Sunday, February 21, 2016

10 Tips for a Stronger Relationship

So you have found the perfect partner and you are making your relationship your top priority.  Below are some tips to help your relationship last for the long haul.  If you ever find that your relationship is stuck, that things are not flowing like you thought they would, or you are looking for assistance keeping the love alive you may want to seek the services of a licensed therapist.  A therapist can help you get your relationship back on track. 

  1. Touch Often:  The power of touch is extremely important.  Even the briefest touch is a very powerful way to stay connected.   Make a point to kiss when one of you leaves and when you come back together.  As you pass each other touch a shoulder, hold hands, touch a cheek when kissing.  When sitting on the sofa together watching TV, gently rub your partner’s arm or leg.  Hug often, it’s therapeutic.  As relationships age couples tend to touch less.  When was the last time you touched your partner?  The simple use of gentle touch can sooth, calm and increase feelings of closeness.  Touching also releases a powerful sex hormone called oxytocin.  Oxytocin increases feelings of bonding.  Very little touching is actually needed to activate oxytocin, so touch your partner now. 
  2. Talk about shared positive experiences:  Take time to talk to your partner about fun times and show appreciation for what brought you together.  Reminisce about the romantic dinners, walks on the beach, your first kiss, or moments that only the two of you shared.  It is a great reminder of your love and a n ego booster for all involved.  Make sure you focus on the positive memories and, acceptance and love you felt for one another.  Sharing positive experiences like this will invoke a sense of the feelings associated with the memories.  Bringing these memories to the forefront will increase the chances of incorporating these good times again. 
  3. Be a good listener:  As human beings we need to be heard.  We do not always seek a solution or in-depth opinion.  Venting can be therapeutic.  Let your partner vent, let them know that you hear them, give them a hug, or hold their hand while they vent(touching).  Your partner may not know if you want advice or just to be heard, you will need to communicate your needs.   We often try to fix things for those we love.  It is important that you communicate when you just need to vent, then your partner will know to be a good listener for you.
  4. Accept that everyone has a bad day:  Everyone can’t have a perfect day every day.  Your partner may react poorly to something that you find ridiculous.  Chances are your partner is not really upset about that small ridiculous matter, but instead about a larger issue that occurred earlier, possibly an argument with a friend or colleague.  Before jumping to conclusions and responding harshly, remain calm and listen (remember previous step of being a good listener).  Attempt to understand that you partner may be having a bad day and be sympathetic.  When you practice this it will become second nature and increase your communication.
  5. Communication:  Talk and listen to each other. Share your wants, needs and desires on a regular basis. Ask your partner, “What do you need more of?”  Remember to follow through on their request.  You are asking because you want provide a solution.  Your partner may respond with “I need more alone time with you” or “I miss kissing you like we used to”.  When you make your needs known resentment and anger doesn’t have an opportunity build because there is an opportunity to fulfill the needs.  So talk, talk, talk.  Get the conversations going. Once it’s been shared you can easily fulfill the request or talk about a compromise.
  6. Let your Fun out:  Everyday life can be stressful.  We are exposed to bad news on the radio and TV, there are always financial decisions to be made, or you hear of a friend’s relationship not going well. All of this negativity can have a negative effect on anyone.  Instead of focusing on the negative, take time to play!   Grab a glass of wine and play a board game, play cards, plan a date of miniature golf.  Plan a quirky themed meal, or create an in home scavenger hunt.  Laugh! Giggle! Tickle!  Be spontaneous!  Remind each other how fun you both can be.
  7. Plan alone time with friends:  Sometimes events come up that might be just a guys or girls’ night out.  Maybe the guys want to get together to watch a sporting event or the ladies want to have lunch together.  It’s okay!  Support your partner’s social interactions with friends.  Time away from you can make the heart grow fonder and increase your bond.  Support your partner’s book club, you never know when you may benefit from a steamy well written love scene.  Maintaining separate social lives and being supportive of each other boosts a relationship.
  8. Let go of the past:  We all have “baggage” from our past. Maybe with old friends, dating times and/or family.   It is harmful to a relationship to bring up old issues to use in a new argument.  Avoid hot topics if you’ve already discussed them.  Hopefully these have all already been worked through. If either of you are having a hard time letting go, and the past keeps coming up you may need the help of a therapist.
  9. Fight Fair:  Refrain from using words like “always” or “never” when arguing, for example, “You never let me do what I want!”. This distracts from the issue at hand.  Remind each other that you need to stay focused on finding a solution.  Choose your words wisely, as once said they are very hard to take back.  You do not want to say something that you don’t really mean and realize it after argument winds down.  Know that it’s always best to apologize for your contributions to the argument.   Accept apologies given and refocus on a solution which may involve a compromise.  Disagreements are a healthy part of relationships as long as you are able to constructively resolve the disagreement.
  10. Be financially responsible:  Money is one of the biggest relationship stressors, especially with today’s economy. Everyone wants to know the bills are getting paid which brings a feeling of security.  Be mindful of any unnecessary spending. Determine what financial set up works well for your relationship.  For some having a joint account for bills and necessities and also creating a separate account for each partner works well.   Creating separate “play” accounts with set budgets where you don’t have to ask permission to spend, can help alleviate stress about the wrong account being accessed.  Have a conversation on what amount will work for you both. It can be as little as $20/month.  A discretionary fund adds up over time.  Generally there is no conflict because it’s already been worked in the budget.
For more information about relationships, to find our relationship quiz, and counseling services visit Concierge & VIP Counseling.  Please find us on Facebook or Twitter for relevant material and motivation @PSYCHConcierge.  You can also access our entire gallery of FREE picture Quotes on FLICKR by clicking here please link back to our website


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