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Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg, LCSW
Essex County New Jersey

Maplewood Counseling
Debra Feinberg LCSW
169 Maplewood Ave Suite 4
Maplewood, NJ 07040
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Relationship Tips for Couples

by | Nov 10, 2018

Relationship Tips for Couples

Become a better listener. When you listen your are “being there”. It is one of the greatest gifts you give to another person – your attention. Your partner does not want you to “fix” things. Unless he or she asks for your advice, don’t offer it and try to solve a problem. Just listen, which conveys you care about his or her struggle. When you listen you allow space for your spouse to be and that is what most people want. Be empathetic and supportive to convey your partner is important to you.

Prioritize your relationship/family – When you make your relationship a priority it will make you partner feel he or she is important to you. Also, doing small, thoughtful things will lead to a stronger connection.

Avoid being critical and judgmental – If you get upset and want to communicate your feelings, pay attention to and become aware of what you are feeling and express from this place. For example, if you get angry that your spouse is spending too much money, step back and think about how you feel first. If you have fear about finances, it is better to discuss the fear rather than try to control what your partner does so you can not feel worried. There can be more compassion and understanding when you discuss things in this way. Most of us view how things should go from our own experiences and conditioning. Judging how your partner does things can lead to more problems since you both have different background and experiences. Respect for those differences is important. 

Relationship Tips | Mindful Couples & Families

Reduce emotional reactivity – This can take some work to mindfully slow things down when you get upset. We all can get triggered or hooked by others and the goal is to respond with how you feel and not emotionally react. Reducing emotional reactivity will help you repair and resolve issues in more positive ways.

Be aware of and reduce negative thinking – Many people struggle when they are not getting their needs met. The result can be getting stuck in negative images of your spouse. It can be much more difficult to see the positive and focus on what is good. It is important to be able to see the positive parts of your partner and appreciating what he or she does. Communicating in this way will allow you partner to be more supportive and appreciative of you. If you are not getting your needs met, trying to communicate this in a mindful way will help you move in a more positive direction together.

Avoid harsh, nasty comments – Become aware of your feelings more and more over time. When you become more aware you can eventually communicate more effectively and not lash out with verbal assaults and put downs that will lead to more disconnect.

Mental health issues –  Untreated mental health issues can make things worse. Sometimes feeling lousy is a result of relationship issues, but sometimes it is a result of anxiety, depression, bipolar or another mental health issue. A trained therapist can help assess this so you can get the help you need. As a result, this can give you a better chance of happier and more satisfying relationship. 

Be honest – If you want to be trusted, be honest. This is a risk if you have done something to upset your spouse – especially betrayed his or her trust. There are important steps couples can take to repair broken trust. It can be done over time if you are both open and willing.

Be kind – Treating your spouse with respect and kindness is very important. This goes both ways. It may not be something role models taught you growing up. If you did not see adults treat each other or you with patience, love and respect, it will make it more challenging to know how to do this. More importantly, if your childhood was traumatic and there was physical, sexual or verbal abuse or neglect, it may mean being kind is something you have to learn how to do. Reflecting on the past and your childhood experiences will help you become more aware of these things so you don’t have to relive painful experiences in your adult relationships.

Be open and willing – Resistance and avoidance can make it difficult for a couple to connect. Try not to put up a wall and avoid you partner. This will take both of you because putting up a protective wall usually means you don’t feel safe or like dealing with conflict. Your partner will have to make sure he or she is not coming at you in angry pursuit. Angry pursuit can lead to angry withdrawal. Sometimes a very skillful partner can communicate in positive ways, but it may still feel like he or she is yelling or being mean. If you are stuck in this place be open and willing to get professional help. All too often, one partner asks to go to counseling and the other is resistant. Timing is everything when it comes to marriage or couples therapy. Be open to getting help.

We hope you find these relationship tips helpful. If you need more help, feel free to reach out by email or call if that’s easier. 

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