Relationships! It is our basic instinct to be in a relationship, to feel loved, connected, supported and needed. Remember when you first met your partner and how you looked forward to seeing each other? How you could not stop thinking about them and remember what it was like giving and receiving little messages of love and desire? Often you see couples walking hand in hand and looking happy. It is a beautiful feeling, being in love. So how do those couples keep this connection?
Do you want to regain your connection with each other? How? This is usually through hard work and commitment. Often as time goes on and the relationship falls into normality, the initial connection can become strained due to busyness and everyday stresses. Sometimes this results in the romance and intimacy fading from our relationships. We are aware that there is still love between us but the spark may have gone. As you and your partner grow, evolve and change so does the dynamics in the relationship.
When considering a ‘relationship’ it is often said that a comparison can be with your garden. If you don’t tend to it, weeds will grow and overtake the beauty of the flowers. Just like our garden, we need to put time and effort into maintaining our relationship.
Some of the key points for maintaining a healthy relationship are:
Allocating time for each other and the family– Often work commitments, children, after school activities and general busyness stop us from having quality time together. Some suggestions for enjoying quality time with each other are;
- Taking time out for a ‘date night’ once a week
- Sitting down quietly after the children have gone to bed and talking to each other, without the distraction of the radio, television or mobile phones.
- Allocating 10 minutes to have a cup of coffee together each day to catch up on each other’s news whilst the children are individually occupied and respecting the need for parent time.
Communicating openly and honestly with each other – Communication is integral in maintaining a healthy relationship. The key to good communication is to listen to each other. One way to do this is when you are taking the 10 minutes to connect over a cup of coffee, allow your partner to talk about what is going on for them without interrupting. This can take practice as it is normal for us to want to interrupt our partner’s conversation or even try to fix things. Taking the time to genuinely listen and be interested in your partner will create a solid basis for a healthy relationship.
Be respectful to each other – How you treat others is often what you get back in return. Treating your partner with respect and displaying gratitude for what they do, as opposed to complaining about what they don’t do, will have a positive ripple effect in your relationship. When we argue, hurtful words can cut deep and we need to be mindful of these interactions, remember to apologise and express feelings of appreciation.
Sometimes you may have to agree to disagree – Often in relationships there are things that you will disagree on. If this cannot be worked out through compromising and you feel that you are both ‘right’, there will be times where you may have to agree to disagree. As two individuals in a relationship, it is ok to have different views on things. We often waste time and energy disagreeing and arguing.
I know this is hard to hear, but you can’t change your partner – think back to that time when you first met and fell madly in love. You accepted each other totally as you were. As time goes by, things that never bothered you may start to grind on you and you think you can change your partner. This often results in finding fault in each other and being discontent. If you want something to change in your relationship, try something different that will have a flow on effect to your partner.
Spending time apart – A healthy relationship is where two separate individuals have their own interests and hobbies, rather than being totally reliant on the other. You can spend time apart and then feel excited about coming back together again to interact and share your experiences.
Honesty is the best policy to maintain a healthy relationship – Being open and honest with each other is a key factor to maintaining your connection with each other. Sometimes being honest can be hard as you may have to say things that your partner may not like. Again this comes back to being respectful and mindful of how we communicate. Using ‘I’ statements and talking about how you feel is a way of being open and honest and your partner will not feel attacked and become defensive.
These are just some of the many ways we can maintain that initial connection and love that we feel for our partner. Why not take a risk and try just one thing and see what a difference it can make. Take this article and sit quietly with your partner to read together and discuss what you would like more of… how can you take more time out for each other to reconnect and rebuild intimacy?
Tamika Dwight-Scott is a Gestalt Therapist, Counsellor, Hypnotherapist and group facilitator. Tamika facilitates relationship workshops, which are experiential and fun, assisting you to reconnect as a couple.
Remember, if you don’t do anything different, nothing will change!
Please contact Tamika on 0404884257 or click here to make an inquiry.