How to create a healthy loving relationship
The emotional quality of our Personal relationships is where deep fulfilment and happiness lies. It does not matter how much success you achieve in other areas of your life, if your romantic relationship is failing you will find it very difficult to be happy.
Three words sum up a healthy loving relationship, LOVE, TRUST and RESPECT. If any one of these are missing from your relationship the chances are it will be in distress.
Love - is the ultimate foundation without which a relationship cannot develop. True love means the shift of focus from ourselves, when you are in love the health and happiness of your partner becomes paramount.
Trust - does not just refer to sexual fidelity alone, for a relationship to fully grow and be happy and stable each individual must trust that their partner wants the best for them, is fully supportive of them, and 'has their back'. A lack of basic trust of one another on a day to day basis breeds defensiveness, defensiveness breeds hostility, and so the negative spiral begins.
Respect -The oxford English Dictionary defines the word RESPECT as 'a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements', it is of upmost importance to the health of a relationship that you hold a warm respect for one another. If for some reason you do not respect your partner, you need to assess why that is and work on resolving the problem, as a lack of respect will quickly erode the foundations of a relationship creating an atmosphere of hostility and unkindness. A lack of respect is often caused by a clash in basic values.
One of the questions I ask in my Relationship Questionnaire is for you to look at your values.
So what exactly are values? Your values are your judgements of what is important in life. They are totally individual to you, but for a relationship to work they need to be in tune with the values of your partner. Of the couples in distress that I see ALL will have a significant clash of values. It is very important for your moral values to be as similar as possible to those of your partner. The great thing about values however is that they are not set in stone, they can and should be taken out and looked at to see if they still serve your life well. Take a look at you and your partners values, and any clash found there will show you the root cause of your problems.
What can you do immediately to help a relationship in crisis? Focus on kindness. Kindness is the quality of being thoughtful, friendly and considerate. Think about what small kindnesses you can do every day. Make your partner a cup of tea in the morning, run a bath with candles, a foot massage, or something as simple as a compliment, offer of help or an encouraging smile. In life what we focus on is what develops and grows - decide today to make your relationship your focus.
Prioritise your relationship!!! This can not be stressed enough, so many of the couples that I see have made other aspects of their lives more important than their relationship. Work and Career, children, their hobbies and socialising, often take priority with the result that the relationship becomes neglected, strained, and begins to break down. Think about the successes you have had in your life, and why you have achieved this success. It will be because you focused and took action to achieve. When a relationship is new and fresh both partners prioritise the relationship and put a lot of positive energy and time into their time together. Modern life stresses demands a lot of our time, but failing to make time for our partners and failing to spend fun quality time together often leads to many couples leading more and more distant lives, resulting in a break down of communication and a loss of connection.
Effort Love and romance takes consistent daily effort. Love is like a plant it cannot just be left on a shelf unattended. So many couples put no effort at all into their relationships and wonder why they fall apart. Love is a verb, and is shown in our daily actions towards each other. It has been shown by long term research in America that couples that remain happy in the long term are the ones that repeated turn towards one another rather than away. They answer and listen when spoken to, they remain interested in their partner, they keep fun and adventure alive, they make time for one another, they create plans together, they share their hopes, dreams and thoughts together. Turning away however creates disconnection and loneliness. It can be seen in couples that have stopped listening or responding when their partner speaks, they have stopped taking an interest, they have stopped having fun, taking time, laughing. Effort is the birthplace of success in any endeavour.
Date Nights Make time for your relationship, spend quality time away from your work, home and children, this can be as simple as going for a walk, playing a sport together, going to a film or for a meal. Fun alone time is crucial to stay in tune with one another. Take it in turns to decide what you do and where you go, surprise each other, make it fun.
Kindness Kindness is such an underrated quality with so many people these days looking for happiness in the pursuit of success, money and recognition. When couples become stuck in acrimony kindness is one of the first things to be lost. Kindness has great ability to restructure and soften an entrenched situation. Kindness does not need to come with grand gestures but can be shown in small ways - a cup of tea in the morning, a genuine compliment, a warm smile, a favourite chocolate bar, a loving text, a note left on a pillow. Each taking no more than a few seconds but with such restorative powers. Kindness sends the message that you care about your partner, that you are thinking about your partner and that their happiness matters to you.
Help following infidelity Discovery infidelity /an affair is a huge emotional trauma for the partner that discovers the affair. Everything is upturned and the future becomes completely uncertain. Questions such as should I stay or should I go? Will I ever trust again? Why didn't I recognise the signs sooner? I would never have believed that this could happen to us? He/she was the last person I would expect to have an affair!! Overcoming an affair poses the greatest challenge of all relationship problems, but if love remains between the couple and they are both committed to the work requires, then many couples end up with a stronger and more honest relationship as a result. An affair does not need to signal the end of your relationship but can be the start of a relationship that is far more rewarding. Affairs signal something wrong within the relationship, affairs do not happen in happy healthy relationships. Together we look to find the source of the problem, to fully understand why this has happened. Then we work together to solve the problems and rebuild the trust.
I have had the privilege of seeing inside the relationships of hundreds couples, so fully understand that all relationships go through difficult times. Relationships need to be nurtured and cared for, and often in long term relationships this is forgotten. You must always prioritise each other, but unfortunately all too often work, children and other activities get in the way. The work done in counselling following an affair enables you both to re prioritise, and place the relationship at the very centre of your lives. Your time in counselling is hugely cathartic, it enables you both to pull together as a team and will reestablish your commitment to each other. All too often couples fail to properly address the problems that have led to an affair, and continue with a strained and distressed relationship. The relationship can remain in this state for many years, but unfortunately not properly addressing the problems that led to the first affair mean the chances of an further affair happening in the future is very high. Unfortunately I see many couples who did not address their problems properly after a first affair, and couples are then faced with the added difficulties of having to overcome further distress. Don't allow this to happen to your relationship. If an affair has taken place address the problems head on, do not push them under the carpet and hope they will go away. Relationship counselling is very successful at helping couples get to the root of their problems quickly and effectively and to reestablish the bonds of trust following an affair.