5 RELATIONSHIP ADVICE

MARRIAGE COUNSELLING

Family-Counselling-Relationship-Advice

Why being together is not enough..?

A couple’s relationship or a marriage is the most intimate form of human relationships. It’s a significant source of well being and happiness. The reality is that to make the romantic beginnings spread into a lasting relationship is not simple. Conflicts are a part of every partnership involving a person, which remains the same for a couple. This relationship being the closest of all, while on shaky grounds, it sometimes deeply impacts every aspect of your life. You feel stuck and helpless.

I give you below some relationship advice that can help your couple maintain its relationship in order.

• Couples need to communicate: It’s a key point in maintaining a healthy relationship. Talking to each other is essential to understand as well as share matters that could be private and unique to a couple. Communication should not be limited to discussing household chores and parenting or family commitments, the term has far reaching connotation. A couple should keep in touch with each other consistently, check on their routine activities. They should also discuss their hope, desires and fears. This kind of support towards each other makes a relationship a long lasting one. That in no way implies that they should be avoiding discussions that are unpleasant. Avoiding conflicts is detrimental to any human partnership. Destructive communication styles have to be avoided. Patterns that involve anger and criticism or withdrawal and conflict avoidance create distances in couples which could lead to separation eventually. Listening to each other’s perspectives in face of differences and understanding each other brings people closer. Adding humour makes it easier to stay away from the cycle of destructive communication style or conflict avoidance.

• Do not let the boredom set into your relationship: Initially when a couple falls in love with each other they focus on the attractive aspects of the other person and overlook the uncomfortable ones. They put their best foot forward and go out of the way to do some small things for each other. These minor gestures here and there make the individuals as well as couples feel special. This in turn motivates them to spend more time together and communicate more. Once a matured couple passes this phase they keep their interdependency alive while they nurture their individual identities. At the same time, some couples are no more interdependent and live their individual selves. Hence they do not feel complete or special as individuals or couples. When a couple realises this phase has set in they should initiate spending some private time together which does not involve doing household chores, job commitments, children or family. They should also plan taking up activities or hobbies that they can do together. If they do not have common interests then they can decide to do learn something new like a dance form, language or a sport. It requires efforts but breaking the routine is important. You have to keep bring in newness that’s what makes it interesting and captivating. Sex also starts taking a back seat in these phases of a relationship. Intimacy is the glue that sticks couples together. Scheduling consistent and frequent time for these physical encounters helps in fulfilling a lot of biological and emotional needs. This creates togetherness and happiness. This makes the romantic beginning phase last in its own way. Keep alive the earlier romantic images in mind which generally sober down with the reality of time. One should be careful that the other does not feel isolated at any cost.

• Your couple identity: In order to make it a long lasting relationship, a couple has to grow together and the identity should be distinct from the family origin which they belong to. Emotional attachment to your parents and sibling should be balanced. There should be subtle jokes, glances, vocabulary that is unique to the couple and they intimately keep sharing it. They should build emotional intimacy with this shared identity at the same time encourage each other to grow as a unique individual with the different personalities. Do not limit personal growth or enmesh boundaries.

“Some couples emerge stronger as they look at balancing their separateness with togetherness by creating common activities and understanding each other’s needs.”

• Partners must gather strength to face inevitable crisis of life: A couple should be able to confront and hold together through the inevitable adversities like financial insecurities, illness, parenting difficulties, family conflicts, differences in goals, change in priorities, new friends, new hobbies, etc; that life brings upon us. A relationship or marital bond should be the one that provides a space where both feel secured and safe and are comfortable sharing anger, fear, expressing differences and managing conflicts. A couple should nurture each other through crisis and strengthen their distinct identity further by satisfying each other’s needs.

• Partners should mind attitudes towards the other and self: One should always take care of oneself by taking care of sleep and food. This helps you to internally develop a lot of self control. That certainly helps with relationship management. Other attitudes like positivity, openness, gratitude, sharing is fundamentally helpful in growing together while taking care of ‘I’, ‘His/her’ and us.

All couples pass through different phases in a relationship. Initially when you are a couple you feel all your needs are met and you are almost one with each other. You are in need of consistent physical contact. Some couples pass through this and grow up individually as well as a couple’s unit. This is a matured growth. Some other couples get stuck in this stage and become enmeshed together where there is a lot of anxiety as there is a feeling of abandonment. Some other couples also pass through a stage where after the romantic stage minor conflicts arise and they feel disappointed while a sense of loss is experienced as the person they loved seemed changed or is not as perfect. At this stage, one of the two might be still stuck in the honeymoon period and the other one might be individuating.

Understanding each other’s needs will help them separate and individuate together. There are also stages of conflicts where there is only separateness. Couples have grown away from each other as individuals. They feel the other is unavailable, withdrawn, aggressive, critical, etc. Some couples want to separate at this stage. At the same time, some couples master this stage and emerge stronger as they look at balancing their separateness with togetherness from time to time by creating common activities and understanding of each other’s needs. They grow together being less vulnerable and encourage each other to grow from time to time.

Relationship counselling can help you understand at which stage your couple might be and how you can grow together or separate from there. Relationship counselling can also help you develop individually by healing the personal wounds that impact your marriage or relationship. If you who feel that you can relate to any issues expressed in this article, please feel free to ask me a question or book an appointment in order to help yourself get more insights into your life.

Richa Khetawat is a trained Clinical Psychologist providing online counselling services in a professionally helping manner to facilitate transitions in life. She has over 8 years of experience helping individuals cope with managing family and relationships issues, stress and anxiety, life transitions, children parenting and adolescent issues.