In the rush of everyday life, it is all too easy to let relationships slip right off our agenda.
As a couples therapist I often see couples who have slowly drifted apart and have a lot of reconnecting and repair work to do.
So what are some of the things that can help strengthen your love relationship, and give it a little boost on a day to day level?
Here are three suggestions to get you started
1. Notice what your partner does on a day to day level and give positive feedback.
For most of us, the first time a new boyfriend or girlfriend cooks us dinner we feel pretty special and will show our gratitude. After a few years, it’s easy to start getting picky about sausages being on the menu again. Our appreciation becomes more scarce as the chores each person does become expected and invisible, and it’s easy for complaints and criticism to start creeping in. So try catching your partner doing something you appreciate whether it’s letting you have first shower, filling up the car, remembering your Mum’s birthday, worrying about the budget or tolerating your choice of movie.
2. Schedule in the romance.
A lot of people are resistant to this one, feeling a bit as though it takes something away from the loveliness of it all if our romantic encounters are not spontaneous. The trouble is that if we don’t plan for it and prioritise time for our relationship, it often just doesn’t happen at all -especially if there are kids on the scene. You could try keeping it a bit exciting by taking turns to plan a surprise outing, enjoying the anticipation of a planned event, and making some special effort like you did in the early days when you used to make sure your breath was fresh, and there were candles, music and clean sheets.
3. Make an effort to repair things when you slip up.
When we are close to each other, we can easily hurt each other –by accidentally being insensitive, making assumptions, getting defensive and all manner of other errors. Most couples have some misunderstandings that recur again and again much to our frustration. It really does make a difference if you intentionally set out to repair your bond after these injuries have occurred. Letting your partner know you understood where they were coming from will generally go a long way towards repair, and where appropriate an apology usually helps enormously.
Keeping our love bonds strong and healthy is something that requires our attention and effort but it is also something that is so rewarding it can become addictive. When you turn your attention towards your relationship, you and your partner will no doubt think of lots more ideas to keep you close, so enjoy! If you hit a tricky spot where you need some assistance, do consider investing in some couple therapy at Vision Psychology.