14 ways to strengthen family relationships
Relationships in the family depend not only on women, but also on men. A happy family is a constant work on the relationship, without which even the strongest passion fades. Sooner or later, even in a young family, there are resentments, quarrels, claims to each other. There are a number of ways in which you can strengthen family relationships.
Common interests are not all couples. But they can be created from scratch. Knowing the interests and hobbies of the partner, you can join them. Common pastime should be filled with new, positive emotions that lead to pleasant associations. Such interests can be: a walk in the park, a trip to the cinema, and maybe fishing. But do not share your partner’s interest to go shopping or collect the child in kindergarten, because such interests in the short term turn into a domestic routine and annoying obligations.
In this case, the word freedom is not about a free relationship, but about giving freedom of human behavior. Everyone occasionally wants to be in silence or engage in a favorite hobby, and to such a desire should be treated with respect. You shouldn’t force your partner to do something he’s not interested in or doesn’t want to do. An example would be cleaning the house. If the wife forces her husband to clean, but he has no desire, it is not worth insisting on his own, because this will lead to an even greater scandal. In such a case, it is necessary to look for workarounds, through which you can get your share of freedom. After cleaning the apartment, you can send your spouse out for a walk with the children and get yourself some long-awaited and well-deserved free time.
In family relationships, a very important aspect is a good mood that spouses should give to each other. There is no need to squeeze out a good mood forcibly. But if you make a habit of finding positive moments in any situation and distinguish between work and family, it will be possible. Thanks to such an attitude, many conflicts in the family go down, and even serious quarrels can seem insignificant if you think in a positive way.
This way of preserving relationships is more suitable for men than for women, because it is women who need attention, support, affection to a greater extent. Attention is a necessary component of a strong family relationship.
This way will definitely help to fix the family discord and strengthen the relationship. It is necessary to try to allocate at least one evening a week for their spouse. Such an evening can be in the form of a romantic dinner, or spend it discussing current topics of the family, planning matters or the family budget. After dinner, a great conclusion to the evening would be to watch and discuss a movie together. Many psychologists believe that discussing movies, especially romantic ones, can to some extent be considered family psychotherapy, preventing some divorces.
Memories of a wonderful, touching, and romantic relationship from the past are sure to help you reconnect with your current relationship and remember what brought you and that person together and why you’re still together. Gifts, letters, photo albums, or photos on social networking sites can help refresh memories.
A beneficial effect would be to plan for a long term future together. This may be a travel plan for the next 5 years, or a plan to build a house in which the family will live in 20 years. And no matter what the meaning of these plans, the main thing is that there are plans for the future, and they are made together, thereby bringing each other closer.
Despite the lack of time because of work or household chores, it is necessary to find time for communication. If a person has problems outside of the family, it is better to tell them to your companion, who knows you like no one else and can support you in any situation. Also, you need to share the good news, your loved one will rejoice with you.
Touch is one of the languages of love. Try to touch each other as often as possible: holding hands, hugging, kissing. Such tactile contact is fundamental to bonding. It is necessary to remember that the nature of touch tells about the level of feelings.
During an argument or conflict, you should not use your knowledge of your partner’s vulnerabilities, it can be a blow and break it, completely destroying the relationship. Everyone has flaws, but memories of them should not be a weapon in a conflict situation. It is necessary to cherish the person, and all that you know about him, it is better to use in a positive way.
As often as possible talk about your feelings, how much you appreciate and love them. This way will help to strengthen the relationship between people and make it more meaningful.
An important rule: if you do not like something, you should not criticize the person as a person, and talk about your feelings about the situation, that is, to use the technique of “I-message.
Feeling that intimate life ceased to bring full pleasure and became much less frequent, it is necessary to discuss this moment with your partner. It is important that each of them have a desire and willingness to diversify their intimate life, to find common and interesting. Missing the moment when intimate life turns into a “spousal duty”, it will be very difficult to resume a passionate and desirable intimate relationship.
Regardless of the reason for the conflict with your partner, there will be reconciliation in the near future. But, having told your close friends or relatives about the quarrel, the incident will periodically remind you of itself in their face. Completely forget and release the situation in this case will not work, because when you remember, there will be a resurfacing of anger and resentment in the soul. All family problems should be solved only in the family circle and not letting outsiders in.
And, of course, do not forget about the pleasant surprises that will saturate the gray of everyday life with romance and good humor. Even a small bouquet of flowers or your favorite sweets, will not leave indifferent any girl. And a man in turn will be happy to receive her culinary masterpiece from his beloved.
All these ways are elementary and do not require great feats. Evoke all kinds of emotions and your family life will never be boring. All this will save and strengthen your family relationship, and each of the spouses will feel needed, loved and wanted.
