24 Jan Relationship Tips From a Marriage Therapist

I’m looking forward to working with a lot of couples this year. Some will be looking to make their already pretty good relationships even better. But many will be looking to rescue their pretty bad relationships and turn relationship unhappiness and discontent around. At any rate, they all will benefit from some relationship tips.

So, what can you do to build a successful relationship?

And how can you avoid even getting to the place where seeing a marriage therapist starts sounding like a necessary idea?

Businesswoman whispering something to her colleague in an office

Truly happy and successful relationships happen when partners stop making basic relationship errors, and start relating in healthy ways.

These relationship tips will get you started:

1. Stop whinging and nagging

Kids whinge and nag. Adults (the ones in healthy relationships that is), don’t.

If you have something to complain about, be grown up about it. Learn how to communicate in a way that strengthens your relationship, rather than kills it. This starts with speaking (and behaving) like an adult.

2. Stop sulking and withdrawing

Kids sulk and withdraw. See #1

3. Stop diagnosing each other

Being an expert on your partner’s faults is easy. Being an expert on your own faults is much more challenging, yet is crucial for a relationship that truly thrives.

Look inwards. Take responsibility for understanding how your own behaviour impacts your relationship. After all, unlike the behaviour of your partner, this is what you can easily change.

4. Stop triangling

Confiding in others about your relationship problems is fine, but using them to strengthen your position (“Well, Martha agrees with me that you’re a selfish idiot!”) isn’t.

There are two people in your relationship. Keep it that way.

5. Stop hoarding toxic waste

Relationships don’t work when partners hold each other ransom with checklists of past misdemeanours.

We all make mistakes. Know how to apologise when you’ve stuffed up and how to accept your partner’s apologies with grace. Forgive, and forget.

6. Stop telling lies

Couples who grow apart are often the ones who stop talking to each other in honest ways. Lies create disconnect. And the first casualty of disconnect is passion. If you’re thinking you can’t possibly tell you partner something, often this is the first indicator that you’re drifting apart. It’s very hard to have intimacy without honesty.

Learn how to communicate in ways that are both honest and kind. Honesty is not negotiable.

7. Stop neglecting your relationship

If you love something, you give it your time. Make time to share time together. Turn off your mobile devices. Say “no” sometimes, to family and friends.

Use these relationship tips and place your relationship above everything else, always.

Pamela Pannifex is a psychotherapist, marriage therapist, naturopath and founder of Sunshine Holistic Counselling on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. For over 20 years she has been helping people create personal wellbeing and relationships that thrive. Contact Pamela here.