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1. Communicating with Kindness and Respect

Communication is key in building love and respect in a relationship. Its not just about the context of
what you are saying but how you are saying it. Your body language, tone and mannerism are all
relevant. Listening and showing empathy is a great way of understanding your partner’s frame of
reference and bringing you closer to their unique and diverse needs. What matters to you may not
matter to your partner. Becoming defensive, showing content or stonewalling each other can create
distance and emotional disharmony.

2. Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy can deepen the bond between you and your partner. Having time out during the
week such as date nights can help rejuvenate the romance, spark and intensity that you once
experienced at the early stages of your relationship. It gives you time away form the hustle bustle of
life. When we think about physical intimacy, it’s not just about having sex but holding hands or
giving your partner a hug helps keep you both connected.

3. Emotional Intimacy

This means showing compassion and empathy for each other and showing support during difficult
times. For example, if your partner is struggling at work and feeling stressed, giving them a hug, or
just listening to them vent can make them feel heard and valued. This is a way of enhancing
emotional intimacy and support for each other.

4. Taking Time To Know & Learn About Your Partner

According to American Psychologist, John Gottman, this is one of the 7 principles of a successful
marriage or partnership. Knowing your partners’ beliefs, values and friends brings you closer to their
world and enables you to understand them better.

5. Respecting & Understanding Each Other’s Uniqueness

Difference in a relationship can be hard to navigate and learning to compromise and accept each
other’s uniqueness can improve understanding and reduce conflict. For example, one of you can be
very outgoing, and the other may prefer to spend time at home as way of relaxing and unwinding.
There needs to be a middle ground where both partner’s needs are met so that they can feel
emotionally fulfilled and satisfied in their relationship.

6. Showing Gratitude

Quite often we can gravitate to the negative personality traits that our partner displays but
appreciating each other’s positive attributes makes couples feels valued and can improve self
esteem and confidence. So, letting your partner know that you were grateful for them cooking the
other day can create more respect and love for each other.

7. Manage Conflict In A Harmonised Way

Quite often during a moment of conflict, our defence mechanisms kick in full force. Next time you
have a disagreement with your partner. Ask yourself are you listening to defend yourself or listening
to build empathy and understanding of your partner’s needs. Taking time out and having reflective
space is a great way of trying to seek rationality and clarity. It’s about creating mature defence
mechanisms to cope with uncertainty and challenging situations so that you resolve conflict in a
calm manner.

8. Being Honest And Real With Your Expectations

Being honest involves letting your partner know how you feel and what you need from them. Its
about choosing your battles and keeping your expectations real. Expecting perfection and having
unrealistic hopes can create a gridlock in the relationship. For example, desiring to have a lucrative
lifestyle is an unrealistic expectation if you both don’t have a sufficient income. Try and be in sync
with each other’s needs and work together to achieve attainable goals and hopes.

Sometimes couples may just find that they are no longer emotionally connected with each other and
may stay in the relationship due the fear of being alone. Disregarding your true feelings about how
you feel in a relationship can cause unhappiness and resentment. It can be hard to accept that
relationship is over or that the love has simply faded.

Couples Therapy

Couples therapy is not a quick fix, it’s a safe space for couples to talk openly and feel heard and
valued. It gives couple an opportunity to gain clarity as to what it is they want from each other. I can
help empower couples to learn and adapt to new behaviour techniques to enhance communication,
empathy, and emotional/physical intimacy for each other. The commitment and dedication need to
come from the couple for the work to really happen. If you are struggling in your relationship and
have reached a point of uncertainty or have a motivation to improve your relationship, then do
reach out for support. Both individual and couple therapy can be valuable for couples and is
dependent on the couple’s goals and expectations.