According to experts, the best relationship advice
It can be not easy to give relationship advice. It can be irritating and even offensive to receive advice uninvited. It can be not easy to find the answer you are looking for, such as a definitive answer about whether yours is healthy and what’s really important.
You can do some things, like “don’t get angry at your partner” and “respect is essential,” but those pieces of advice have been around before. We consulted expert therapists to find the most useful tips that they share with patients.
Set up dates to discuss your relationship
“Commit to spending an hour-on-an an ongoing basis–to strengthen your relationship, troubleshoot, and make it more satisfying,” suggests Manhattan-based licensed clinical psychologist Joseph Cilona. You can have a monthly or weekly dinner that focuses on your relationship goals and issues.
It might sound boring, but it is better to get your “homework” or couple’s maintenance done during a designated conversation than have it ruin a romantic dinner. Cilona suggests that you be grateful and use the time to find solutions to problems.
Share your feelings, the good and the not so good
Regularly opening up can help bring you closer, says psychotherapist Beth Sonnenberg, L.C.S.W. “If you believe that your feelings aren’t important, won’t get heard, or aren’t worth sharing, then you can harbor negativity, resentment, and even hostility,” she says. She adds that people need to feel valued in every relationship.
Find the root causes of your problems. Next, take action
These are common issues for every couple. You might be constantly fighting about your work schedule or your partner’s spending habits. It doesn’t matter what the cause is, if you don’t address the root problem, it will only lead to more fighting. Cilona suggests that you and your partner determine the root causes of conflicts and agree on solutions. He suggests that it’s more helpful to concentrate on “specific and distinct behaviors” than labels and interpretations when doing this.
Instead of saying your partner is irresponsible when they buy a mini refrigerator without consulting you first, it’s better for you to say that they are trying to hide from you when they make large purchases without speaking to you first. Cilona states that focusing on the problem rather than blaming can lead to more effective problem-solving and a team-based approach.
Your partner should not be your best friend
You should expect your partner will meet some of these needs. But the best friend relationship is more complicated. Klow suggests that you find “healthy, alternate ways” to meet your needs through other people if you feel that your partner is not the best friend for you. He says that this can allow your relationship to be more joyful than a draining one.
Repeat the words aloud before you comment
This is called “mirroring.” It works like this: After having an important conversation with your partner, you should repeat exactly what they said before commenting on it. You might say, “So you think we need more freedom for ourselves without our kids or friends?” It is more efficient.
Cilona states, “You’ll be astonished at the different ways that even the most basic statements are heard by different people.” This not only improves communication’s accuracy and quality, but it allows for corrections to misinterpretations. It also gives each partner a strong sense of being heard.
Talk about money
Cilona points out that although it’s easy to argue about finances, talking about money in the right way can actually strengthen your relationship. He adds that a couple who communicates their financial goals and is willing to work together towards achieving them will likely have a stronger bond.
If you are unsure whether you prefer to do your research before making a major purchase, talk with your partner before your car lease ends. You can also discuss your preferences to find common ground if you are more interested in investing in travel rather than saving for a vacation home.
Love your partner every day
“My favorite piece is the idea that each day we wake up and choose to feel affection towards our partners,” says psychotherapist Jennifer L. Silverstein. She says that love is an active choice every day and you can control how you feel. She says, “If we wake up and find a flaw in our partner, it is difficult to feel connected and in love throughout the day.” “If we wake up and find something we love or admire, it sets the tone.
Be productive in your fight
Fighting is inevitable in every relationship. However, it’s possible to fight more effectively and move the conversation along. Silverstein suggests being clear about how your partner’s actions affect you. Silverstein explains that forgetting to text me when you’re late makes it seem like you don’t care.
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You and your partner may have your own issues and each other is not perfect. Maybe you admire how your couple of friends manage conflict, or maybe you want to be like your parents.
Cilona suggests that you talk to the people involved about what it takes to make your relationship work. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You can simply say, “I love the way you and your partner share responsibilities.” What are your thoughts? Discuss it with your partner.