Use These Couple Counseling Tips To Improve Your Life
Updated March 03, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Karen Devlin, LPC
Do you and your partner hardly speak to each other anymore, except to argue and bicker? Are you hesitant to say what's bothering you because you fear your partner will get angry?
What about sex? Do you or your partner use sex to punish or manipulate each other?
Do you have secrets from each other? Maybe you're hiding how much you spent on the joint credit card last month, or you're having an affair with someone at the office.
Are you dissatisfied and irritable with your partner because you want them to dress better, or to stop making silly jokes, or you want them to spend more time at home?
When your relationship hits a rough spot and you're experiencing some or all these negative behaviors, it's time to do something to improve the relationship with your partner.
You can use some of the most well-known couple counseling tips out there to help you get a good start. The key is to make sure that you pay attention to counselors and others who have been there before to try and figure out just what you and your partner need to be happy.
With these tips, you'll be able to do just that and improve your relationship along the way.
Couple Counseling Tips
One of the most important things that you and your partner can do is to increase the intimacy that you feel for each other. This means making sure that you and your partner spend time together doing the things that you enjoy.
Sometimes it's as simple as just sitting on the couch and talking to each other.
This can help to increase your level of intimacy, and it will translate into some of the other aspects of intimacy that you and your partner want for your relationship.
If the intimate moments that you spend with your partner are rare, here are some exercises that may help.
- Cuddle each other every day. Snuggle up together when you're on the couch watching TV, or last thing at night in bed before you fall asleep.
- Share memories. List five times that you felt close to your partner and then discuss with each other why those times were special. Don't worry if your partner's list is different to yours; just talking about the items on your lists will help you understand what makes your partner happy.
- Date nights may have become a cliché, but they work. It's fine to discuss relationship issues if you want to, but it can also be the time just to kick back and enjoy each other.
Couple counselors have many more intimacy exercises for their clients, like soul gazing, uninterrupted listening, and synchronized breathing. You may feel a bit awkward and self-conscious when you first try these exercises, but the close physical contact will increase your feelings of intimacy with each other.
And never forget the power of a romantic weekend away to get back that loving feeling.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!
There is no such thing as too much communication in a relationship. You and your partner should be willing and interested in communicating with each other about a lot of things. You should want to talk about the good and the bad, and you need too.
If you don't have open and honest communication with your partner, the relationship starts to fall apart.
Make sure that you talk about the things that you don't like as well the things that you do. Remind yourself that you're discussing issues to reach a more positive conclusion for everyone and not to win an argument.
If you struggle to communicate with each other, even with the best intentions, it might be time to visit a counselor or therapist. Couple counseling will help you communicate clearly to avoid misunderstandings and to do so without hurting and belittling each other.
Be Proactive and Willing To Change
Partners are equally responsible for relationship satisfaction. That means that you both need to be proactive in looking for ways to fix the relationship. It also means that you need to hold yourself responsible for your part in anything negative that might be happening in the relationship, as does your partner.
Even if you feel that you're doing everything you possibly can, you should consider the fact that there is something that your partner isn't happy about and would like you to do differently. Keep an open mind and listen to each other. Take responsibility and be proactive in changing what you can.
If you're not willing to make the changes that your partner wants you to make, then there's not a lot you can do about your relationship. That doesn't mean that you should always make those changes. If what your partner wants isn't healthy or isn't what you want, then it's a good idea to walk away.
Every relationship needs compromise, and you both need to be willing to make those changes and do what it takes to help your relationship.
Accept What You Can't Change
You've had countless arguments about the minor irritations every relationship suffers. Wet towels and dirty socks on the floor, empty milk cartons in the fridge, ongoing bickering about whose turn it is to bath the dog, and on and on and on.
Maybe you've been niggling each other about annoying little habits for as long as you've been together. Ask yourself if the constant bickering and sweating the small stuff has changed anything. Probably not.
Learn to ignore the minor things. If your relationship is strong, healthy, and happy most of the time, don't let a wet towel left on the bathroom floor become a national crisis.
Don't Take Your Frustration Out On Your Partner
Identify the reason for your bad mood and frustration. Maybe there's a problem at work, or you're not getting enough sleep. Whatever the reason, don't put on your partner's shoulders something that they can do nothing about.
Of course, discussing your problems and frustrations, actively listening, and being sympathetic and supportive of each other is why we all want to be in a loving and close relationship in the first place.
But don't snap at your partner because you're frustrated about something unrelated.
Control Your Anger
Don't yell at each other. Don't lose your temper and say hurtful things that you will later regret.
Frequent angry outbursts will, over time, ruin your relationship.
Ambrose Bierce, the American satirist, said, "Speak when you are angry, and you will make the best speech you will ever regret."
If you are quick-tempered, learn to take deep breaths, count to ten, and take a time-out until you're once again rational and can get your point of view across in a kind and gentle way.
If you find that you are unable to control your angry outbursts, it's essential that you seek anger management therapy.
Apologize When You're Wrong
This may be one of the most difficult things that a person needs to learn to do the right way.
The first and most vital step is to admit when you're wrong; something many of us struggle with.
The second step is to apologize and be specific about what you did or said and acknowledge the hurt you caused your partner.
Thirdly, if you can, make amends. This must be a sincere attempt and not an empty gesture.
Finally, you need to promise not to repeat the acts or words that required an apology in the first place. Your partner will become cynical about repeated apologies and lose trust in you if you repeat the mistake.
Here are two other things to bear in mind when making an apology.
1. Benjamin Franklin said, "Never ruin an apology with an excuse."
Saying, "I'm sorry I yelled at you for putting sugar in my coffee, but I had a really bad day at the office," doesn't cut it. You're implying that your partner is at fault for adding to the stress of your day.
2. Don't assume that your partner will immediately forgive you. Give them time to overcome their hurt and don't rush them.
Some people believe that a person should never apologize because it's a sign of weakness. This is both arrogant and false. It takes courage to admit to a mistake and apologize for it because it's difficult for us to accept that we're capable of hurting someone we love.
Of course, sometimes you may feel that it's easier to apologize and keep the peace even when you've done nothing wrong. This is not a good idea. It will lead to festering resentment and perhaps encourage your partner to be controlling and manipulative.
Simple Things You Can Do To Make Your Partner Feel Good
When we get busy and stressed, we may forget the simple things we can do to show our partners that we love them.
Here are a few:
- don't hesitate to say how much you appreciate your partner
- say thank you often
- be supportive
- listen actively
- surprise them with a small gift or outing
Couple Counseling with A Trained Therapist
It's inevitable that couples will hit a rough patch in their relationship now and then, and it's not always necessary to get professional help. But if your relationship is stuck in a never-ending cycle of arguments and seemingly irreconcilable differences, couple counseling is essential.
Couple counseling by a professional is usually short-term. The counselor will help you and your partner communicate openly to identify the differences that are causing your relationship to deteriorate and make you both unhappy.
Of course, even the healthiest relationships can benefit from couple counseling as the therapist guides you to a deeper understanding of each other.
If you're looking for help with your relationship, contact Regain for online counseling with a trained therapist.
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