Relationships are hard. Period. Despite what we’re taught from movies (and Instagram) a strong, fulfilling connection doesn’t just magically happen – or last. It takes effort and commitment. And while every couple is different, creating a happy, healthy environment for a relationship to flourish is a goal we all aim for.
For advice on creating and maintaining a deeper connection in your relationship – no matter what stage you are in – we reached out to Accredited Counsellor, Mediator and Life Coach, Darleen Barton, from DIPAC Relationship Counselling in Barton. Drawing on her experience in couples and relationship mediation, she has shared her top 10 tips for building a strong, healthy relationship, plus ideas on how to better increase the bond with your partner.
Below are Darleen’s top 10 tips for keeping you loved up and smiling in your relationship.
1. Be curious, not critical
Take the time to seek more information from your partner. We all see things through a different lens.
2. Offer a positive outlook
When your partner is not happy and going through something, ask: “Who do I need to be for you right now?”
3. Choose your words carefully
Words wound and sometimes very deeply, be careful not to fill up the bank of resentment.
4. Spend time with each other quietly
Try laying in bed holding hands between you, take the time to feel the energy from your partner. This is a mindful exercise to improve your closeness.
5. Resist holding on to hurt
If you have decided to stay in the relationship, you must find a way to forgive. At no time is it ok to continue punishing someone you have chosen to stay with.
6. Communication is key
Not only verbally, but also sexually. The sexual act between couples can vary, sometime sex is for the purpose of reducing the tension between two people. However, couples must work on connecting on an emotional level, too.
7. Minimise external negative influences
The health and wellbeing of your relationship and your family is your top job. You may benefit as a couple to sit down and discuss some boundaries you wish to implement. After all, in the absence of rules people will make up their own.
8. Keep your mind clear
In Tip 7, I mention health and wellbeing – one of the ways to look after your wellness is to minimise the use of mind-altering substances. The most socially acceptable substance is, of course, alcohol. The overuse of alcohol has been at the root of many family disputes and domestic violence matters I have treated.
9. Set goals together
Some highly achievable and some audacious – goals could be around holidays, finances, education, mindfulness, clean eating, exercise…
10. Learn your partner's love language
For example: don’t buy him presents when all he wants is for you to tell him he is doing a great job and you love him. On the other side, don’t tell her she has cleaned the house well, when all she wants is for you to take the initiative and book dinner out for the two of you.