Couples Therapy Exercises You Can Try At Home
Updated September 04, 2018
Whether a couple seems to be drifting apart or they desire to broaden and strengthen an already strong relationship, consulting a qualified couples counselor is rarely a waste of money and effort. Outside of this relatively formal environment, though, building a relationship is still a continuous process. Part of it means showing affection and consideration on a daily basis, but a few couples therapy exercises can also help to improve communication and understanding between them. The activities listed below don't require you to write anything down or subscribe to some obscure philosophy. Rather, they only consist of doing the things you're already practicing in your relationship, but deliberately.
Couples Therapy Exercises For Bedtime
Physical intimacy makes up a major part of most romantic relationships, and actual sex is just one component of this. Touching or just being near another person provides us with feelings of safety and validation and helps us relax, thereby lowering our guard and allowing a couple to be more open with one another.
Although this piece of advice may seem so banal as to be useless, it really is a good idea to get into the habit of not going to bed angry. Every argument can't be resolved before 11 p.m., but it's important to at least show that you can appreciate your partner's viewpoint and you are willing to take it seriously. Allowing each of you to stew in resentment and anger until you're able to discuss the issue further will only make finding a compromise that much more difficult.
Another habit to cultivate is to stare into each other's eyes for several minutes before bed. Most people find prolonged eye contact with strangers highly uncomfortable, but this certainly shouldn't be the case in a romantic relationship. Simply sit or lie comfortably close together and look at each other for several minutes. A good way to measure this time is to do it for the duration of a song you both like, and of course you are allowed to blink. Doing this can lead quite naturally to some cuddling, which in itself is a good way to deepen your bond.
Scheduling Special Times Together
One of the ways communication can break down in a relationship is by people just getting into the habit of biting their tongue, or postponing hard talks to a time that never seems to come. Obviously, we don't want to launch into contentious discussions when our partners are tired or already upset, but if we don't make time to clear the air, this chore will end up never being done.
It is therefore a good idea to set aside 30 minutes or an hour each week during which you promise to be entirely open with each other. The best way to do this is to choose a time when you and your partner are relaxed, such as on a Sunday morning. Listen instead of hear, and remember to criticize behaviors instead of personalities.
Similarly, whether you've just gotten together recently or already have children, it's important to just have some fun together, without any distractions, from time to time. There's something to be said for routine activities such as going to a favorite restaurant once a month, but sharing novel experiences and adventures is a great way to reconnect and generate excitement in your relationship. This doesn't have to mean spending a week and thousands of dollars on an ocean cruise. Instead, you can just pack a picnic basket and head to the park, or go to salsa classes together.