To all – tenderly: how to improve relationships in a couple. Interview with a psychologist
Most people strive to make sure that all is well in a relationship. However, often these efforts not only do not help, but are even harmful. We asked the psychologist about the difficulties encountered by people in love, and how to solve them correctly
A new book by Olga Primachenko “I’m at home with you. It tells what practices in the relationship to build trust, find rapport and maintain intimacy. We talked to the author about what problems are usually the most acute in relationships and what you can do to solve them.
Olga Primachenko, journalist, psychologist, author of “To Myself Tenderly” and “I’m Home With You,” certified specialist in working with metaphorical associative maps
What are the most common problems faced by modern couples?
First and foremost is emotional dependency, when our emotional state is inadequately influenced by our partner’s behavior, words and thoughts. We endlessly analyze whether we have a couple is good, and endlessly lying on an imaginary couch psychoanalyst instead of loving and living. In this case, one of the partners develops an incredible sensitivity to the slightest signals of “trouble” in the couple – the wrong “intonation”, the wrong “look”, the wrong “way” looked at – and begins to worry, worry and blow the brains out of the other.
There’s also the problem of violence. When one says, “You’re hurting me, stop it,” and the other doesn’t react because he’s blinded by anger or doesn’t think his partner has any say at all. Violence can be not only physical, when one is beaten, but also sexual, when one is forced to have sex, economic, when one is financially controlled and exploited as a servant, and psychological, when one is intimidated and abused.
Among the frequent problems is also a waning libido. When one no longer wants to touch, hug, or kiss one’s partner. Sex happens less and less often, and thoughts of someone else or breaking up arise more and more often.
Nearby boredom or tired of each other. When everything is so flat that there is no way. Or vice versa – a lot of emotions, but all negative: the partner is annoying and seems to consist of only flaws and annoying features. Or he “stopped in development”: he does not need anything, he is ready to lie on the couch and watch soap operas, while another still wants to live, still want to try new things, to move somewhere.
What are the main reasons for these problems?
In that life is unpredictable, and in love there are no guarantees. It’s a bitter truth: everything can go wrong tomorrow, and you can never plan and prepare for everything.
For the past couple of years, we have been living with a lot of stress, fears about the future, and an inability to really get a handle on anything: we plan cautiously, for a month at the most. Naturally, not all have the mental strength to remain “in the resource, the moment and adequacy” – we are more often irritated, more often angry, more often afraid, and therefore – more often snapped at each other.
As wittily noted comedian Paul Rodevich, “because of universal self-isolation worldwide has increased the number of divorces: it turns out, choosing a man for life, people did not think that he had to live with him for a week.
The myth of perfect love also does a lot of harm. In brief: in a couple everything should always be good, smooth and sweet, so if suddenly there are ugly feelings, quarrels and misunderstandings, then “all is lost”, it is a sure sign that love is over.
And the media culture, which presents love as eternal suffering wrapped up in a dramatic wrapper, does not make the best contribution to the formation of healthy relationships. Unfortunately, those same teenagers, often without a clear example of a warm and trusting relationship between parents, learn exactly this: love is not about quiet joy, but about “fighting passionately, leaving and coming back,” and the brighter the emotions in a relationship, the “real” it is. And then we get what we get: the belief that “butterflies in the belly” should flutter into old age and “if your party doesn’t look like this, don’t even try to invite me.”
Are there any particular problems with modern couples? What are they?
I am not a family psychologist and cannot rely on direct experience in counseling practice, but what I hear in personal conversations allows me to note the following: modern women, who are used to working hard and making good money, find it very difficult to go into maternity when they have to ask their husbands for money “for themselves”. There is also a striking contrast between the amount of recognition a woman used to get at work and the amount she gets now: so, instead of admiration for a superbly closed deal or a successfully conducted complicated negotiation, it is good if her husband appreciates how much she does around the house, instead of asking: “You’ve just been home all day with the baby. What could you be so tired of?” That’s the kind of devaluation that’s incredibly destructive to the union and devastating to a woman’s self-esteem.
If things are so complicated, why do people keep being together? If economic and social conditions allow one to be alone?
Because like Tarkovsky in “Solaris,” “We don’t know what to do with other worlds. We don’t need other worlds. Man needs man.”
Our biology is prosocial: as infants we calm down not because our mother says, “Hush, hush, everything is fine” (we are not yet able to understand words), but because we synchronize with her smooth breathing, feel her soft touch, hear the warmth in her voice, see her tender gaze. In moments of danger and stress, we do not look for logical explanations (we look for them later, having calmed down), but for another person. A shoulder to lean on. A hug that gives us back the faith that the worst is over, it’s safe to live again.
The world is stormy and rocky, and today the need for another person, one who is reliable and predictable, unlike the chattering outside the window, is multiplying for many.
Why, then, does one more and more often encounter the idea that being alone isn’t scary at all?
