When you enter a relationship or get married, you have expectations for your new life. Inevitably, reality can be less than ideal, and those expectations might go unmet. You look at friends who are in happy relationships and the photos of them on social media. You feel anxiety in your stomach, and yearn for what you see. In our Chicago and Evanston counseling practices, we help women who want to understand and change their relationships. We guide them toward feeling more connected and fulfilled. What small daily acts can you practice which can turn into habits that create a solid foundation for your relationship? We have compiled some habits of healthy couples to inspire you.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, speaks to the need for taking small, consistent steps to build the habits we want to establish in our lives.
“All big things come from small beginnings. The seed of every habit is a single, tiny decision but as that decision is repeated, a habit sprouts and grows stronger.
No relationship is perfect. No two relationships are alike. Yet, there are some characteristics of relationships that have stood the test of joy and hard times. Couples who have invested for the long haul understand that growth and change (building new communication and habits) are part of the fabric of their lives.
Here’s to changing your thinking and behavior patterns and experiencing more satisfaction with your partner.
Therapy tips for honoring differences
Relationship Counseling Tip #1 Were you first attracted to your partner because of shared values or interests? Even though you had many things in common, you probably had vastly different interests, too. Healthy couples learn to encourage their partners to pursue those things that make them come alive. They understand that this interest is a necessary investment in their partner.
Relationship Counseling Tip #2 Sometimes, the conversations get heated. You and your partner’s views on an issue may be in direct opposition. Remain curious about how your partner feels and convey value to them. Healthy couples have learned to let their partners completely express who they are. Years together breeds a familiarity. Yet give your partner the benefit of expressing their opinion instead of assuming you know how they feel and what they will say.
Relationship Counseling Tip #3 Gary Chapman in The Five Love Languages articulated that we desire to receive love differently. Your partner might thrive on having your undivided attention while you need to hear, “You’re amazing!” You will build a healthier couple when you consistently love your partner in the way which best resonates with them. You remember to make time for your partner in the busiest season of your lives, since you know this is what your partner needs.
Therapy tips for increasing intimacy (It’s not only about sex)
Relationship Counseling Tip #4 Physical intimacy in a relationship maintains a necessary connection between you and your partner. You deliberately kiss your partner at the end of the work day. When your partner shares the details of the day, you listen with interest and avoid distractions. Grounded couples find a way to express their need and desire for physical intimacy. Jennifer Chappell Marsh told HuffPost. “Over time, these small interactions build into a deep sense of trust and intimacy that keep couples happy and together.”
Relationship Counseling Tip #5 You welcome your partner into all areas of your life. Your partner is a safe space to share the good, the bad and the ugly. When you are up for a promotion, your partner is the first to know. Yet when you make a financial mistake which might cost your family money, your partner is also the first to know. Establishing deep trust builds emotional intimacy which is as important as physical intimacy.
Relationship Counseling Tip #6 Creating a space to be together as a couple, growing “we” time works to unite you and your partner. Yes, it is important for the two of you to have your personal passions. If your partner comments, “You’re too busy,” it might sting. It could be their way of seeking your attention and saying, “I wish you had more time for me/us.” The two of you can work toward openly expressing needs and find a common path. You can explore activities you can enjoy together.
Take a look at this list of habits. You may feel overwhelmed thinking there are so many things that you and your partner need to address. Pick one and focus on it. Identify the small, daily consistent steps you can take to bolster that habit within your marriage. Talk to your partner about how you feel. Engage them to see if you can work on improving your relationship. As you implement these counseling tips you will be surprised at how quickly the intimacy and connection will grow in your relationship.
Would you like to be empowered to say what you want and shift the communication in your relationships? Do you want to discover what a healthy relationship would look like for you? Click below to book a free 15-minute consultation for appointments in Evanston or Chicago to discover how counseling can help you feel more connected to others.
We provide Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Relationship Therapy, and Hypnotherapy, for women in Evanston and Chicago IL, virtually and in person. We help women who are struggling with loneliness to experience a transformation through relationship therapy. The relationship between you and your therapist is really the place where you start changing all of your other relationships. It is where you feel understood and get the tools you need to develop deep, meaningful relationships.