How to Improve Your Relationship
Couples often find it difficult to come for help; it takes courage to let a therapist see how your relationship really is. However, it can help enormously to have a neutral person help you talk to each other AND give you a different perspective, along with new ideas to try. When you are in the middle of a difficult situation it isn't always possible to see it clearly, and a therapist can help with an outside view that may shed new light on an old situation.
However, without therapy, there are some things you can try which will help your relationship:
Spend time together. This might sound obvious or simplistic, but it so easy to be ships passing in the night and eventually to end up strangers to each other. If your relationship really is one of the most important things in your life, does the way you spend your time reflect this? It can be useful to have a look at how much time you have spent with each other over the last week; not time with others, or doing jobs, or watching TV (which may not involve much interacting) but enjoying each others company alone, - just the two of you. Ask yourself what gets in the way of doing more of this.
Talk to each other. Again this sounds obvious, but I am referring to the kind of talking where you really understand what is going on for each other. I'm not referring to chat about your day, or about other people (although that all helps to touch base), but what really helps you to be close is talking about what is going on inside you - your fears and anxieties. Often couples stop doing this because they have built up barriers between them that need addressing; two of the most common barriers are criticism and failure to listen, which lead to shutting down to protect yourself from hurt, leading to a feeling of loneliness.
Deal with conflict. One of the most destructive forces in a relationship is bitterness which can grow from conflicts that are not addressed, and therefore fester and multiply, ending up with lack of tolerance for all the small things. Often the result is bickering about many small things, when the real hurts are unresolved issues from the past and a feeling of disappointment.
Talking with a therapist can help you work on old hurts, and improve your communication.