Ten Tips for Couples
8th December, 2008
TEN TIPS FOR IMPROVING YOUR RELATIONSHIP
1. Remember that you are two individuals with a different set of experiences, beliefs and world views. How you were brought up will largely define a great deal of your attitude to relationship
2. The other person isn't likely to be perfect. Issues big and small in a successful relationship need to be negotiated: remember, don't ASSUME - Assume makes an ASS out of U and ME!
3. If you are conflicting over money there might be underlying problems which are being displaced. Relationships should not be about money, yet issues over finance destroy a lot of partnerships.
4. If you want to improve communications then the best time to talk is when things are going well and you are relaxed. No issue ever gets resolved during a row because anger and raised voices bring up defences which prevent resolution. Try to always tell the truth no matter how afraid you are. Remember, your partner is supposed to be on your side. He or she is not a judging, punishing parental figure.
5. This may be bad news given the culture in which we live right now, but for most people I see, sexual infidelity, including persistent flirting, is unacceptable in a long term relationship. Rebuilding trust is very difficult indeed. Infatuation or sexual feelings for others is common but it does not need to be acted upon. Most adults are attracted to other people from time to time. If this is happening too frequently the relationship probably needs work.
6. Work and hobbies prioritised over the relationship is a very frequent cause of couple breakdown in my experience as a couple therapist.
7. Many people fall in love then forget to negotiate very basic issues like whether they are going to have children, religion or preferred geographical location. If you are planning to take a relationship to the next level, while it isn't very romantic, sharing major likes, dislikes, plans and beliefs will pay dividends further along if you are clear about these issues. Don't 'fit in' with someone while you are infatuated: it may not be a decision you would make otherwise.
8. Nothing corrodes a good relationship like resentment. Resentments often occur because of things unsaid, a series of misunderstandings, and outside interference. These issues can easily be avoided by promoting honest, ongoing communication.
9. Wouldn't it be great if we could all fall in love with the perfect person and live happily ever after? I guess some people do this with minimum effort, for the rest of us, we have to put in a little effort. Boring at times but, there it is.
10. Relatives and friends often well meaning, sometimes interfering for their own purposes, can really put pressure on a relationship. The truth is that while we often seek advice from people with whom we are close, they may have a conscious or unconscious agenda. We cannot rely on their advice.
The other problem with advice is that it usually involves revealing personal information about your relationship. People can be judgmental, so while they might want to support you just because you are their relative or friend, they may dissaprove, or not maintain confidentiality. Their advice isn't always fair or appropriate. Advice is usually not of much use. We all know what we SHOULD do. We don't really want advice, or really expect others to fix it for us.
Don't let other people get involved in your relationship, it seldom helps and in some cases can actually destroyed relationships. You don't have to give out private information to anyone and you really do have the right to set boundaries against curious or manipulative people.
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