• Relationship Renewal

    With the new year comes the time-honored tradition of making resolutions. Some people want to lose weight, some strive to get organized and some decide to quit smoking. But what about your relationship? Can you resolve to improve that too?

    In many cases, you can — especially when both partners share that same goal. Even if you feel that the spark is gone, or that you’re on the verge of a relationship crisis, it might not be too late.

    The first step to relationship renewal is taking an honest look at where you stand. How is your relationship different now than at the beginning? And while it’s probably unrealistic to try to recapture the “honeymoon phase” after many years, you can often make significant improvements in terms of how you communicate, how much time you set aside for each other and how well you handle conflicts?

    Start by sharing the qualities and traits that attracted you to each other in the beginning. Was it kindness, playfulness or a wicked sense of humor? Recall some of those early memories and feelings together.

    Next, consider what you’re willing to give to improve your relationship. Are you willing to set aside regular time to work on your issues? Are you willing to be receptive to honest feedback about your own behavior? Are you willing to change and become more supportive of your partner’s interests?

    Lay down some ground rules. Make sure you have privacy during your discussions. Pick a time where the kids are not underfoot and you can fully focus on each other. When talking about your feelings, avoid interrupting. Wait until your partner finishes a thought and repeat what you hear back to make sure you understand where they’re coming from. Agree that either one of you can call a brief five-minute timeout if you need a break.

    Be as specific as possible. Avoid harsh labels and overgeneralizations. Instead of saying, “You never listen to me,” describe a particular instance where you felt ignored. Allow your partner to fully express their point of view.

    Take responsibility for your actions and apologize if you now see that you’re in the wrong. And if you’re on the receiving side of an apology, be gracious about accepting it. Avoid sarcasm and passive-aggressive indifference at all costs.

    Finally, be willing to compromise and negotiate. Flexibility is very important to maintaining a happy and successful relationship. Learn how to ask for what you need while meeting your partner where they’re emotionally at. Make incremental improvements and remember that this is an ongoing process.

    If you find yourself struggling, consider engaging in professional couples therapy. Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy is a proven treatment that can often achieve lasting results in as few as 8-20 weeks. Call 407-579-2070 today for a complimentary phone conversation to see if EFT is right for you.

    Therapy services available via Telehealth.