Accept each other: When we fall in love, we usually gravitate toward someone who is like us in some ways but different in others. At first this attraction seems ideal, but within about 6-18 months of the relationship the differences will initiate conflict. It is important to normalize these differences and to accept each other, warts and all.
Be vulnerable: Assuming the relationship is safe, sharing tender, vulnerable emotions beneath anger and strife can help soften interchanges and keep the dialogue flowing. “I feel lonely when you watch TV in the evening” is much easier to hear than “All you do is watch TV every night”.
Define self: The essence of intimacy is the ability to define oneself and stay in close proximity to your partner. When each person is balanced on their own two feet, the embrace is more relaxed. There is less dependency on the other for personal happiness. Intimacy is a dance between pulling back to maintain a strong sense of self and joining together in celebration.
Don’t psycho-analyze your partner: Accept that your partner is an expert on their experience in the relationship as well as their own thoughts and feelings; even when their perceptions make no sense to you. To ignore or to minimize your partner’s complaints will likely lead to a surprise awakening when a major conflict arises.
Choose kindness: When there is a choice between being right and being kind in a relationship, usually you are better served to choose kind.
You cannot change your partner: You can only change yourself and how you interact with your partner. When you change yourself and your interactions, it may or may not effect change the other person. Furthermore, even if it does effect change in your partner, they may or may not change in the way you want them to. Never marry a person for the potential you see in your lover. A good question to ask when choosing a partner is, “If this person never changes from who they are today, can I live with them for the rest of my life?”
Does your relationship need extra attention?
We help build healthy partnerships! Our therapists specialize in:
- Premarital counseling
- Relationship distress
- Sexual problems
- Blended families
- And more
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