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Simple Tips for Couples To Remember

Below you will find some simple, straightforward tips which I like to use when working with couples:

  • Defensiveness and anger tend to shut communication down. It’s the smart person that listens carefully before responding, and listens for what s/he can do to address the feelings, needs or requests of the other, without needing to be “right” or making the other person “wrong.”  Remember that this communication needs to be positive—not complaining, angry, sarcastic, rude or dismissing.  Try not to interrupt or cut off your partner.
  • Happy couples clearly communicate their desires and needs to each other on a regular basis, so that each knows what matters and is important to the other.  It is important that both partners feel comfortable making requests to one another, and those requests will be honored if at all possible.
  • Each partner needs to be in control of his/her negative emotions, (such as anger, jealousy, etc.). That means that I do not take out the frustration, anger or hurt I have about other things out on you, and you need not fear that you will be the main recipient of my negative energy, hostility, argumentativeness, disrespect or anger.
  • Try to spend time together, even if you are overextended. They make their intimate relationship a top priority in their lives.  They don’t spend their “prime time” too tired or preoccupied with other things.
  • There needs to be a sense of true partnership between equals. Major decisions (and many of the minor ones) are made jointly.  Both feel that the division of labor is more or less equal as it relates to parenting, chores, housework, cooking, cleaning, earning money and spending money.
  • You are not the center of the universe.  Your needs, wants, feelings and preferences are treated equally to mine.
  • Try to treat each other well, always. We all want to be treated with kindness, benevolence and respect, and we all want to feel like we are valued.
  • Practice being tactful and diplomatic. Saying things carefully so you’re not unnecessarily hurtful or harsh.
  • Good communication is about two people sharing information, which is more than just bombarding someone with your thoughts and feelings. It is about knowing the difference between “talking at” and “talking with” someone, and being interested and inquisitive about the other person’s needs, desires, and feelings.

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