Relationship Tips and Ideas from Well-Known Couples’ Therapy Experts
I want to share with you some relationship tips and ideas from well-known couples’ therapy experts. These tips come from an article I contributed to in Buzzfeed.com last month. Here they are:
- The old adage that you can’t go to bed angry is not true. This comes from a relationship coach Rachel De Alto. I actually agree with this. Making up before bedtime places too much pressure to come up with a resolution which may not be organic or make sense. During the evening the couple may be too tired and it is better to tackle the conflict in the morning or next day. So, don’t worry if you are angry at bedtime.
- One thing that can instantly improve your relationship according to another couples therapist is saying “thank you” more often. Showing sincere appreciation for even mundane tasks goes a long way.
- It is a good thing to tell your partner about things that annoy you, even if they are small things. Despite “don’t sweat the small stuff” idea, many couples therapists agree that over time, keeping a minor peeve to oneself, can wind up or turn into a nasty resentment or major irritation. It is important to bring it up in a nice way, before it becomes a bigger issue.
- Have more discussions especially discussions of problems between you starting with “I” rather then “you”. Express your wants, needs and feelings that come from “I” rather then blaming statements starting with “you”. As an example, instead of saying “you don’t do this or that…” Say “I feel less connected or sad when, etc.…” Starting with “you” instantly puts your partner on the defensive and that means that he or she is now most concerned with defending him or herself rather then get into what you are saying and feeling.
- Have more conversations that are not about your job, kids and home. Even if you and your partner talk a lot, much of it probably is about day-to-day business of running a home and family. In order to feel closer and more intimate, communicate about your thoughts, feelings, goals, observations, discoveries, desires, and fantasies with each other.
- Turn off your phones around each other for periods of time especially when you come home from work. (Guess who said that one?) I harp on this all the time. It is important to make time and space for each other and be available and accessible.
- It’s okay to fight. Everyone feels disappointed or has disagreements. In a fight you both need to communicate with a goal of understanding each other better.
- According to a relationship coach Jane Greer, it is important to check in with your partner about decisions even if they are small. I agree with this as many of my couples get into trouble even with stuff like, “ I am going to dinner with so and so Friday” instead of “ I am thinking of seeing so and so Friday, is that OK with you?” This make world of difference.
- Even if you have been together a long time, date like you haven’t. The experts say, it’s not just about “reigniting the spark”, it’s about putting value on fun, excitement, pleasure, getting to know each other. Going out to same old restaurants and sitting in silence or talking about kids is not going to keep things exciting. Do new things.
- Touch more and not just in sexual ways. It’s important to touch and be affectionate not just as prelude to sex. Touching and kissing keeps good feelings flowing and makes you feel loved and special.
- Do little things, they are the unsung heroes of successful relationships. Little things are important, they let each of you know that you think of them.