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How to save and reignite your relationship

4 Jan

Want to save your relationship? These tips can help to establish, strengthen, and rediscover connection, passion, and joy

Married couple holding hands across the table drinking coffee, photo taken from above.

The Christmas holidays can put a lot of stress on relationships, this is reflected every year in the number of divorce petitions that are filed in the month of January - higher than any other time of year. However, if you are wanting to work at your marriage/relationship but don’t know what to do then this is the right place to come.

Whether you have been married for 20 years or are in a newly committed relationship these tips can help to establish, strengthen, and rediscover connection, passion, and joy:

Focus on what YOU can change – not how you want your partner to change. Waiting for your partner to change will only leave you feeling frustrated and helpless. Take this time to consider what YOU bring to your relationship and your own personal growth. It is inevitable that your partner will be affected by the changes that you make.

Listen first, then talk – how often do you interrupt with defensive explanations or advice? People will listen more when they feel listened too. Notice how you begin to feel more connected and listened to when it’s your turn to share.

Focus on the good stuff  – where focus goes energy flows. No one is perfect, whether you focus on their admirable qualities or their faults will have a huge impact on your relationship. Let’s say you view your partner as 90% admirable and 10% faults. If you only focus on their faults, that 10% gets 100% of your attention which is devastating to any relationship. Instead, focus on the good stuff, verbalise your appreciation every day. Before long you will see the impact of the relationship and what they notice about you too. 

Redefine what it means to be in a happy relationship – we all had this fairy tale image of what marriage and family life would be like. And then there is the reality. The good news is that you can have most of what you imagined if you shift your mindset and think about what it is that you really need and what actions you can take to make a mental shift. We would all be a lot happier if we acknowledged that the only person who can ever really make us happy is us.

Know their love language – do you know your partner's preferred way of expressing and receiving love? There are five love languages and unless you know your own and each other’s it can be difficult to consistently meet each other’s expectations and needs for love. To find out more and take the test, look up “The 5 Love Languages”, by Gary Chapman. 

It’s the little things that count –  simple things such as receiving a loving greeting, or offering a cup of tea without having to ask make a huge difference to how appreciated we feel.  Make a commitment to do “little things” every day to show your appreciation to your partner and keep the sparks alive.

Couples meetings – set aside time each week for a couples meeting. Inordinately I would suggest doing this outside the home on neutral ground, perhaps the garden or a walk if that is possible. Start the meeting with appreciation, next brainstorm solutions to items on the agenda, choose a solution to try it for the week. End each meeting by doing something fun together. It helps to have a list of things you both want to do prepared that you can add to and tick off. 

You are still a couple despite having kids – schedule time for the two of you and make sure it happens. What did you do when you first met that you have stopped doing since having kids? Be imaginative! When spending special time, talk about your interests instead of focusing on the family. Transforming your relationship is one of the most meaningful things you can do for your child and it can have a huge impact on their quality of life as well as your own. So, don’t feel guilty for taking time out for yourselves as a couple. 

Give each other space – none of us has been in this situation before, we all need our own time and space to switch off, deal with our own stuff or just be. Relationships need balance. Spending time as a family, a couple but also as individuals. Respect each other and do individual activities and make time for it without resentment. 

Laughter is the best medicine – laughter is good for the soul and great for your relationship. A sense of humour can create magic in a relationship, especially when things get tense. When you see yourself getting too serious, look for the humour in the situation. 

Walking away from your marriage is not an easy decision to make but it is made easier if you know you have done everything you can to work at it. Relationships take effort, if you are both still willing to make that effort then you are halfway there. I hope these tips help, but if you need more support please get in touch.

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