Tips from a marriage counsellor on how to improve your relationship.
You are probably going to have a lot of expectations going into reading an article on improving your relationship. Chances are that you have already read a lot of Ai generated blogs with tips on communication and how to listen better or even how to get your partner to do what you want (hey no judgment here).
The thing is, yes communication is important, but it is not the most important thing. Something that you probably are not expecting me to say is that the majority of couples that I see in the clinic just care too much about not hurting the other persons feelings.
You read that correctly - to improve your relationship you need to stop caring so much about upsetting your partner! Bare with me, I know it sounds crazy. Couples come into my office most of the time full of trepidation and completely walking on eggshells not wanting to upset or trigger their partner in any way. They are living in these carefully constructed cones of silence afraid to piss the other person off and nothing is spoken about. There is so much shit swept underneath the carpet that it has piled so high that it has inevitably hit the fan.
Couples need to start being more honest with each other, regardless of how it makes the other person feel. It starts with basic honesty and respecting the other person - obviously don’t be a dick about it, but it’s vitally important to be more real with your partner and letting them into what you are thinking and feeling. Majority of the time they will be feeling exactly the same way and relieved to be talking about it. Bring the elephant into the room and give the thing a bath while it’s there. You both are feeling it, you might as well stop ignoring it and do something about it.
You (or me for that matter) can’t do a thing if there is not a willingness to at least be honest in the relationship. A side of humble pie and admitting your part in the mess doesn’t hurt either. I have a rule that if I am afraid to say something than I need to say it - even if it is going to cause conflict. Conflict can be worked through and often can lead to greater understanding and intimacy on the other side (yes and great sex). What cannot be worked though is a lack of honesty and humbleness to admit that you too contributed to this mess and have a hand in cleaning it up.
If you want a better relationship first get really honest with yourself and then open the door, knock down the fortress of solitude and let your partner in. Vulnerability can be scary at times, but I promise it is worth it - love never hurt you, it’s the absence of love that hurts.