Do you want to make your romantic relationship better? It is possible. From my experience of working with couples, helping them to reconnect, here are a few considerations that I believe can make your relationship stronger.
Commit to communication.
In all relationships, communication is key. I have clients, considering separation, who can count the words expressed between her and her partner over the course of an evening on less than her 10 fingers. Communicating with each other keeps us connected and is essential when you are in conflict with each other. Rather than focusing on snappy comebacks when you argue, take a moment to reflect back to your partner what you hear them saying, before adding your opinion. Using “I feel” rather than “You did” type of comments helps keep some of the dialogue constructive.By owning your experience you can better deal with conflict.
The Gottman institute – a leading relationship research and training facility in the US reminds couples of their 5:1 rule. You should be expressing 5 positive sentiments to your partner for ever single negative or critical comment. Think about the balance in your interactions, and make this small change.
Good communication is like oxygen to a relationship. Give your relationship the breath of life that it needs.
Stay engaged and interested.
Remember how you were in the early days of your love, you knew everything about each other’s days. As time goes on, couples can become disconnected and their relationship focused on the fulfillment of a to do list. Take time to spend time understanding your partner’s experience of the day. What was the best thing that happened to them today? Did anything happen today that made them angry? Show up and show your interest.Building a stronger understanding of your shared experience allows you to build more positive times together.
Be your best self.
Give them the best of you, rather than saving it for others. Often, we are kinder to strangers or people we hardly know than people who are closest to us. Ask yourself, “Who gets the “best” of me?” and then ask, “Who gets the worst?”. Are you taking your workplace stress out on your partner? In addition to sharing your kindest and most sincere communication with your life partner, honour the promises you make to them first, before others.
Learn your language of love.
The best way to convey your love for your partner is to express your love in the language of love that they prefer. The 5 languages of love include words of affirmation, gifts, physical touch, time sharing and acts of service (you can conduct an assessment of your style on the website of author Gary Chapman (www.5lovelanguages.com) . We want to receive love in the matter that we most appreciate. Understanding each other’s preferences is the ultimate form of respect.
Happy Valentine’s Day – I hope your romance grows stronger after trying these techniques.
About the author: Angela Watkins is a qualified counsellor at RED DOOR Counselling. She conducts couples’ therapy as well as runs collaborative co-parenting programmes.