Relationship tips: 4 must-do practices for couples to cultivate lasting love and happiness

Whether you’ve been dating for a while, are in a long-term committed relationship, or are married, you might be looking for strategies to strengthen your relationship. “From the moment two people choose to enter into a relationship, each partnership has an equal chance of either engaging in work that builds a secure bond that endures over time or not engaging in secure habits which lead to dissatisfaction and dissolution. The odds of either outcome depend on what both partners do individually to make things work. But what do couples need to do to create a secure bond that endures the test of time? That’s the question every couple wants to know,” says Jordan Dann, Somatic Couples Therapist and Licensed Psychoanalyst, in her recent Instagram post. (Also read: Feeling numb after a breakup? 8 reasons why it may happen)

Maintaining a strong and healthy relationship takes effort and commitment from both partners. (Pixabay)

4 practices every couple must do to make relationship work

While there are many aspects of relationship wisdom and relationship skills, here are the top four issues shared by Jordan that are part of what drives couples into therapy.

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1. Don’t expect your partner to fulfil every relationship need

When we expect our partner to be a retroactive parent, our best friend, co-parent, domestic partner, and lover, we create a house of expectation that is designed to crumble. Be intentional about diversifying your relationship portfolio. Nurture close relationships with friends. Work with a therapist, mentor, or coach who cares about your life and wants to see you thrive. The more dynamic and creative you are about creating fulfilling relationships, the more full your cup will be when you are with your partner.

2. Align your intention, words and action

The words we utter are promises, and promises are only as good as the behaviour that reinforces those words. Alignment of words and action is the way we create predictability and reliability, both ☑ of which are central to creating a secure bond. Avoidance can sometimes lead to people making promises in order to end the conversation or avoid a fight. However, if you commit to something you don’t do, this will only create more conflict and distrust. Saying something isn’t enough, you need to display it with your actions as well.

3. Become emotionally literate and express yourself directly

Depending on how you were raised, your emotional awareness, intelligence, and expression will vary. Emotionally mature adults understand and accept that emotional literacy is key to healthy relationships. Know what you feel and be honest and communicative about how you’re feeling in the relationship. Share the good and bad. No emotion is too frivolous, no thought unimportant or inconsequential. Maintaining a strong practice of communication is how people feel seen, heard, and understood in their relationships.

4. Prioritise your bond

If you want a secure relationship, you need to learn to prioritise the connection. Prioritising your relationship means attending to your partner’s needs and, paying attention to how they feel safe and cared for, and making choices that put your partner first. This means that your partner is the first priority when it comes to your extended family, your work, your hobbies and while you may sometimes have to make choices that don’t put your partner first, you are aware of the impact that might have and you are receptive to communicating with your partner about negotiating these choices.

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