Six ways to improve your relationship in 2016
Today marks the second day of the new year. This is the time to make plans for the days ahead. As far as your relationship is concerned, paying attention to these six areas will make for a better relationship with your partner this year.
Identify your blind spots: According to the author of Renew Your Wows, you should identify particular things that you and your partner have been arguing about over and over. He further notes that this could also be a complaint that your
partner makes about your callous or uncompassionate reaction or tone with certain issues. “Ask yourself, ‘What makes me most uncomfortable in my interactions with my partner?’ or “When was the last time I rolled my eyes at something my partner said or did?”
Intimacy: If intimacy has been slipping away from your relationship, aim to get ia handle on it in 2016. According to a psychologist based in Nairobi, the longer you and your partner allow intimacy to slip, the more likely you will be to fall out
–or aggravate your fallout – and the harder it will be to get intimate again. “Begin by discussing your bedtime routine. For instance, your lack of intimacy may be because you go to bed at different times or watch TV in the bedroom, or check out your Facebook
in bed,” he says, adding that couples who commit to sleeping without clothes on and to cuddling a lot when they sleep, have far less intimacy problems that those who don’t.
Strike a balance in your use of tech: Technology can either make or break your relationship. To strike a balance, explore when you should utilise it and when you should put it aside. According to Dr Silvina Irwin, a clinical psychologist and founder of
Emotionally Focused Therapy Centre, you can both set tech-free evenings from say 8pm to 10pm. “You may also opt to connect over a cup of coffee when you’d otherwise be checking emails. This will allow you to give each other more attention while
cultivating conversations,” she says. “It’ll also tell your partner that he is important to you and is worthy of your undivided attention.” On the other hand, you may opt to make use of technology to create your mutual favourite memories, create bucket lists,
connect or communicate more regularly.
Work on your emotions: “Learn to understand your emotions and how to change them. Try to spot how your mood depends on what you’re doing, and how your beliefs turn that experience into something positive or negative,” says Dr Hart. Apart from
taking control of your personal life, this will enable you to identify, assess, manage, and/or understand the emotions exhibited by your partner. “Learn to practise emotional honesty,” adds family therapist, Susan Gacheru. While at it, focus on what you feel rather than what your partner made you feel to avoid playing the blame game.
Be a better listener: Improving on your listening skills will in turn improve your communication skills. According to a professor of psychiatry and author of The Ripple Effect: How Better Sex Can Lead To a Better Life, you should make a point
of waiting to hear your partner, then reflecting back to them what you’ve heard with the aim of knowing whether what you heard is what they really meant. Resist the urge to nod automatically to appear attentive or the urge to wait for your turn to put in a
word. Instead, make eye contact and be attentive. “When a partner feels listened to and understood, he will likely reciprocate, and this will bring you a lot closer,” he says.
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