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  • Writer's pictureLisa Jones

How can I improve my relationship?

Entering couples counselling can be a tough decision. Usually one person wants to go, and the other doesn’t. Work and childcare commitments come into play as well and finding the time to go together is a tricky task.

But ask yourself, “how much am I prepared to work on my relationship to get to a happier, more peaceful place?” – if you are committed to this, you will find the time and get the help you need.

Working on a good relationship is an ongoing process.

Once you have achieved good communication and trust it can be fun to re-evaluate how you are doing. You may also use exercises to start the process of improvement and find the areas you need to focus on.

First of all, it would be useful to define how you want your relationship to be. We may not be able to achieve all of it all the time, but it provides a baseline to work towards and allows you to find out how your partner wants the relationship to be – it might be different to yours - here’s a suggestion:

  • We respect each other.

  • We give, receive and compromise in equal parts.

  • We value one another and allow each other to be ourselves without trying to change each other.

  • We support and encourage one another's goals and ambitions.

  • We trust each other and learn to recognise jealous or controlling feelings so we can work through them.

  • We communicate openly and honestly and feel safe in expressing ouselves.

  • We share responsibility in decision-making.

  • We encourage each other to have friends and activities outside of the relationship.

  • We are free to be ourselves within the relationship.

Using the table below, score your partner in each of the categories from 1 to 5 and then score how you see yourself in the relationship. Compare the scores to your partner’s and discuss your different perceptions. Then discuss how you could each improve on the areas scored less than 3.

Do not spend more than 30 minutes discussing the scores and use the tips on good communication.

COMMUNICATION - Communication is the way to reduce misunderstanding

COMPROMISE - Practice the art of negotiation

CONSISTENCY - Without trust or predictable behaviour – do you feel safe?

COMMITMENT - Do you do what you say you will do?

CARING - Think of the other person on a regular basis

CELEBRATION - Seek to enjoy life and play together

CHOICE - We can choose to invest time in someone, or to neglect and turn away from them

COMPATIBILITY - What do you have in common with your partner?

CONSIDERATION - When we respect someone, we acknowledge his/her claim for our attention.

CONDUCT - Conduct yourself in a way that shows mutual respect.

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