When we think of relationship problems for couples, we often wrack our brains and try to figure out where we are going wrong or are falling short. Finances, extra hours at work, and raising children can all cause tension in a relationship.
However, sometimes the thing we overlook most is taking the small opportunities to invest in our relationship. Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Small changes can make a big difference, as well as sessions of couples counseling when you need insight into your problems.
Couples counseling: simple and overlooked relationship game-changers.
As you begin journeying into the next phase of your relationship, consider upping the ante in these areas so your relationship can fly to new heights:
In an age of trying to appear picture-perfect for social media, it can be easy to wear a faux persona under your own roof. But relationships aren’t about painting pictures of perfection; they are about letting down the facade and inviting authenticity to the table. Tell your partner your dreams, even if they seem elementary to you. Be open with your feelings. Most importantly, tell your partner you love him or her.
Ask how you can pray for your partner.
Never underestimate the power of prayer. Prayer heals, restores, and unifies. It invites a heart of thanksgiving and praise. Prayer creates a culture in the home of being authentic with your feelings, shortcomings, and worries, and cultivates a relationship with utter dependency in Christ.
Make your partner the first person with whom you share news.
It can be easy to want to call a friend when you finally get the job offer of your dreams. You may think to call your own parent when your child is testing your patience and you feel overwhelmed by parenting problems. It can be easy to call a close friend when you feel baggage from your past creeping back in. When you have an exciting story to share, you might go post on social media first.
While those things are not “wrong” in any way, sometimes we forget that God has given us our best friend (next to Him) — our partner with whom we can both cry and celebrate. If you want to take your relationship to the next level, try letting your partner be the first person you call, text or tell in person. Confide in them. In turn, be there for your partner first. Give your partner a safe space and an emotional home for the musings of his or her heart.
Show affection and speak fondly of one another.
It can change the entire atmosphere of your relationship. If you only vocalize and think negative things, that is what your heart and mind will become accustomed to share. Proverbs 18:21 NIV says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Be a student of your partner.
If you engaged in your relationship with the same eagerness to approach each day as a child does, your love and connection might vastly improve. Start by getting to know your partner on a child’s level. Do you know his or her favorite meal, color, movie, and snack?
From there, start growing as a student and begin to dig deep into his or her soul. Study the most difficult time in his or her life and whether he or she has experienced trauma or abuse that might be lingering. You can learn his or her love language, hopes and dreams for the future, and what is most important to him or her. Approach conversations as a student – be an active listener and tune in to his or her body language.
Greet your partner with a hug and kiss.
Sometimes we get lost in the hustle and bustle of life, chaotic schedules, and child-rearing and we do not pause to really see, appreciate, and remind partners how much we value their presence. A hug and kiss tell your significant other “I’m glad to see you,” rather than just continuing with making dinner or folding laundry, or just hollering “Hey!” This is a quick reminder that you have each other through the busiest seasons.
Avoid talking badly about your partner.
One of the worst things you can do in your relationship is break your partner’s trust. While it is not impossible to restore that brokenness, it is not easy. You can preserve your partner’s trust by speaking well of him or her to others and seeking godly counsel for any problems you encounter. Mother Teresa said it beautifully, “Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”
Put God at the center of your relationship.
Never take for granted having God as the center of your relationship. He is the best relationship-changer of all. Making Christ the center of your relationship will unite you in ways that words cannot describe.
Take some time to delve into your relationship with Christ and with one another. Discuss Scripture, pray together, and attend church and Bible study together. Consider Christian couples counseling to find accountability and tips for growth and improvement.
Relationship game-changer questions.
Here are a few questions to ask one another as you continue growing and learning together:
- What is one thing I do that makes you feel loved?
- What is one thing you’d like for me to do that makes you feel loved?
- Who is someone who inspired you as a kid or teenager, and why?
- If you had an entire day with no commitments, how would you like to spend it?
- What is one thing about me that you’ve chosen to accept instead of fighting me on?
- What is something you’ve learned during your quiet time this week?
- Do you see any areas with family relationships that we need to create boundaries in?
- What is one thing you learned from your parents about marriage?
- What is one area that you have seen me grow since we were first together?
- How do you feel we should celebrate important dates in our relationship, such as anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays?
- What is one thing you love about our life together? What is one thing we can work harder on together?
- What are three things that you’d like us to try together?
- What is your favorite date night spot?
- What is one thing that instantly lifts your mood and makes you smile?
- How are you feeling spiritually right now?
- Is there anything weighing you down emotionally right now?
- How are you feeling about our financial situation right now?
- Where do you hope to be in five years?
- What can we do to continue making time for one another – spiritually and physically?
Couples counseling to take your relationship to the next level.
Take the time to study your partner. Avoid speaking negatively about him or her. If you are trying to navigate a difficult season in your relationship, couples counseling is a journey you will never regret taking.
Take small strides today – start the conversation, drop off his or her favorite cup of coffee at work, or make his or her favorite meal. But don’t hesitate to reach out to a Christian counselor if you get stuck on any issue.
Your counselor will help you strengthen your relationship with greater empathy and understanding for one another. For more information about couples counseling, feel free to contact me or our reception team to schedule an appointment.
“Praying”, Courtesy of Patrick Fore, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Reading in the Library”, Courtesy of Dollar Gill, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Ouch”, Courtesy of Nick Fewings, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Preserves”, Courtesy of Dmitry Mashkin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License