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**The Relationship Rehab Series focuses on the intersection between mental health and intimate relationships. Specifically we look at ways to optimize your love life through psychologically proven practices.**
Check out Part 1: Starting the Conversation here: https://mysoulbalm.blog/2020/04/07/relationship-rehab-series-part-1-starting-the-conversation/
Check out Part 2: Fighting Fair here: https://mysoulbalm.blog/2020/04/10/relationship-rehab-series-part-2-fighting-fair/
Check out Part 3: Rebuilding your Connection here: mysoulbalmcomhome.wpcomstaging.com/2020/04/13/relationship-rehab-series-part-3-rebuild-the-connection/
Maintaining your Connection
And now to our 4th and final part in the series: how to Maintain your Partnership after all the hard work you’ve put in Starting the Conversation, Fighting Fair and Rebuilding your Connection.
As we’ve talked about earlier in the series, your relationship will never be the same again. It’s like a broken vase that’s been patched up with gold: you have to take extra care with it if you want it to still hold water.
So how do you move forward in a mindful, gentle way with your Love? These steps might help 🙂
Nothing is more crucial to a maintaining a healthy relationship than effective communication. Here’s how you can keep your communication levels 100%:
Have a weekly check in time.
Nothing is worse for a relationship than unspoken resentment. That’s why it’s important to schedule a weekly check in time with your spouse to air any grievances. This lets frustrations come out in a controlled way so they don’t pop up unexpectedly later.
As a bonus, I recommend sharing good things you’ve noticed during the week. It’ll help set a positive mood before you dive into the tough stuff. Remember to take turns.
Learn to voice your concerns without starting a fight
Learning voice concerns in a calm, productive way can help prevent resentments from even starting.
Sounds hard? That’s cause it is.
This is a pretty advanced step which requires a lot of mindfulness and dedication to achieve. But if you get it right, it’s worth the trouble. Find out how to approach your partner more effectively by reading this article from Bustle: https://www.bustle.com/articles/183906-how-to-bring-up-an-issue-in-a-relationship-without-starting-a-fight
But are we actually listening properly? The same study referenced above states that: “…we often comprehend and retain only one fourth of what we hear.” Most of the time, we’re lost in our own heads, which is fine for the most part.
But not when it comes to a relationship!
Really paying attention and listening to your partner’s needs, desires, woes, and wants is key to maintaining a solid connection with your love. Check out this Huffpost Article to learn more about really hearing your spouse: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/4-ways-to-really-hear-your-spouse_b_57a478f4e4b034b25894afd6
The cool thing about reigniting your relationship is that you two get to have fun together again! Woo!
Of course enjoyable activities are the first to go to the wayside during the din of everyday life. So how can you prioritize fun as a couple?
Put it on the calendar
The most simple solution is to make time and space for fun activities with your spouse. Put them on the calendar in big red ink. Plan ahead to take time off work, set up a baby-sitter, and get out there and have fun!
Find fun where you can
If it’s not really feasible to schedule out your fun in the near future, it’s important to do what you can to find the fun in every day life. Dance in the kitchen, have a “try not to laugh” competition with each other, go for a run or just sit down and have a beer together.
Maintaining a relationship is hard work, but it doesn’t always have to be so serious. Humor is a great way to defuse tense situations in your relationship (just remember not to be snarky). You can also work on bringing more fun into your day to day routines so they don’t get boring.
The learning doesn’t just stop because you’ve improved you relationship. You have to keep ingesting new information everyday in order to maintain a healthy rapport with your spouse.
Here’s how to do that:
Go to counseling.
The first step, way back in part 1 of this series, was to look at how your own patterns contributed to the downfall of the relationship.
You’ve done well to get to this part; but remember: negative patterns aren’t just fixed over night. Even if your relationship improves, you might still be doing things to sabotage it without even knowing.
That’s why it’s important to continue to go to individual and couples counseling even after things get better. This preventative maintenance helps keep you guys on top of any issues that may complicate your newly rewedded bliss.
No matter how well you know your partner, there’s always something that surprises you about them. So don’t be surprised!
Being inquisitive about your spouse’s inner world is really important to building and maintaining accurate Love Maps.
Using tools like The 36 Questions That Lead to Love or Gottman Card Decks you can easily suss out what your partner’s likes, dislikes, dreams, sexual fantasies and ultimate desires are. You can then turn that info around and use it accordingly to make your relationship run smoothly.
Build a relationship support network
It is said that everyone out there knows one thing you don’t, which is why it’s so important to build a community around your relationship.
Having friends who prioritize healthy relationships can benefit your own partnership immensely. You can go to them for advice, vent frustrations, and even commiserate (empathetically of course) because they understand where you’re coming from.
So surround yourself with a good relationship support network; you might stand to learn a lot or at the very least make some really good friends along the way!
Whew, that wraps us up folks! Consider this series done and done!
But before we go, here’s some advice from a couple I met that had been married for 61 years.
When I asked them what their secret was, the husband gleefully told me: “you gotta put up with a lot of shit.”
And he wasn’t wrong. After just 2 years of marriage, it’s pretty clear to me that even a committed, strong relationship goes through a lot of hell at times. The forces of relationship entropy are forever trying to pull the two of us apart.
So don’t feel bad if your relationship isn’t where you want it to be. It takes constant work, time, and attention to make it successful. Good thing is, if you’re reading this, that means you’re not afraid to do the work. You’ll succeed in due time <3
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