Valentine’s Day has just been and gone for another year. It’s a day to celebrate love, and many people go to great lengths to show their love and affection for their partners. Sadly, for many couples it’s one of the few days in the year they are able to make their partnership a priority!
In my experience relationships work best when both partners regularly work at maintaining and improving their connection. Yes, relationships require regular maintenance, just like a car!
In this blog I’m going to share ten relationship tips with you. Tips that I have found help build an awesome relationship. In fact, because our relationships are so important to our well-being, I am going to dedicate two blogs to it!
What Does A Good Relationship Look Like?
No wait, what does an “AWESOME” relationship look like? As a registered psychologist and relationship coach, I have coached many people through “okay” relationships; helping them to develop the knowledge and skills required for a truly “AWESOME” one.
Trust me, I get that relationships can be difficult! Just because I’ve trained and studied relationship therapy, it doesn’t mean that my husband and I are immune to the normal ups and downs of relationships. But I decided that I wanted more from my marriage than someone to say “hello” to at the doorway, as we head in opposite directions! I wanted true connection with another human being.
Let’s Face It, Life Is Busy!
Who has the time to put into relationships when we have work, children to take care of, and all the other things that the modern world throws at us. It’s a sad fact that many relationships end simply because one, or both partners are just not able to make enough time for each other.
So please read on if you are interested in learning some tips for taking your relationship from “Okay” to “AWESOME” ….…
(You can try these in any order and they are in no way an exhaustive list).
(1) Listen, Listen, And Listen Some More!
How do you show your partner that you have heard AND understood them? It is very important to really hear what your partner is saying; and to demonstrate it to them. Reflecting back their words and feelings (Clue: that’s emotions like: “sad”, “worried”, “excited”!) is a good start. And it helps to suspend that urge we all have to “correct” our partner, if we don’t like what we hear. Just listen to what they say, it’s a powerful communication tool!
(2) Touch Each Other Regularly
Touch is very important, it allows for further connection with your partner. Touch is not just about sex! It can include a wide range of intimate and loving actions: holding hands, a hug, a simple kiss, touching your partner’s hair as you pass them by, a neck, shoulder or foot massage; use your imagination. You may be surprised how much your partner appreciates it. And they may even reciprocate!
(3) Work On Loving And Accepting Yourself
If YOU don’t love yourself then it will be difficult for your PARTNER to love you; because you will doubt their love. In practical terms, loving yourself involves taking care of yourself: physically, emotionally and mentally. Start with a few simple steps. Like giving yourself compliments: “I look great in this dress or shirt”. And pamper yourself sometimes: with massages, warm baths, facials and other things that feel good.
(4) Take Responsibility For Your Half Of The Relationship.
Many people come to see me for relationship coaching expecting that their partner should make all changes. And that I will agree with them! They are often surprised, sometimes even offended, when I suggest that they take some personal responsibility also. But it’s true!
Think about it. Relationships are reciprocal, and if your partner expects YOU to do all the changing, then it’s unlikely that anything will change! One simple way you can take responsibility is by acknowledging your own emotions using statements that start with “I”. For example, “I am hurt when you……” or “I am sad when you….”. Try to avoid “you” statements like “you never….” or “you are lazy…” as these can feel like a personal attack and often result in defensiveness.
(5) Make Yourself Vulnerable To Your Partner
We can be cautious about exposing our true self and feelings to our partners. Often out of fear that we will be rejected, or even abandoned. However couples that do so often see dramatic improvements in their relationship.
Let me share a secret with you. Making yourself vulnerable to your partner is where true love and acceptance develops. And in my opinion, is one of the most important ingredients to a long lasting, loving relationship. You know that you have a truly awesome relationship when you have no fears, or insecurities about expressing your true needs and preferences. And when your partner feels the same!
Two people can still make a relationship work even when they have different values and beliefs. What matters is respect. Which brings me to tip number 6. No wait, that will come in the second instalment of this blog!
Don’t Forget To Read Part Two
Hopefully some of these tips will help you and your partner to start the process of making your “okay” relationship “awesome”. And you can feel love and connection with your partner on the 364 days of the year that aren’t Valentine’s Day!
Please join me again soon when I will share tips 6 to 10. In the meantime, if you would like further relationship information please read the “Couples Counselling” and “Relationship Advice” pages on our website, www.tgpsychology.com.au . (They are under the “Issues We Help With” tab)
I hope that you find my blogs helpful and I appreciate the time that you take to read them. If any of the content has brought up any concerns about your mental health, please seek professional help right away.
Author: Joclyn Stanley