomes more difficult to get back on track.
There are certain things you can do as preventive maintenance to keep things humming along while keeping a strong connection. These things are basic but powerful.
Accept your partner’s imperfections.
Yes, you do have imperfections. We all do. They’re those things that annoy the heck out of our partners but will never change. Because that’s just who we are.
Always forgets one thing at the grocery store? Has to have food prepared a certain way? Gives the kids candy?
Is it irritating? Yes. Will it ever change? No way. It’s just the way it is sweetheart. We all come from a unique mold and it’s what makes us interesting. Most of the time.
So, focus on the parts you love and admire and accept the other stuff that comes with it. Take a deep breath and appreciate the whole package.
Respect, respect, respect.
A survey asked couples in long term relationships to name the most important thing that has made them successful. The dominant answer was respect. Included in the meaning of this term is admiration, care, concern, consideration and positivity.
When I’m trying to make a point with my clients on how they should treat each other, I tell them they only have to remember one thing and that’s respect.
Respect is a powerful tool in relationships. If used consistently, it can foster good communication, affection and emotional intimacy.
Conversely, if not used much there is a high risk of conflict and criticism. To be disrespected is to feel unheard and unimportant.
Share your pain.
Too many of us keep things in that are painful or disturbing. Having some pain in your life is inevitable but suffering is not. Is it fair to yourself and your partner to not share it?
That’s what we partners are here for. To give you empathy and compassion. To relieve your suffering. If we don’t know about it we can’t help you. Then you will suffer.
And if your partner doesn’t give you what you need, have a healthy conversation about it. Discuss the need you both have to share your pain and disappointments. Tell each other what is needed when that happens. And agree to do it unconditionally.
Keep your sense of humor.
How many therapists does it take to change a light bulb? Just one, but the light bulb must want to change. Corny and overused, but I always chuckle when I hear it.
Laughter affects your brain in several positive ways. It increases activity in parts of the brain that do the following:
- Improve depression
- Reduce anxiety
- Boost our immune system
- Improve blood flow
- Enhance your mood
- Increase energy
If you’ve ever been to a comedy club, you know that you feel better when you walk out than when you went in.
Laughing together creates a safe space that allows bonding to occur. When you laugh together you feel closer to each other. Sharing a laugh reinforces connection. It emphasizes what we have in common.
Couples that laugh together, stay together.