1. Create Rituals of Connection
What are rituals of connection? Dr. John Gottman discusses the importance of creating ways to connect to each other. Creating rituals is important because it creates a commitment to each other; our rituals form a spoken and unspoken agreement to come together and honor the relationship, creating an intimate connection with each other.
When we create rituals, we turn towards each other and connect to the partnership/marriage.
When creating rituals, ask yourself, what ways to do we celebrate our relationship? How can we, for five or ten minutes a day, check in with each other in a way that is unique and special just to us?
Once a week, create the ritual of turning off all electronics and having a candle light dinner, or play a board game, or go for a walk. Remember that Dr. Gottman says it is the small things that we do every day for each other that makes a relationship. Finding ways to connect to each other every day speaks with words and actions that you are honoring and nurturing the relationship. 2. Find ways to speak love to each other.
2. Find ways to speak love to each other.
What are the ways we speak love to each other? Expressing love in the relationship is more than just saying I love you. What are the things you do to communicate love to each other and what are the ways you receive it?
Letting each other know what makes you feel most loved and appreciated is important because then we can communicate that love to each other.
If you know your partner/spouse receives love through acts of service and you receive love through physical touch, then you are telling each other positive ways to connect and speak each other languages of love. Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a book called the 5 Love Languages in which he describes ways to communicate your partner/spouse love language to stay connected to each other. He describes that inside ourselves we all have a love tank that is filled when our partner speaks our love language. It is important to choose to love our spouse/partner every day and speak their love language.
3. Agree to give each other the benefit of the doubt:
Itís important to give each other the benefit of the doubt in the day to day and when conflict is starting to present itself. When we start assuming the negative or just assuming that our partner/spouse did something on purpose then we create a distance within the relationship. Instead of making assumptions, ask questions and describe your own thoughts and feelings. Donít create a story in your head about the other personís thought/actions; instead try and see things for what is right in front of you. If you have questions/concerns, ask them!
4. Never stop dating each other.
This one is so important because in a long-term relationship when life is getting busy with everything else, we stop dating each other. Remember even in the craziness of life itís important to take time to date each other. Go try something new, create aliveness with each other, do something that you know is fun and exciting or that makes you both laugh together. When we try new things, even if itís a new restaurant, then we create a new spark in the relationship. In some ways, trying new things together helps us explore parts of the relationship and ourselves that cultivates desire in the relationship as well. Try to do something new at least once a month. Laughing together in a relationship is important because itís a way to play and come together and to relax and unwind. On one of your date nights, sit down and talk about your hopes and dreams. I just wrote another blog about the importance of discussing your hope and dreams together. https://monicaburtonlmft.com/blog/hopes-and-dreams
5. Agree to work through conflict and take breaks when needed.
Itís important in the relationship that learn ways to manage your conflict. When we create a plan of how to communicate through conflict we are making a commitment with each other to work through the big and small conflicts. I tell couples all the time that itís ok to take breaks when conflict is getting too heated. If we stay in the conflict when we are getting too upset we impulsively say things that are hurtful and harmful to the relationship. Taking a break is saying we both need time to cool down, collect our thoughts and come back to the table to discuss. Remember that when you take breaks, you have to come back and discuss once you both have cooled down. Itís important to understand that not all conflict has to be resolved in the moment or that not all conflict will be resolved. Dr Gottman has done years and years of researching explaining that there are perpetual and solvable problems in relationships. Perpetual problems are ones that will come up throughout the history of your relationship. It doesnít mean that you will have really bad fights around your perpetual problems, it just means that they are hot button issues that you as the couple need to create understanding around and ways to talk through them instead of letting them create distance between you two. Finding compromise is part of working through conflict, understanding that compromise isnít one person is completely happy and the other person is not. ITís both of you giving a little and getting a little when you find compromise. Remember finding compromise isnít one of you winning, itís the relationship that wins.
6. Create a healthy sexual relationship with each other.
Creating and honoring your sex life in your relationship is important. Making sex a ritual and a priority is a way you are honoring the sexual connection in your relationship. Sex doesnít make or break a relationship but it is an intimate ritual that only the couple shares with each other. When couples stop their sexual connection it does create distance and hurt feelings in the relationship. Creating a healthy sexual relationship is one where you both talk about your likes, dislikes, fantasies, what turns you on. Itís important also to talk about any injuries or wounds that have occurred in your past and how you have healed or what you need your partner/spouse to understand when it comes to past trauma. Creating a healthy sex life is a way that you are making commitments and rituals to each other around the physical intimacy in your relationship. Itís an honoring of your sexuality and your sexual self ó which is an important aspect of the relationship to be nurtured and valued.
These are the 6 tips that are ways you nurture your relationship, get the relationship that you want and make the relationship long standing. I hope you enjoy and participate in these healthy tips.