Light My Fire: 7 Relationship Tips
As a therapist, I’ve seen relationships troubled in many different ways, but the following are my top tips to help them succeed. In no particular order..
Go to therapy
Therapy can help you open up to each other, be more vulnerable, and connect with each other on a deeper level. It’s this vulnerability and connectedness that makes long-term partners experience deeper love with each other.
Some people have sex to feel close, while others need to feel close to have sex. If your partner is one who needs to feel good with you before they can get it on, prioritize talking about things and connecting with them on an emotional level. Neglecting this can build resentment and create distance between the two of you.
Talk about sex
You’d be surprised how many couples I see who have been together for years have never talked about what works for them, what doesn’t, and what fantasies they have. Chances are your partner is into something that the two of you could explore together.
Plan date nights
I don’t care how busy you are or how many kids you have, every couple needs time to be alone, relax, and/or have some fun together. I’m not a doctor, but this is the most common remedy I “prescribe” for my couples.
Surprise each other
Learn what your love languages are and use that knowledge to surprise your loved one in the ways that are meaningful to them. If you aren’t familiar with love languages, Google it, and use it!
The universal quality that makes anyone feel loved and connected is when their partner truly gets where they’re coming from. Show your companion that you see them and you care for them; pay attention to struggles you might be able to help with, worries you might be able to soothe, and stresses you might be able to reduce; and do your best to grab onto times when you can counteract something negative you see coming down the road for them. This will make them feel understood and cared for.
Assume the best
We often take personal offense to many things our partners do. Simple mistakes quickly become very upsetting. Try this exercise: “If I were to assume the best about my partner then ____,” and fill in the blank with something empathic and positive. I like to compare relationships to having a baby. Babies are messy, clumsy, and loud. Sometimes our partners are, too. When a baby behaves these ways, we tend to have more tolerance because we know they can’t help it. You need to employ some of that thinking in the ways you think of your partner. Maybe he had a bad day. Maybe she’s stressed about something. We put up with babies literally pooping all over our lives, but we have very little tolerance for our partners not doing the dishes.
By Joe Borders, MFT
Joe Borders, MFT, has offices in Roseville and Sacramento. He specializes in working with couples, teens, addiction, and the LGBTQ community. For more information and to read his blog, visit joeborders.com.