Coupling up is complicated. The rules for making it work are not!

Couple having a good time outdoor

Mutual love and respect essentially form the foundation of any relationship. This is equally applicable to a happy romantic relationship between a couple. When we talk of healthy relationship tips for couples, marriage counseling or relationship counseling for a couple, we often have in mind a ‘happily’ married couple who may be looking for some tips for strengthening their relationship. After all, who does not want to have a happy and loving relationship with his or her spouse or partner? It cannot be denied that such healthy relationship tips for couples, relationship counseling and marriage counseling are as effective and beneficial for couples who may be in a ‘live-in’ relationship as they are for married couples.

Even the best marriages will get stuck in too much distance or too much intensity and blame. Be the one to change first. While it takes two to couple up, it takes only one to make things a whole lot better.

We shall give a look here to some of the key healthy relationship tips for couples which have emerged from research and studies done on the subject and also include some tips from relationship counseling and marriage therapy experts.

Warm things up.

Make at least two positive comments every day to your partner and speak to the specifics about what you admire (“I loved how funny you were at the party last night”). Make sure that your positive comments exceed critical ones by a healthy margin.

Dial down the criticism.

Many folks value criticism at the early stage of a relationship but become more allergic to it over time. Get more bite marks on your tongue, by letting all but the most critical issues go by. When you have a criticism, make it in three sentences or less. Remember this: No one can survive in a relationship (at least not happily) if they feel more judged that admired.

Overcome your L.D.D. (Listening Deficit Disorder).

Whole-hearted listening is the most significant spiritual gift you can give to your partner. Drop the defensiveness, and listen only to understand, without interrupting, correcting facts, or counter-punching. Save your defense for another conversation.

Be self-focused.

Connect with friends and family, pursue your own interests, and be of service to others. If your primary energy isn’t directed to living your own life as well as possible, you’ll be over-focused on your partner in a worried or critical way.

Apologize.

Offer the olive branch. You can say, “I’m sorry for my part of the problem” even if you’re secretly convinced that you’re only 28% to blame.

Don’t demand an apology.

Don’t get into a tug of war about his failure to apologize. An entrenched non-apologizer may use a nonverbal way to try to defuse tension, reconnect after a fight, or show he’s in a new place and wants to move toward you. Accept the olive branch in whatever form it’s offered.

Sweat the small stuff.

When you say you’ll do something, do it! Never assume that your overall contribution to the relationship compensates for failing to do what you have agreed to do, whether it’s picking up your socks or moving the boxes out of the garage by Sunday.

Stop the emotional pursuit.

Under stress, don’t press. If you pursue a distancer, he or she will distance more. Consider it a fundamental law of physics. Focus less on your partner, and more on your own life plan. A distant partner is more likely to move toward you when he or she has breathing room and can see you taking good care of yourself.

Be flexible but know your bottom line.

Be flexible in changing for your partner 84% of the time, but don’t sacrifice your core values, beliefs and priorities under relationship pressures. Your marriage will spiral downward if you have an “anything goes” policy.

Be a mystery.

It’s comfortable and cozy when two people know absolutely everything about each other but we’re more likely to be drawn to a partner who has connections and a passion for life outside the relationship. So take a dance class, skiing lessons, or join a book group with friends. The more passion you show for life outside your marriage, the more zest you’ll find within it.

Initiate sex, even if you don’t feel like it.

If you’re the distancer in bed, initiate sex once in a while even though you don’t feel like it. A long-term relationship won’t flourish if your partner is someone for whom sex is an enlivening essential force and you’re too unavailable. To decide you won’t be a physical partner because you don’t feel like it is like his deciding that there will be no more conversation because he’s not a talker. If you have a fair and reasonable partner, there is probably something you can do that wouldn’t be too terribly difficult. (P.S. If you’re the pursuer in bed, back off.)

Work on relationships in your first family.

Become a good questioner about family history, and observe and change your part in triangles and dysfunctional family patterns. You’ll stand on the more solid ground with your partner if you navigate family-of-origin relationships with more creativity and less reactivity.

While it may not be possible for some people to follow all the healthy relationship tips for couples given above, it would be worthwhile to start with one or two and gradually follow all the tips given for having a peaceful, loving and happy life with your partner or spouse.

This may help avoid a visit to a psychologist for relationship counseling or marriage counseling. Prevention is any day better than cure!
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