How to get more of what you’d like in your relationship

In relationship therapy, there are certain issues that come up time after time.
Almost all couples, once they come to a place of reaching out to find counselling, are asking at least two of the following questions:

• How can I get my partner to listen to me?
• What can help us have a more satisfying sexual relationship?
• I want to feel part of a team with my partner. How can we make this happen?
• How can we bring more romance back into the relationship?
• What will get my partner to help more around the house?
• I want more emotional support from my partner. How can I get this?

The space between you
Any relationship is made up of two individuals plus the relational space between them. In fact, your relationship is the space between you, the place where you meet, and it cannot survive on its own, it needs care, time and commitment. You, and your relationship, deserve more of your care, your time and your love.
Sometimes all that’s needed is a new lease of life, a burst of energy and enthusiasm along with a commitment to doing things differently. All too often we get caught up in patterns of communication that don’t work. We end up doing, saying or asking for things in the same way over and over again, expecting different results, getting increasingly exasperated and wondering why nothing changes.

How do I communicate better with my partner?
These patterns can be tricky to identify. Relationship counselling can help with this. The space and time that therapy provides allows patterns to surface, while having a trained relationship counsellor present can help you identify them and find a different way of approaching things. For example, simply asking for a need to be met in a way that can be easily heard by your partner immediately leads to a new level of intimacy. Feeling heard makes a huge difference to intimacy, which in turn feeds connection – it feeds that space between you, your relationship.

Two things that are simple, but so often forgotten when you are having difficulties in relationship, are consideration and kindness. Here’s a typical example of the way you might end up asking your partner to do something:

“Do I have to ask again? For god’s sake, can you just put the rubbish out?”

Imagine being on the receiving end of that, and how you would feel – even if you’d forgotten to do it. Now imagine hearing this instead:

“I’d really appreciate it if you could put the rubbish out as it’s bin day tomorrow. Thank you.”

Which would you prefer? It’s exactly the same request, one has consideration and kindness, the other doesn’t. Who doesn’t like to be spoken to kindly? I know I’m far more likely to really hear my partner and want to help out when I’m spoken to warmly.

This is just one everyday example, there are many different patterns and many elements that feed these patterns we get stuck in.