As we are coming to the end of the year, it’s natural to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go so well. It’s an opportunity to take an inventory and plan for the year ahead. While we create New Year’s resolutions for our career and health, we can sometimes overlook our relationship with our partner. Not putting any time or thought into our relationship can mean that we don’t do anything about our relationship until there is a crisis.
I established my relationship counselling service From 2 to 3 to make sure that new parents have the right support before their relationship hits a crisis. I have put together 5 New Year’s Resolutions that can prevent a relationship crisis and create happy, fulfilling relationships in 2016.
1. Tell the Truth to Yourself. You may be reluctant to admit you are unhappy with some aspect of your relationship. You may be tempted to ignore a situation with your partner that is upsetting you and deny the importance of your feelings. A great practice to improve your relationship is to acknowledge and accept the truth of a situation and how you feel about it.This is the first step in being able to change it. While you say and do nothing, nothing changes and your relationship remains stuck. It doesn’t need to be this way. It may be helpful to discuss your feelings and gain clarity with a trusted friend or a professional counsellor before you share them with your partner. If your gut feeling tells you something is wrong, listen to it and take action as it is always right!
2. Notice the Positives. Focus on the good things that your partner does, like washing your car, picking up the bread you like and taking the kids out so you have some time to yourself. It is important to acknowledge these acts of kindness and say thank you to your partner. When you receive a compliment, be gracious and just say thank you in return, as many of us tend to dismiss positive feedback. We have a tendency to notice and comment on the negative, rather than the positive, and this can make us and others feel angry, disappointed or resentful. By focussing on the positives in yourself, your partner and your children, you feel a lot more optimistic and hopeful about your relationship as well as life in general.
3. Invest in You. Making time for yourself, be it for exercise, a massage or just time out to drink a coffee undisturbed, will make you feel more connected to yourself and allow you to be more emotionally available for your parter. As the old saying goes, it’s actually more selfish not to take this time out for for yourself as if you don’t do this, you will have nothing left to give to your partner. As new parents, this investment in your physical and emotional wellbeing will reap rewards in both your relationship and your parenting. As a relationship counsellor, I notice that clients who do take that time out for themselves, cope much better with balancing the demands of their everyday life which can be rigorous.
4. Schedule Couple Time. Spending time together that is fun and relaxing for both of you is vital to keep the emotional and physical intimacy alive in your relationship. You are more likely to be physically intimate when you have spent some quality time together as a couple. Physical and sexual intimacy is an important ingredient in building your connection as a couple and it improves the emotional connection in your relationship as well.
5. Share the Decision Making. The happiest, most stable marriages are the ones where both partners share the decision making. By allowing them into your world, and accepting their help and ideas, you both feel validated and acknowledged, which strengthens your relationship and builds trust. It also means that you are able to avoid conflict down the track over household bills, purchases, holiday plans and housework, because you have discussed these issues earlier. Your partner may feel left out and unimportant if they are not included in important family and household decisions, or you may feel burdened by the responsibility if you are the one making all the decisions on your own.
If you need more help, then please contact me to book a session, where I can support you as an individual, or through counselling with your partner.