Given my practice is located in the Metro DC region, I am officially helping couples who live right in the heart of what some call the “rat race.” Whenever I have family and friends visit in this area, they almost always comment, “It’s crazy out here!”
What this means is that many Metro couples have to work even harder to find ways to connect. More time spent commuting and waiting and in line at the grocery store = less time as a couple. The good news is that if couples make their time intentional and really focus on having a good connection, then they can still have a wonderful relationship!
Here are some ideas I frequently recommend to help improve your connection and communication:
1. Download an App called “Love Maps” by Gottman Institute onto your iphone. It has questions that you can ask your significant other to build connections. If you are not the best at starting up a conversation, this App is a lifesaver because you have ideas to strike up a conversation with your partner at any time.
2. Praise and complement your significant other. If you tend to have a critical voice, you can set a timer on your phone each day to remind you to think of something positive you can verbalize to your mate. Or I heard of this idea last spring, put a little notebook on your mate’s nightstand with a note of appreciation or praise. Then, it’s their turn to think of something and put it back on your nightstand. The notebook goes back and forth every few days as a way to remind both of you to show appreciation and praise for each other’s contributions to the relationship.
3. Plan a date night once a week. If you have children or you are on a budget, some date nights can be at home after kids are in bed. What date night means is you put your phone and electronics away, you take turns picking something each week that you would like to do, and you focus on each other instead of household chores, Facebook, or emails.
4. Choose a time once a week when you both open your Relationship Repair Counter.™ This is my term for opening your Customer Service Counter for your significant other. It may not be the most pleasant way to connect, I get that. But I guarantee that resolving relationships complaints will help your connection. Intimacy requires both being positive, but also being honest and working at problems in your relationship! And, as I teach my couples, “The Relationship Repair Counter is right in front of the bedroom door, and if the complaint counter is not effective, chances are things may not work out so well in the bedroom either.” Many people, especially women, report that they do not have sexual desire if they have made relationship complaints that were unresolved.
If you have not taken my quiz yet to grade the effectiveness of your Relationship Repair Counter on my home page at www.drstephanieonline.com please do so! I want you to learn how to connect with your significant other, and this is the first step to learning what you will have to do to connect with your significant other even when there is a problem that needs to be repaired!