Archive for New Year

A Couple Check List for the New Year

We are already three weeks into 2018 and how many of us are still going strong with our new year resolutions to do more exercise, eat less sugar, have a dry January? How many of us have given up already and prioritised on refocusing on work? How many of us have resolved to improve our relationship this year?

Judging from the amount of enquiries that Coupleworks have received from clients wanting to make appointments to see a counsellor, its very clear that many couples are struggling to make the significant changes that they need in their relationships to ensure that 2018 brings them more contentment, excitement and connection.

Relationship patterns are hard to break, but if you start to think more and use some of these strategies there is a strong chance your relationship can really improve this year:

Here are some things to think about:

*It’s the small everyday things that can make the biggest difference: how we greet each other, show kindness, respect and appreciation. What tone of voice and words do we use with each other.

*Can you let go of past hurts and focus on sharing your goals for 2018 to help each other achieve what you want.

*If you really want to make your relationship better, you both have to focus on making time to put energy and commitment into overcoming your problems to make your relationship the best it can possibly be. It won’t happen without this.

*How well do you know yourself and what you are looking for in your relationship? What do you bring to the couple? Is it what your partner needs?
How often do we check this out?

*The importance of feeling you come first for your partner.

* Do you feel supported by each other? Couples who feel they have each other’s backs and see each other as team-mates are usually more positively emotionally connected and see a future as an exciting time for growth.

*Are you still curious about your partner or do you think you know and understand everything about them and how they work?

*Recognising we have different needs and drives in our relationships that change over time. When was the last time you checked this out?

*Focus on your partner’s strengths rather than their weakness. Start by complimenting more and criticising each other less

*Taking responsibility for what each of you are bringing to the relationship and is that what you want?

*How good are you at making compromises that will help strengthen your bond?

*Recognising that we all make mistakes and the need to rebuild our trust in each other. Can we forgive?

*The importance of keeping your sexual energy alive and growing

*Take responsibility for your own behaviour in the relationship and how it makes your partner feel.

*Instead of closing down and turning away from your partner, turn towards your partner to share how you feel.

Of course the New Year will bring challenges – that is part and parcel of being in a relationship. With a shared desire to put more effort into spending time focusing on what you both need and what needs to change, you are on your way to a more loving and fulfilling relationship for 2018.

Dawn Kaffel

New Year’s Resolutions for Couples

Recently I was talking to a primary school teacher about the New Year’s resolutions their pupils were making. Along with the more predictable ones about being more helpful at home and keeping their bedroom tidy, one of them said ‘My resolution for 2016 is to ride my bicycle without stabilisers’. Of course the teacher encouraged her to do just that, and I am sure that will be an achievement before too long.

But what, I wonder, is the equivalent in terms of our relationships? And here the exact opposite is just the case. At the start of every New Year we at Coupleworks get a stream of new clients all saying that the Christmas period has been particularly stressful or that they have resolved to really try to do something about the parts of their relationship which aren’t working.

Talking a bit further with them it all too often emerges that they have been trying to run their relationship ‘without stabilisers’ – without the very things that nurture and support all relationships. Leave them out and sadly and inevitably, love grows cold and can even die.

So these are my 5 top tips for nurturing your relationship as we enter 2016. There is nothing particularly new or innovative about them – it’s just that these are some of the things, which help people to flourish together.

1. Make time to be together – 2015 may have seen your family changing shape. Or one of you may have got a new job with increasing demands, or it may be that your present job requires more to be done with fewer resources. Whatever the case resolve to have more time to be together – put some dates in the diary to do something fun, go out for a meal or take a walk in the park.

2. Make some plans and make sure that you are sharing some common goals. Don’t assume that your partner wants the same things as you both did five years ago. Talk about your aims in life and what you are looking forward to – find out where they are different and where they overlap and you can share them together.

3. Talk about what makes you feel closer to each other. This can be different for different people. For some they feel closer when having sex, for others it is sharing an activity together or talking through emotional experiences. Respect and accommodate those differences.

4. Think about the things you value and respect about your partner and focus on these rather than the things that irritate and annoy you.

5. Remember to show your appreciation of your partner to them from time to time. It is all too easy to get dragged down into the humdrum of life and take each other for granted. We all flourish in an environment in which we experience love and affection rather than indifference or negativity.

Let 2016 be a year in which your relationship grows and flourishes.


Sarah Fletcher