In the beginning of a relationship, both men and women are excited at the prospect of a new companion. The chase, the romance, the exhilaration is new, fresh and exciting, so how do we maintain the fire through the years? Most of us have seen or known a couple whose love has stood the test of time. These couples have spent 20, 40, even 60 years with one another and through time have built a long, healthy relationship. What is their secret? How do they do it?
There are many aspects to building a strong relationship, and all relationships go through highs and lows that challenge them. Each marriage or relationship is just as unique as the people involved. As long time provider of couples counseling in Bethesda, MD, we have compiled six crucial steps for couples to build a long and healthy relationship.
Trust is a funny concept for many people to understand. On the baseline, most of us assume that, in a relationship, trust is equated to fidelity. While fidelity is an incredibly important factor to maintain within a relationship, trust is much deeper. The concept of trust can be applied to both partners in a relationship. If you don’t trust your partner, ask yourself why. What is it about their behavior that affects your own?
Trusting yourself in a relationship is just as important, if not more so, than trusting your partner. If you don’t trust yourself, how are you supposed to trust anyone else? If you constantly compare your partner to former partners, how will they ever live up to your expectations? Open communication about how you are feeling and what behaviors or actions are upsetting for you is crucial to a healthy relationship. Don’t bottle up your feelings, trust your partner to listen and help. Trust yourself and believe you are truly deserving of an incredible, healthy relationship. Some may find relief in seeking couples counseling to have a professional guide them through opening up to trust.
How does your spouse feel loved? What is his or her love language? As unique as we all are as human beings, so are our love languages. While you might respond to gifts and words of affirmation/appreciation, your partner might respond to physical touch. Explore the different ways you and your partner feel loved and partake in small daily or weekly activities to show your love and appreciation for who your partner is.
Likewise, when you notice your partner going out of their way to please or comfort you, say something about it! “I feel loved when…” is much more powerful than a simple “thank you.” Communicating your appreciation to your partner clearly and carefully will empower them. Don’t be surprised when you see changes happen quickly when you show and acknowledge your appreciation within your relationship.
You came into your relationship with a certain set of values and beliefs, as did your partner. As different as each set of values and beliefs might be, it is important to show respect. If you feel like something can be improved upon, showing yourself respect and nurturing your own needs will directly benefit you partner. He or she will know how to improve their behaviors or respect your values within the relationship once they are given notice.
Respect can be attributed to relationships in so many ways. Sometimes it is as simple as respecting your time with your partner by paying attention to what they are saying. At our couples counseling clinic in Bethesda, MD, our professionals know technology is a common interference with communication and respect. Our suggestion is to peel your eyes away from the TV or phone and really listen to your partner. Knowing they have your respect and attention means everything.
When the romance has lulled and you feel like a relationship has gone flat, it might be time to put some spice back into your marriage or companionship. If your partner has particular interests that otherwise don’t interest you, it’s time to pick up some pointers and go for it. Exploring your partner’s interests will show him or her that you truly care about what they love and want to experience everything with them, even if it means camping or watching a romantic comedy.
5. Don’t go to bed angry
Don’t go to bed angry is one of the most common pieces of advice given to new couples, and there is something to say about that!
If you and your partner have just gotten into a late night fight and there is no end in sight, set the clock for fifteen minutes. Each partner has the same amount of time to vent or relay his or her feelings. Once their time is up, so is the fight.
It doesn’t do anyone a service to continue to stay mad at the other person through the night. Our thoughts and feelings can go wild. We might stay up or become restless stewing over the argument that occurred before bed. It isn’t healthy or productive to go to bed angry, so make it right and kiss goodnight!
6. Couples counseling
You don’t need to be on the brink of disaster before agreeing to couples counseling. In fact, it should be quite the contrary! Today many couples are opting for regular counseling sessions to keep an open line of communication going between the two parties. It is incredibly helpful to remain open in dialogue within a relationship, whether there are issues or not.
Couples counseling offered through a Bethesda, MD psychologist is an investment you will use throughout your healthy relationship. A nearby Bethesda psychologist at Wilfried Busse offers counseling and therapy services for couples, individuals, and groups! Investing in your relationship means investing in your happiness… who doesn’t want more of that? Contact our offices today to schedule an appointment!