At Map Psychology Solutions, our therapists have worked with hundrerds of couples and know what it takes to make love last and relationships thrive. 

Whether you are starting a new relationship or in a longterm one, the below list of tips can help you build a connected, healthy, and happy partnership.

Connection Tips
  • Majority of the time your partner needs emotional support, not problem-solving support. Emotional support is empathy, validation, and understanding. Problem solving support often comes across to your partner as “I know better than you, simply do X.”
  • Make big decisions together.
  • Make what is important to your partner, extra important to you (e.g., even though the rink is cold, go watch his hockey game; even though you don’t like romantic comedies, go with her to the movie; even if you don’t like country music, buy her surprise tickets and take her on a date).
  • Have an embrace and ritual each time you say hello and goodbye (e.g., hug, kiss, handshake).
  • Create a resilient relationship story, one where you believe you are better together.
  • Prioritize quality time together and don’t let life get in the way of your time together. For example, at least every 2 weeks plan a date, every 2 months plan a weekend away together, and every 2 years plan a week away together.
  • At any given point, couples can turn towards each other, turn away from each other, or turn against each other. As much as you can, try to turn towards your partner through respectful and compassionate communication and physical contact.
  • Emotions are foundational to connection. Ensure to share your inner emotional world with each other (e.g., your dreams, your hopes, your joys, your sorrows, your struggles).
  • Share how you feel and ask for what you need in a specific way. Emotions tell you what you need, pay attention to your emotions and use them as a guide.
  • Notice what your partner does do more than what they don’t do.
  • Have a non-logistical conversation everyday (e.g., share something funny that happened, a dream you had, something you are grateful for, something new you learned etc.).
  • Continue to “date each other,” which means putting in intentional effort as you did at the start of a relationship.
  • Prioritize each other every single day, in both big and small ways.
  • Share daily genuine appreciation and admiration.
  • Validate and empathize with each other’s experiences, emotions, and thoughts. Even if you don’t have the same perspective as your partner, try to understand how their feelings and thoughts make sense to them.
  • Go to bed at the same time at least a few times per week. Get off your phones and instead talk, laugh, cuddle, and massage each other.
  • Save energy for each other and come home excited to see each other (e.g., greet each other like the dog does). 
  • As much as possible use language like “we,” “us,” and “ours” instead of “I,” “me,” and “mine.”
Conflict Management Tips
  • How couples repair predicts marital success. Repair arguments quickly so that you can get back to enjoying each other. The two best tools to repair an argument are gentle language (not critical) and accountability for your part of the argument.
  • 70% of couple issues are perpetual due to differences in personality, opinions, and values. Work with each other instead of against each other and find compromise on perpetual issues.
  • Instead of getting caught in the content of an argument (e.g., “it was 5 minutes.” “no, it was 6 minutes”), gain a higher perspective of the argument through relating it to the emotions, needs, and triggers coming up for both you and your partner. Most arguments are about emotions, needs, and triggers, not content.
  • When your partner is talking, try not to react or think about your rebuttal (this takes emotional regulation). Simply listen with curiosity and intent to learn something new about your partner.
  • Do not try to “win” an argument or “be right.” If “winning” is the focus, then you both lose. Instead, make the focus understanding, compromise, and resolution.
Boundary Setting Tips
  • Act as if your partner is always standing next to you.
  • Be strong individuals who both work to protect your ‘couple bubble,’ which exists around your relationship to keep it solid. Uphold boundaries for your relationship and do things that nurture your couple bubble (e.g., talk well of your partner when they aren’t there and compliment your partner in front of others).
Intimacy Tips
  • Couples who talk about intimacy (e.g., desires, likes, dislikes, fetishes, etc.) have better sex. Talk about sex with your partner from a place of curiosity, non-judgement, and openness.
  • Desire in relationships can decrease because novelty/newness decreases … surprise each other. Emotions such as, joy, excitement, and desire can be sparked for your partner when you divert from your regular way of interacting. Depending on what your partner likes, do something romantic or racy.

Written by: Hadley Mitchell, R. Psych
Map Psychology Solutions
[email protected]
(587) 330-2999

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