04 Dec Marriage Counselling
“It’s the little things often that bring connection” – Dr. John Gottman
After years of marriage or being in a committed relationship a couple may run the risk of becoming housemates, rather than lovers. Financial stress, work stress, parenting, household chores all contribute to those warm, loving fuzzy feelings dwindling over time if they aren’t addressed. Some couples do not attempt to rekindle those feelings until they have lost them.
All is not lost and there are plenty of things that couples can do to help bring back those loving feelings, and the good news is that it isn’t all about grand gestures or gifts.
Dr. John Gottman describes “it’s the little things often that bring connection”. How do you cultivate more positive interactions when life is busy and challenging? Irritable feelings are much easier to express, especially when our partners can be so annoying! The research by Dr. John Gottman shows that keeping a balance of 5 positive interactions to one negative interaction can create a stronger, more nurturing relationship. So, what are the positive things you can do?
Find the Good Things about your partner: recognise and reward what your partner is doing right, which when practiced daily contributes to positive interactions.
Say thank you. Even when tasks are from the couple’s division of chores, it is still important to acknowledge them. “Thank you for taking that bag of rubbish out for me!”.
Listen to each other! Pay attention and listen to the way your partner tells a story, or about what their day was like, and respond with sincere interest. Active listening to them without interruption, or being distracted by phones, TVs or emails is so important. We all know how good it feels when someone is genuinely interested in what we have to say. And don’t start changing subject until he/she has finished with their story!
Physical affection tends to decrease as the relationship matures, but it doesn’t have to. Giving and receiving lots of affection can be simple as stroking their arm/hand, holding hands, hugging, winking, and even smiling at each other.
Implementing these simple appreciations every day will help maintain warm loving feelings and create a stronger, more nurturing relationship.
Feel free to contact Sarah and inquire about marriage counselling.
Sarah Harwood MA MACA
Sarah is a marriage, child and family psychotherapist, and is a Bringing Baby Home educator. She is married and is the mother of two children.