A strong relationship forms the basis of our support network. Having someone close to us who loves us unconditionally, understands us, is there for us helps us to feel strong and invincible. But is what we really want at 18 the same as what we want at 28 or indeed even 38?
The truth is, our relationships need reviewing, modifying and renegotiating from time to time. We change. Our personal priorities and agendas change as we get older, focus on developing our career, have children. Over the years we come into contact with different people, are introduced to new ideas, become influenced by situations and experiences. Keeping the relationship we really want requires effort and commitment.
Let’s look at some ways to keep the relationship you really want:
– Communication is the key requirement. Express how you feel, discuss what’s happening in your life, the various stresses that you’re experiencing, the ways in which things affect you. Taking responsibility for your own happiness is an important part of building a solid, committed relationship. Trust, information and understanding need to be constantly invested in order to develop a strong, enduring, evolving relationship.
– Retain your identity. Remember who you were when you both met. Yes, priorities change but keeping your individuality, your inner core is important. Maintain your unique sense of self by keeping some of your hobbies, friends and interests.
– Share time together. Spend time nurturing your relationship. Often years pass as people become immersed in their career, raise children, strive to pay their bills. Then the children leave home or retirement looms and there may be the sudden realisation that you’re living with a stranger. Allocate time each day to talk and listen to each other. Even if you only manage an occasional night out together or weekend away be clear about maintaining a strong partnership. Support each other’s decisions, present a united front and make an effort to continue loving and enjoying each other’s company.
– Ask for what you want. After all, you wouldn’t go into a restaurant and expect them to know what you wanted to eat. Even if it was a restaurant you regularly frequented there might be times when you would like a change or to introduce some variety. Similarly in your special relationship you may have drifted into a comfortable routine or your partner may feel that they know you well enough to assume what’s happening with you. Keep your relationship fresh and vibrant by ensuring that you communicate, discuss and share on a regular basis.
– Be aware of your partner’s needs. Men and women often have different needs, different criteria that are important to them. Men often regard sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, domestic support, an attractive partner and admiration as their key wants and needs. Women are more likely to value affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support and family commitment as being the most important of their needs.
There may well be some correlation between each other’s needs but being aware that something we value may not be as important to our partner is the key to maintaining a good relationship. Acknowledge your own feelings and be responsible for communicating your needs openly. Then listen with sensitivity and help the relationship grow together. These simple strategies can help you ensure that you are able to keep the relationship you really want.
She started the practice in 1988 with her husband Frederick, and after being widowed at the age of 39, took over the practice full time.
Prior to working as a Counsellor, Susan worked for many years with a blue chip company and has experienced the stresses of balancing a corporate and personal life. Now she balances writing regularly for many organisations, is a regular contributor to BBC radio and has a thriving Counselling and Hypnotherapy practice. She works with individuals, helping them cope better with the pressures of daily life, works with couples to provide relationship counselling and improve communications, and in business to provide support to staff members and teams. She has had a lot of success working with clients with unexplained infertility in women and also with managing pain in childbirth. Many of her clients have successfully gone on to become pregnant and have a positive experience of giving birth. For more information see www.lifestyletherapy.net