A Fresh Approach

Having a healthy relationship is based on having skills. The good news is that skills can be learned and improved upon. Relationship therapy is focused on identifying your needs and those of your spouse/partner, identifying behaviors that diminish loving connection, and building a good set of relationship skills.

These skills include communication, conflict resolution, active listening, empathic connectedness and remembering how to play!

Ten Tips to a Healthy Relationship

1. Develop yourself as a person.

Don’t depend on your spouse for your identity. Read, listen to music, have lunch on your own or with a friend, find a niche, career, hobby or interest.  Be Yourself. Develop yourself.

2. Maintain good boundaries with each other. 

Put each other FIRST, (after yourself, of course )before others like friends even family of origin. This is a huge issue in many relationships – confusion of allegiances. If you don’t know how to do this, ask your spouse what makes her feel like your priority. Then do it.

3. Learn some communication skills!

Don’t take for granted that you know how to communicate. It’s probable that you don’t. Practice active listening – not interrupting, counterpointing, correcting or defending –  but hearing and understanding, validating with your words to your partner. Try walking that metaphoric mile in your partner’s moccasins. That IS the definition of empathic listening.

4. Be willing to share common interests.

Even if you have to acquire a taste for your partner’s  interests – stretch yourself!  And have an interest or two of your own to share (See #1). Be a gracious date – open and ready to have fun.

5. Accept your partner for who he is.

If you married him, remember why. He’s probably still that same person, you just might have changed the rules or your opinion of him. Why? Practice acceptance instead of criticism. Or accept responsibility for the rehabilitation process and encourage rather than find fault.

6. Admit when you’re wrong.

Apologize. Forgive in the real sense. Be willing to hear your partner’s issue with you. (Remember #3!)  Try to understand where he’s coming from…think about it. Come back later to discuss after consideration of his words.

7. Be tender with each other.

Be gentle.  The world can be a harsh.  Be a safe place to land for each other.

8. Men:  Don’t be greedy about sex.

You’ll survive if you don’t get laid as often as you wish.  And allow yourself and your woman to grow old together.  It’s okay not to be 25 forever.

Women:  Don’t withhold sex out of anger or punishment or manipulation. Don’t have sex if you don’t want to unless he makes you feel cherished. Then how could you resist?

9. Stay healthy and fit!

Take care of yourself, your body, mind and spirit.  Look nice – even if you stay home.  Be comfortable but not slouchy.  Like the way you look.  Chances are your partner will as well!

10. Cultivate friendships together.

Having fun with friends together is renewing.  Laughter is healing – it actually makes you live longer – don’t take yourself or your life so seriously.  Find solutions to problems – ask for help if needed. Help each other.  Be each other’s friend.

If any of these Tips seem completely foreign or not doable, perhaps you should seek professional help to figure out what your personal obstacles to loving or being loved happen to be.