When a relationship hits the rocks, couples tend to blame each other for causing the rift. Yet, doing so is not helpful. Accepting responsibility enables partners to resolve the issue and move forward. On the other hand, couples need to find time for each other regardless of busy work schedules. For many, the situation can become more difficult when there are children.
Relationship experts recommend doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Sounds simple but requires considerable effort. Constant quarrels can only lead to a serious case of emotional whiplash. Good communication helps build the strongest, closest relationships.
Strive to understand before attempting to be understood
Many relationships suffer due to the cycle of defensiveness and criticism. Oftentimes, a partner may switch into the defensive mode after hearing something they perceive as criticism or an attack. This pattern contributes to a breakdown in communication because defensiveness causes individuals to lose an opportunity to understand a partner’s message.
For this reason, it is recommended that couples should strive to understand each other’s thoughts and feelings before responding.
In many cases, a small issue can get out of control rapidly. The fast pace of exchanges undermines the ability to listen, which makes the situation more volatile. It is best to slow down the interaction and pay attention to each other views.
Turn off your smartphone
A recent study published in Computers in Human Behavior examined how the use of social media and digital devices undermines happiness in relationships. The researchers discovered that many married couples often turn to their phones to avoid saying something negative. Doing so creates a distance between couples. Experts say it is better to deal with issues more directly and avoid overusing the mobile device at the expense of good communication.
Anticipate issues before the situation deteriorates
Small issues must be tackled early to avoid escalating the problem. If left unresolved, they have the potential to fester and expand over time before exploding into bigger problems that are more difficult to handle. Many couples ignore the small issues fearing that a confrontation might ruin the prevailing peace and quiet.
Couples who frequently engage in refreshing activities together enjoy better quality relationships. The activities do not have to be extreme like bungee jumping or skydiving. A simple act of dancing together can go a long way in re-igniting the flames.
Keep an eye for the hidden emotion and unmet need
When a partner is distraught and trying to voice concerns, it is important to pay attention to the clues. In some cases, the source of the frustration can be an unmet desire or need. Unraveling the message is key to solving issues that can undermine the relationship in the future. To understand the partner’s needs, one may have to suspend their own defensiveness or reactivity. This makes it easier to connect with a partner’s needs.
Give your partner a hug
Handholding and hugging helps couples connect and keep the relationship healthy. Doing so is a simple but effective way to express love and affection. The act enables partners to feel more comfortable with each other. It sends an intimate message.
Enjoy sex in new places
Sex undoubtedly plays an integral role in a relationship. However, there is a need to keep the spark by experimenting with new experiences. For instance, having sex in a different place. The romance can be taken out of the bedroom into other rooms or areas.
Having sex in a new setting is known to help stimulate the dopamine system. From the kitchen and the garage to the swimming pool, there is no harm in keeping the senses stimulated.
Foster a closer connection through empathy
Empathy nurtures a relationship by facilitating a deeper bond. In turn, this creates a sense of trust and safety. However, this does not mean surrendering one’s needs. It entails suspending own perspective even when feeling attacked or criticized. Empathy can diffuse a potentially explosive situation.
Given the busy lifestyle most people live today, it is easy for couples to neglect some of the gestures that keep the relationship healthy. A small gesture can help make a partner feel more valued and loved. Performing such acts on a regular basis is a sure-fire way to make change in a relationship.