Living with a partner is disputably one of the hardest things to do on this planet. It requires enormous amounts of patience, compassion, and dedication. Just like you have a rich and colourful life prior to meeting your partner, it is important to remember that they have their own story. The meeting and intertwining of two lives can be a constant struggle to deal with preferences, reactions, and triggers. Reminding yourself of why you chose to be together is intrinsic, especially during the difficult times. Here are some quick tips to consider prior to attending couples counselling.
- Let Go of Old Fights
A negative event in a relationship will typically have at least three times the impact of a similarly positive event. Therefore, by rehashing old fights, you may be destroying recent positivity developed in the relationship. Negativity creates stronger responses in our brain in comparison to positivity. Bad is stronger than good. To create more good and leaving the bad in the past to allow you to move forward.
- Lean into Positivity
Focus on developing positive feelings with your partner by having fun together. Especially during this quarantine time, why not use the extra time to relax and partake in activities you both enjoy? Another proven method of bringing forth positive emotion is nostalgia. Pick out those dusty photo albums from the attic! A study from The University of Southampton showed the power of nostalgia. It can aid us be more content in the present, and positive about the future.
- Under Promise and Over Deliver
Studies have shown that people receive little credit for over delivering but suffer considerate consequences for doing less. This means that it is better to promise your partner less, rather than promise something grandiose and then fall short. Surprising your partner with small demonstrations of your affections will provide the constant bits of positivity to keep your love strong.
- Take a Step Back to Reevaluate
Especially when stuck in a small space all day, it is easy to let little things accumulate into frustrations and arguments. One of the best ways to keep the peace is by keeping your own negative reactions to conflict. If your partner does something to upset you, it’s easy to see a small trivial offense as a depiction of something larger. That is why it is important that you take a moment to step back and revaluate. Try not to go with your gut reaction. When we do something wrong ourselves, the first instinct is to blame it on external circumstances. When our partner does, we are more inclined to blame their internal flaws. Learn more about this in Fundamental Attribution Error.
- Focus on Communication
If issues do arise that do not go away after a good sleep, bout of exercise or self-reflection. Then the way forward is to calmly communicate your feelings without assigning blame. This is an incredibly difficult task to achieve, and one of the fundamental things couples counselling focuses on. Even with a couple of relationship counselling sessions, you will be able to learn tools to boost your communication and strengthen your relationship.