In her book “Marriage Rules: A Manual for the Married and the Coupled Up”, relationship expert Harriet Lerner, Ph.D., talks about the simple rules for a remarkable couple relationship:
Make at least two positive comments each day. Tell your partner what you admire most about him or her. It could be the delicious barbecue your wife prepared last night or the stunning appearance of your husband in his new shirt.
Lie low on criticism.
Criticisms appear to be more helpful in the beginning of a romantic relationship. But it gets annoying over time. Lie low on giving criticisms, especially those you have already pointed out in the past. Also let go of the unimportant negative remarks that can make your partner feel embarrassed or could reduce his or her confidence.
Give a little more time for yourself. Connect with your friends and family. Pursue your passion. Do things you enjoy. Being married doesn’t mean you have to let go of your individuality. When your energy is directed to living your life in the best way you can, you don’t get to “over-focus” on your partner in a negative way.
Sometimes, the most powerful way to connect and comfort a person is to say nothing but listen.
Take time to listen to them without interrupting, or giving judgements. Listen with an open mind and an open heart. It’s where understanding, empathy and communication starts.
Do it when you say you would.
Never think that your contributions to the relationship compensates for the things you have failed to do or the promises you have broken.
Don’t hesitate to say “I am sorry”.
Even if you know your fault constitutes only 20 per cent of the entire problem. Remember the fact remains that you also did something wrong (no matter how small or insignificant it is) so it is just proper to apologise. This will also encourage your partner to do the same.
Don’t demand an apology.
Just because he or she doesn’t say the magic words “I’m sorry” doesn’t mean your partner doesn’t want to reconcile with you. Some people say “sorry” through deeds rather than words. Be more sensitive towards your spouse’s way of communicating his or her feelings.
Say it short.
A distant partner may avoid conversations because it may feel ‘awful’ to him or her. So slow down your speech, lower your tone, and speak gently.
Stop the emotional pursuit.
The more you chase a distant partner, the farther he or she gets away. So focus more on living your life in the best way you can. A distant partner is more likely to move towards you when he or she sees you are taking good care of yourself.
Exit a conversation when you start to feel you are being hit “below the belt”. During a heated argument, it’s easy to get flown away by emotions and say words we don’t really mean. If your partner starts to become rude, tell your partner that you are going to stop the conversation until he or she is ready to talk to you calmly and with respect. Be firm.
Cultivate good family values.
Take time to assess your dysfunctional family patterns and make effort to change them for the better.
Turn your partner “on”.
If it’s your partner who always initiates sex, be the one to do it sometimes. This will make your spouse feel more appreciated and loved.
Pursue your own hobbies, wants and goals.
Take a dance or a baking class, travel with friends – cherish life outside your relationship. Keeping the balance between your married and personal life can reduce your stress levels and boost your well-being.
Set boundaries with technology use.
Technology is essential to our daily life but too much of it can affect the quality of our personal relationships. Agree on “time-out rules” where each one of you is prohibited from using mobile phone, computer or any gadget. These rules are best during mealtimes, at least an hour before bedtime, during intimate moments, vacation trips, and the like.
Be willing to compromise for your partner.
But not to the extent that your core values, beliefs, goals and priorities are compromised. Set limits and let your partner know about them.
There you go, sounds quite simple. Do let me know how you get on.
Clinical Hypnotherapist / Psychotherapist
SNHS Dip.CH, SNHS Adv Dip.CH.Psy, PHPA, ICHM, NHSTA
Core Health Centre, 55 Beverley Road, Hull HU3 1XL
Hull Office: 01482 22 71 25
Or Mobile: 07843 012 712