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Are you prioritising your relationship?



Steps to Prioritising each other.



1.Notice


It can be really useful to step back and assess how much you are putting into your relationship versus the effort that you might put into your other relationships such as friendships, extended family and children. Often in long term relationships partners may end up with whatever energy is left rather than being prioritised. This is understandable but not ideal. Questions that are useful to ask yourself:

  • Would I talk to my friend in all the same tones I talk to my partner in?

  • If I did how might they respond?

  • Do I put the same amount of effort into planning activities/time together as I do with my friends/children?

  • If you have sent a recent text to a friend or family member to check how they are doing or what they have been up to? Is this something you do as regularly with your partner when they are at work or away?

  • When my partner is talking to me do I make eye contact, stop what I am doing and really listen?

  • If I give my children a hug goodbye before school and at bedtime, do I also do this to my partner when they go to work or just before bed?


Relationships take work and the more we put in the more we can get back out but it does take both of you to prioritise each other. A common reaction I hear is ‘I/we just don’t have the time for …..’ but would that be something you felt comfortable saying to your child, friend or family if they were asking to spend time with you, be listened to or prioritised in some way?


These questions may shine a light on just some of the things that you might have stopped prioritising in your relationship.


Now think about what you want more of from your partner and ask your partner to do the same (separately).


Ideas

A kiss goodbye and hello

A scheduled time each week to listen and just catch up with each other

Going for a walk just the two of you

A spontaneous gift

Being cooked for

Being told how your partner feels about you or what they appreciate.

A night when your partner takes care of bedtime with the kids while you take a bath/run/read

A text each day to show their thinking of you


2.Communicate



Discuss with your partner some of the things that you want to do more of together or that you need from your partner. Tell them how it would make you feel.


It might be tempting in this discussion to talk about all the things that aren't happening in your relationship however this is the most likely way to end up in conflict and disconnection. Instead offer each other compassion by just expressing what you really want or need more of and allowing your partner to share which of these things they're happy to do.



3.Initiate


Ask your partner to pick two or three things they would like to do from what you have shared. This allows choice for you both. Agree to do these things over the course of a week or fortnight.



4.Appreciate


Schedule a time at the end of the week to reflect on how it made you feel and if possible tell your partner how much you appreciate it in the moment or shortly after.



Communicating in an effective way is the most common difficulty I see in couples therapy. If you feel this exercise is going to be too difficult or you tried and got stuck, couples therapy is a great way to explore what’s getting in the way of your connection. Imago therapy helps you to understand yourself and your partner more deeply and I will show you a new way to communicate to help you to really hear and understand each other. See my Couple Therapy page for more info and contact details.


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