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BEST RELATIONSHIP ADVICE FOR COUPLES

  1. Communication is the most important piece of advice I can give couples wishing to sustain a healthy relationship. The art to communication is about:
  • Being present – put down the phones. Turn off the TV. Stop whatever you are doing and look into your partner’s eyes and give all your attention to what is being said. If you are busy with another task, tell your partner that as soon as you are finished with your task you will be available.
  • Being empathic – The ability to step into another’s shoes is a truly remarkable trait. It can be learned if it doesn’t already exist. When listening to your partner, take time to imagine a time when you felt the same/similar way. By doing so you get to walk your partner’s journey with them, step by step.
  • Hearing as listening – There is a difference between hearing and listening. For example, I can listen to my partner’s complaints about the children. Or I can hearthe frustration/lack of support/hurt they feel behind the complaints. It takes practice to hear the emotions behind all the talking.

 

  1. The second piece of advice is, keep connection alive. What I mean by connection is intimacy. Intimacy is sometimes misconstrued as sex, however, there are 5 types of intimacy that I believe couples should be aware of. Sexual intimacy includes everything from holding hands, cuddling, kissing, massage, toy play, porn, kinks, foreplay, and intercourse. Emotional intimacy is the ability to share your innermost feelings, to be a supportive partner, to be able to express tender, loving and affirming words. To be able to be vulnerable with each other. Intellectual intimacy is the ability to share your thoughts and ideas, for example, discussing the news, political events, work issues, brainstorming – a meeting of the minds. Spiritual intimacy does not necessarily only refer to religious observance but can include consciousness in our relationship. Conscious of our behavior towards each other and to others around us. Conscious of a beautiful sunset or of nature around us. Lastly, physical intimacy is about quality time. What activities do we do together as a couple? Such as going to the gym together, hiking, walking, cooking.

3. The third piece of advice I give to couples is DATE NIGHT. This is where the magic happens. On date night, the elements discussed in points 1 & 2 come alive. Date night gives the couple the opportunity to communicate with each other without any distractions. I encourage home to be the venue for date night as it is more conducive to privacy, controlling noise levels, less distractions, and the couple can be more vulnerable with each other in their own space.

 

All 5 types of intimacy can be explored to a greater or lesser degree during date night. The couple who doesn’t spend enough quality time together can cook together, set the table, choose the wine and music together, and spend the whole evening looking into each other’s eyes. The couple who wants more sexual intimacy can finally have time to have sex or spend time giving each other a massage after dinner. Date night gives the couple the chance to touch base with each other and connect emotionally. The couple may need time to bounce ideas off each other regarding work or discuss topical issues. There may be space for the couple to explore sexual spiritual practice or spirituality as a whole.