I am often asked by my clients, “How can I make my relationship better?” There are some simple but meaningful steps you can take to improve the quality of your relationship to deepen your connection with each other.
- Put the relationship first. It is of primary importance that you make the relationship the most important priority of your life. 50% of all marriages end in divorce, and for ADHD couples, that rate is even higher. To avoid becoming a statistic, make sure you nurture both the physical and emotional aspects of the partnership. Let your love know that they are #1 with you.
- When communicating, use the language of responsibility. That means using “I” language instead of “you” language which can sound blaming, and can put your partner on the defensive. Say something like “I would appreciate it if you would do the dishes tonight,” which sounds much better than “You need to get off the couch and do the dishes for a change.” It is pretty clear which request will most likely get you a better response.
- Happy couples talk more. People in successful marriages spend 5 more hours a week being together and talking than other couples. And it really helps to have meaningful conversations about the things that are important to the two of you rather than just logistical stuff like “Can you pick Johnny up from soccer practice this afternoon?” You might want to find out what they value most at this time in their lives…besides you, of course.
- Make plans to spend some ‘quality time’ sharing activities with one another. Couples who have new experiences together report feeling more love and more supportive towards one another, and more satisfied with their marriages. So go ahead and get a babysitter and do something fun and unusual this weekend, like taking that hot air balloon ride you’ve always wanted to!
- Do your best to Think Positive. Couples who can put a positive spin on their marriage, despite the inevitable challenges, have a 94% chance of experiencing a happy future together.
- When communicating about something challenging use a “soft start–up”. According to John Gottman, a marriage expert who has done 100’s of hours of research with what works and what doesn’t work between partners, a soft start-up is essential when wanting to have that all important conversation. That means always starting with something positive before introducing any kind of negative feedback.
- Always remember that humor is important. Shared laughter brings more satisfaction to a marriage and reminds you to not take life too seriously.