5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship
Here are 5 ways to improve your relationship that will help you connect in more positive ways with your spouse or partner.
1) Stop criticizing
2) Listen and learn how to be there emotionally
3) Follow through, do what you say – you want your partner to be able to count on you
4) Avoid “you always” or “you never” statements
5) Learn what makes your spouse or partner feel important – what he or she needs
Stop criticizing and attacking when you’re upset and try to say something your spouse, partner or family member will more likely hear and take in. Many people will say criticizing is an auto pilot response when they get angry, frustrated or disappointed. It may be the way their parents or other relationship role models interacted. It may the way you were treated when you were you and just feel familiar. It may take some work to stop the habit of criticizing when you feel hurt or misunderstood, but it can be done and will improve your relationship and connection.
Listen and Be There
It may be tempting to defend yourself or even withdraw from your spouse or partner when they are angry, sad or upset, but it is important to try and listen to what they are saying and need. This is not always possible especially if you’re being verbally attacked and criticized, but if your spouse or partner can express their feelings, whatever they are, in a reasonable way, try and listen. Don’t try and fix their sadness or solve their problem. Just listen. Be present.
You Can Count On Me
Do you follow through with what you say? It can be the small things “I’ll pick up the groceries”,. “I’ll be home by 7”, or the big things “Don’t worry I’ll take care of things so you can take care of your mother”, “Go ahead and take the promotion – I’ll take care of the kids” or some of the biggest challenges “Don’t worry about anything but getting better – I’ve got this”. Giving your partner the consistent message – you can count on me – will help you build a stronger connection.
Try to Avoid You statements
If you want your partner to respond rather than react, it’s best to avoid “You” statements and rather use “I” statements when trying to talk about something that bothers you. You want your partner to hear you and no becom defensive, argumentative and/or shut down. If you use statements such as “you always” or “you never”, it will not help you understand your spouse or partner and resolve an issue.
You are Important to Me | You Do Matter
Find ways to let your partner or spouse know they really matter to you – that they are important to you. This may be easier said than done, but being present, listening (without being defensive, judgmental or trying to fix something) is a good way to really be there and let your loved one know you care and are trying to understand what they need. It will make a hug difference in your relationship if you can emotionally respond in this way.
Ways to Improve Your Relationship (It’s not that easy sometimes)
If you’re feeling stuck and having trouble improving your relationship and connecting in more positive ways, emotionally focused therapy (what is emotionally focused therapy?) can help you find ways to strengthen your marriage or relationship. There are understandable reasons you may not be able to do this on your own.
Need marriage or couples therapy? Get in touch and let us know how we can help you.