One of the biggest reasons that people come for counselling, is because something has gone wrong in their relationship. Often couples find that they are no longer communicating, that they have very little patience with one another or that they do not have the time to spend with each other. Sometimes they are barely speaking before they enter counselling. That said, there are other occasions when people will come for counselling to try and stop a relationship getting to that stage.
If you feel that your relationship is in a difficult place, then there are several things that you could try in order to improve it.
1. Making time for each other.
It sounds like something so simple. But busy lives, and hectic schedules can mean that couples barely see each other. Try implementing a ‘date night/day’ into your week. This doesnt have to be something expensive, but it could involve a meal somewhere, a long walk, or an activity that you both enjoy. Try and do something that is light hearted and makes you both smile. It is often a good idea to do something that will involve you talking and interacting, rather then watching the T.V.
Communication is often the biggest thing to go in a relationship. So try and make time to actually listen to one another. It is really important that there isnt always a distraction around you. So if you are used to eating infront of the television, then turn it off. Talk to each other! Ask how each other is really doing, and listen. Pay attention to the small details and show interest in what has happened in the other persons day / life.
In any relationship it is really important to respect the other person. This means , never taking them for granted, and trying to listen to what it is that they need from you. Don’t put another person down and make sure that they are not doing this to you. Mutual respect is vital and important in all relationships. Try and compliment one another more, instead of looking for faults, or complaining about things that may not have been quite right. Remember why you feel in love with this person in the first place and look for what it is that you like and cherish about them.
4. Laughter and fun
Life may have become very stressful and serious for you both. The pressure of jobs , mortgages, children, money etc can all be very intense and cause strain for any relationship. Try and make time to enjoy one another and laugh together. How did the two of you used to have fun? What was it that made you both smile? Remember those things, and see if you can bring them back into the relationship. If you can do this, then things will feel more natural and less heavy.
Trust is such a vital part of any relationship, and if it has been broken , then this can have destructive consequences. It takes time to develop and to build back up again, if it has been lost. But if you want to be with this person, then you need to start trusting them again, and giving them a chance to prove that they can be trusted. Try not to be to suspicious or look for the negatives all the time. Even if you have been hurt a lot, that doesnt mean that the person will hurt you again. Set boundaries and guidelines around what you both need in terms of honesty and trust, and try to re build your relationship so that it has integrity and openness.
6. Self awareness and understanding
Any two people in a relationship will come with thier own history , with its range of issues and concerns. Some individuals will have been hurt in the past, maybe rejected or abandoned. Others will have been abused or neglected. Whatever has happened in your past, try and be aware of it, and mindful of how this can come out and impact on your current relationships and behaviour. Remember that other people may touch buttons that are painful for you, but they are not the person that originally hurt you. Try your best to let go of the past and to not let it dictate your future with a loved one. This is a difficult thing to achieve but working on your own levels of self confidence and esteem can really help with this.
These points are by no means all of the ways that relationships can be improved upon, but I do hope that they help you , in terms of building a greater sense of peace and harmony with your partner.