Tips for Repairing a Troubled Marriage & Improving Your Romantic Relationship
Most romantic relationships are wildly positive at the outset. They typically continue to flourish for a good deal of time before arguments, criticism dissatisfaction occurs. Even with relationship difficulties, couples can repair their marriage, (often with the help of a professional counselor), and once again be happy together. Whether you can benefit from professional help or not, These 9 ways to improve your love relationship really work!
How can committed couples sustain and even strengthen their relationship? The first 4 strategies are from Adlerian counselors and authors, Jon Carlson and Len Sperry, in their book, The Disordered Couple. Numbers 5 – 9 are additional ones that I also recommend to my couple clients. If you have some of your own that you wish to share with me, please do so! Just email me at email@example.com. I would love to pass on even more ways to improve your love relationship.
The 9 Ways to Improve Your Love Relationship
1. Consistent, Regular Times to Communicate with Your Wife or Husband
This keeps you connected and mutually engaged. Couples who do this are more able to address friction and dissatisfaction at an early stage. Any dissatisfaction can be aired before becoming an ingrained pattern of treating and talking with each other. A great way to do this is to have a weekly "date night" together.
2. Encourage Each Other
Encouragement is the bedrock of belonging and happiness with our significant-other partner. Over time it becomes a reserve of the positive connection that can keep you feeling connected even when there is a rough patch in your relationship.
3. Set Aside Time to Resolve a Conflict
What typically happens instead is that couples attempt to resolve the conflict at the time of the conflict. One of you, and soon both of you, are likely to be experiencing a flood of emotions at that time. Those emotions prevent both of you from accessing your more reasonable, rational thinking process. Instead, those strong primal emotions of fear, anger or sadness generally overwhelm you and your mate’s problem-solving abilities. And without access to more reasonable and creative ways of thinking about the disagreement, what usually happens is rising tensions and each person hardening their position.
At some point, it ends, and usually so with bad feelings, and nothing is actually resolved in a way that each of your concerns has been adequately addressed. Instead, leave the disagreement unresolved for the time being. Agree on a future time to talk about it and use the waiting time to think about the disagreement an conflict from your partner’s perspective and not just your own point of view.
4. Schedule Regular Times to have Fun Together
Isn't having fun together what you did when you were at the beginning of your relationship? If you are like most people, having fun with each other was how you first spent your time together. Unfortunately, the fun can fade by merely getting too caught up the day-to-day stress and routine of life. It is helpful for your relationship to break up your habits. Elevate fun as a priority by developing specific plans to engage in fun activities together as a couple. Consider including the following:
- Frequent and consistent dates, including dinners, movies, plays concerts, and excursions to museums. The idea is to have something new and exciting to talk about after taking in a unique experience.
- Day Trips. There are lovely destination places that may be within a reasonable driving distance. We have many tourist towns that offer exciting things to see, do, and to shop in.
- Overnight excursions for even more romance! You can drive farther, giving you more time to visit while driving. You may be more likely to have a night of passion while in a hotel or motel in a different town.
- Venturing into nature including hiking, biking, camping and recreational time together in state and national parks.
5. Connect with Each Other Throughout the Day & Process Your Day Together
There is no substitute for connecting with your boyfriend, girlfriend or romantic interest than having times throughout the day where you touch base with him or her. Most people do this via texting, but an occasional phone call or email also works well. Doing so not only informs each other. Each connection gives you an opportunity to show interest in each other, add some kind words of encouragement and support gives you the topics for discussion when you are with each other at the end of the workday.
You already know a little of what happened to him or her. Use what you know to ask your partner what that particular part of their day was like. Let your special person know that you care by asking for expansion or clarification of what you are told. You can amplify this daily connection by also processing your week or even month together, reflecting on your great good fortune of being married to him or her.
6. Balance Out the Power in Your Relationship
For couples to be happy together, they must have a sense of equality. One cannot dominate, yielding more power than the other. Without equal power, couples typically do not search for a way forward when they have differing perspectives and need to agree on how to proceed.
Instead, the dominant partner declares the discussion is over. That dominant partner may believe that winning that battle by having more power is beneficial, but the benefits are short-lived. The other partner, over time, can become resentful. Resentment results in distancing and less willingness to be cooperative.
How do you balance power in romantic relationships and marriages? First, don't confuse power imbalance with the division of labor. It is usual for one person to enjoy doing one aspect of household responsibilities while the other partner takes responsibility for another area. Making more of the decisions in your area of responsibility is seldom an issue.
But in matters of what you as a couple do with household finances, how you work with your children and where you spend your time together, mutual decision-making is essential. You must talk things out, listening to, and doing your best to understand and appreciate your spouse's perspective.
It may take more time to come to an understanding and an agreement that has you both in agreement. One person may not cut the conversation short, declare it decided or pretend no decision is a decision to continue along as it has been.
If you find that the power in your relationship rests with one of you, causing unhappiness, consider seeking the services of a couples counselor.
7. Let Little Stuff Go…
A lot of what your partner does won’t make sense to you. That’s OK. Over time some of what has not made sense up to now will make sense as you as you begin to understand the thinking behind how he or she does something. But even after understanding it, you may not like their way as much as your way.
Some things he or she does are not likely to ever make any sense to you. Rest assured that your spouse probably has a list of things that you do that make no sense to him or her! Unless something is worth talking about, simply let those less important things go.
8. Refrain from Criticism
Don’t criticise. Don't blame. If it is important to discuss, do so with a lot of forethought to minimize his or her defensiveness during your discussion. Also, take responsibility for stating what is difficult for you in their actions rather than implying that something is solely your mate's fault.
9. Notice & Tell Your Mate Of The Times He Or She Made Your Life Better Today
This is an excellent way to improve your love relationship. I call these interactions "touch-points of affection," because each time you do one, or receive one, you feel the affection in a way that is like receiving positive physical touch. It is a direct experience of feeling your mates love and care for you. And in both receiving or doing a touch-point of affection, warm feelings of gladness and happiness arise.
Let your person know he or she is special. Do this as many times in a day as you can! This can take the form of words of kindness and support or acts of kindness and support. Clients have reported to me that this last tip for improving your love relationship has helped completely turn their troubled relationship! If you wish to work with me as your St. Cloud, MN Couples Therapy Counselor, we will specifically go over how to apply these 9 ways, and a number of other ways not mentioned here, to your relationship.
* Telephone and video conferencing sessions may be arranged if there is a barrier to meeting face-to-face. Although couples counseling isn't covered by insurance, our rates are affordable. We also have a sliding fee scale with reasonable minimums. We do not ask financial questions to qualify for our sliding fee scale. You simply choose the amount that is comfortable for you and your budget. Please text or call (320)223-9481 to arrange a no-cost telephone consult.
* We Welcome & Affirm LGBTQ Individual Clients and Couples.