Couples Therapy

Tips for Healthier and Fun-filled Life for Couples

1. Connection on a friendly fun bases: Talk about life, meaning, dreams, desires, and fantasies;

2. Assert yourself by talking about one issue and don’t bring the laundry list. The listener often stops listening when the partner goes on and on. When you are speaking use the 4 step COPE model of starting with something positive, stating your observation, expressing how that makes you feel, using “I” statement, and not pointing the finger; and giving constructive recommendations;

3. Be empathic; put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Feel for them, with them & share these feelings;

4. Respond positively to requests from your partner. Try to say yes when your partner asks something of you: “Yes, I love to do that.. I’m in the middle of something ..How about in 30 min?

5. Sex is crucial for a successful marriage no matter how long you have been married, which does not mean penetration only;

6. Make time for sexual intimacy that is satisfying for both of you several times each week. If you have children send them to their grandparents, neighbors, or someone else, for total privacy;

7. One study found that the common factors “binding marriages together” were time, endurance, tolerance, enjoyment, perseverance, commitment, cooperation, compromise & satisfying sex lives;

8. Working separately, each make a list of things you would enjoy doing together (taking dance lessons, taking a shower together, playing backgammon or tennis, walking in the woods, etc.);

9. Share your lists and select one activity from each list weekly, and have ample time to talk afterwards. Always alternate taking charge for the fun activity;

10. Instead of telling your partner what he/she does wrong, communicate how you feel when things are done a certain way, then make a recommendation as to how you would resolve that problem, such as: “I recommend that you call me if you will be delayed at work;”

11. Have a daily ritual to stretch together, hug together, or shower together. When you are parting make sure you hug tightly, kiss and express your love to each other, not a quickie, one sided kiss while running out the door;

12. Balance your life stressors, and know how to relax yourself on mind-body-spirit levels. Read the 7-step Biopsychosocial and Eco-Spiritual Model for healing and health (Kalayjian 2002, 2010). David Code, author of “To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First,” says… when life gets stressful and we are feeling anxious, we instinctively scapegoat/blame our spouses for our suffering. Find better ways to manage your anxiety or stress: exercise, meditate, practice yoga, write in a journal, get a hobby, discover your meaning in life (Frankl, 1962), sing and dance;

13. Adopt a hobby that you do together, something that would be active, not watching TV. Such as playing tennis, doing yoga together, playing scrabble/backgammon/chess together, walking in the park together, fishing, golfing, or other sports together;

14. Observe your partner closely, have they changed their hair color or style, notice change of clothes, make-ups, cologne or perfumes. Be alert, observant, and express what you see/sense that is different, and acknowledge, tell them how you feel about the changes you have observed;

15. Shower one another with compliments, acknowledgments, validation, and praise. We receive a lot of criticism outside our homes, at least while we are at home let’s make each other feel Kings and Queens of your castle. Don’t look down unless you are trying to lift each other up. Remember that Shared sorrow is half sorrow, while shared joy is double joy!

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines! Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

-MARK TWAIN