Dr. Suzanne B. Phillips

Licensed Psychologist, Psychoanalyst, Diplomate in Group Psychology, Certified Group Therapist, Author, Radio Host and Media Consultant Covering a Wide Range of Psychological Topics

Post: Six Simple Resolutions for Enhancing Your Relationship

happy coupleNo one just shows up for a good relationship and relationships don’t just get better because time passes. It is what we do during that time that helps heal and enhance our relationships. Over the last few years I have written many blogs for couples. Here are six simple resolutions drawn from them that many have found enhance the bond they share with their partner.

Let It Go

If you are human and you are in a relationship, it is inevitable that at times you will be angry with your partner. Once you and your partner have come to some resolve or have agreed to a working resolution, let the contention and disagreement go.

You may think it is important to explain to your partner one more reason you were angry or to analyze his/her character flaw. It’s not. Your partner will not be grateful for this information. Let it Go!

Once you and your partner move on to a positive mood or enjoyable place, go with it, feel it- let it take. Positive memories and experiences build recovery momentum. They facilitate problem resolution because they broaden perspective, re-kindle appreciation of each other and build trust.

Look at Each Other More

Making an effort to actually look more at your partner has real potency in relationship enhancement. There is increasing evidence that eye contact is associated with the power to influence, connect, support, invite trust, and enhance intimacy with another person.  Do you remember the first time you looked at each other and how it felt?

  • Neuropsychology informs us that we are wired to make eye- to eye contact, that mutual gazing between partners, starting with the mother-infant pair, registers connection at a level beneath consciousness. It is an unspoken expression of attachment.
  • In this non-stop multi-tasking, high tech culture, many of us hardly realize that we have stopped looking up from the computer as we are talking or as we run out for the next car pool.
  • Planning to look at each other and hold the gaze offers a private relatedness – It can affirm the bond, soften the tension and re-ignite the interest.

Lighten the Load Together

The reality in this culture is that most working couples, particularly with children, are clocking in many hours at home and at work, and trying to strike a balance between the two. The strain they feel is often played out in their clash about chores. According to a 2007 Pew Research Center Survey of American adults, 62% ranked “sharing household chores” as third in importance in a successful marriage across age groups.

  • There is a lot of love packed into knowing that your partner is doing his/her share with household chores. It reduces feelings of overload, resentment and depression.
  • When partners are teaming with chores, the sense of “we” is further enhanced by expressed appreciation for what has been done and acceptance of what just wasn’t possible that day!

Is there anything more loving than a made bed, a cleaned sink or a child tucked in?

Laugh With Each Other

Laughter has been associated with reduction of stress, anxiety, improvement of mood, self-esteem and coping skills. It is also considered the closest distance between two people.

When couples “ get each other” or “ laugh at similar things” they share more than perspective. Laughter is transformative. Making a partner laugh or laughing at something together, or even laughing at yourselves implies the wish and capacity to let go, to share something, to be intimate.

  • As Jay Leno says,“You can’t stay mad at somebody who makes you laugh.”
  • As one woman re-connecting with her spouse of many years said, “ I knew we were ok when we started to laugh together again.”

Love Yourself

Loving yourself in a healthy way is a gift to a partner- a relationship enhancer. You may have scars from the past that have dampened your self-esteem.  You can’t change your past but you can take charge of your present. Your partner and your relationship offer a new opportunity for positive affirmation.

  • No matter what your height, hair or weight, just be your personal best. Partners don’t want perfection they want someone who hasn’t given up on themselves or on them.
  • Choose an achievable personal goal that you can really enjoy be it a cooking class, bowling league, or listening to audio books. Let your partner know how you enjoy it. Sharing pride or excitement is expansive and attractive.
  • Consider looking at one positive quality of yours and one positive quality of your partner’s each day no matter what else happens. It’s like a daily relationship vitamin. It fortifies the positive sense of self and positive view of your partner.

Let your Love and Desire be Known

One way to feel more love and sexual desire as a couple is to express it. This does not equate to just asking for or complaining about sex. Most partners want to feel loved and desired by the other in the course of the day to day life they share. – They want to be “more than just friends” they want to be the special one to their partner.

On an on-going basis, a word, a compliment, a smile, consistent small signs of authentic affection build mutual desire, the feeling of being loved and the wish to be sexual.  Loving in a more expressive way is not a demand or guarantee of sex – it is the fabric of intimacy that leads to mutual desire.

No one just shows up for a good relationship.

No relationship is perfect.

But…every day you act to enhance your relationship in a simple way, you become part of the relationship you want.

Happy couple photo available from Shutterstock.