Yes it is scary to be alone really! Even if we can take excellent care of ourselves (young, healthy) and buy ourselves half a world, we still have a deeply normal need to be with someone. To be “seen” by someone, reflected, recognized. There is a reason why it is so frightening to be “alone together” – when you seem to be married, but people look at you like you are nothing.
Today the need for another person – the one who is reliable and predictable, unlike the dangling outside the window, is multiplied for many.
Let’s deal with self-sufficiency. What does its healthy form look like? How do we distinguish it from attachment disorder, fear of being rejected, and other things?
A healthy form of self-sufficiency is when “I love both you and myself. That is, I understand who I am and what is important to me, and I realize in which of my relationship needs I can “move,” and in which I cannot, because without satisfying them I will slowly and painfully die. For example, someone likes to read a lot, and it is very important for him to discuss what he has read and share his impressions of the book. It’s okay if the partner doesn’t like to read. Do not force him to be drawn into a “literary” conversation, or consider it because of this feature some kind of wrong. Let your soul can be in a reading club, or with the same adoring reading friends. To demonstrate self-sufficiency in such a situation is not to give up your need, but to find how it can be met in another way, that is, to make yourself feel good without making your partner feel bad and without considering your marriage a failure.
When attachment is broken, under “self-sufficiency” the person hides a refusal of intimacy and a fear of intimacy: “I don’t need anyone, I’m fine alone.” Such people can accept even a caring request “Call me, please, when you get there” with hostility and interpret it as a violation of their boundaries (“I’m not going to answer to anyone!”). With no experience of secure attachment, they carry their self-sufficiency like a flag: proudly and defiantly. “I can do without you,” “I can do it myself,” “I’ll see you when I see you, all right, bye.” There is nothing to be done: until the person realizes that they are having trouble establishing a normal relationship (i.e. the problem is with themselves, not with Mercury retrograde and the “hysterical women around”), trying to “cure and save” them is a waste of effort. – is a waste of energy.
As I write in my book, you can put up with a lot “in the name” and then one day walk away – for your own sake. Don’t play rescuers and believe that you can conquer your partner’s weaknesses with the power of your love. That’s not what a healthy relationship is about.
Personal therapy in marriage: how does it work?
First of all, personal therapy helps each partner to notice himself. To understand how he can and can not. What is unacceptable for him and where he has already “moved so much” in something to please his partner that he has completely shut himself out.
In therapy we begin to understand that you have to talk to your partner “through your mouth” and not with hints, glances and loud silences. We don’t know how to read minds. What’s wrong with that, we often even mean the same thing differently. That’s why a person learns to also clarify: “You know, that was offensive just now. As if my opinion means nothing to you. Is that really so?”
And also therapy allows us to realize how ready the partner is to hear what we say (especially the phrase “You’re hurting me, don’t do that again, please”). To hear – and to listen, not to devalue, dismiss and discount.
Is it true that therapy often leads to divorce? This is something that many people fear and put off working with a psychologist.
No adequate therapist, upon learning of your family problems, will say to you, “Uh-oh, guys, there’s nothing left to do here – God, burn!” But through therapeutic contact with him, when you understand from your own experience what it is to talk and be heard, to show up and not be afraid to be yourself, you also understand a lot about the quality of your relationships. And you leave them, not because of the therapist, but because it becomes clear: this is not what you need.
For example, it turns out that in your relationship one is right and the other is always, always a fool. Or the needs of one are important and the needs of the other are not. Or suddenly it turns out that you are not a loser or an idiot – you have something to be proud of and value in yourself, it’s just that there is a person next to you who is more comfortable and safer for you to believe otherwise. And your life is not expendable to play off the psychological problems of another.
So I answer the question: it’s not therapy that leads to divorce, it’s a person’s changing attitude toward themselves.
How do you decide to end a relationship? How do you know that it is time to do it?
First of all, you must understand that the decision to break up – it is always your decision, which can not be entrusted to a psychologist, church, parents, or friends. Because it’s not for them to deal with the consequences, it’s for you. Others will shake their heads, feel sorry for you, and go on their way. And you will have to live with it.
The realization that you don’t love someone anymore is different for everyone. Some realize it in an instant, while others lose the power of feelings for a partner drop by drop, as if day by day, diluting the juice with water, until it has no taste or color.
If I were to single out anything in particular (besides the most critical thing, the presence of domestic violence), I would note the following points:
- The loss of the desire to care. No desire at all. When instead of collecting a partner “selku” to work, you just tell him where everything is, and add: “Not little (little) – cope;
- More disappear compliments and words of encouragement – literally dying out as a species;
- Missing desire to talk. You are so accustomed to the absence of any interest from your partner that you realize: “What’s the point of telling what I have new, if he knows nothing about the old. “;
- There is a lack of companionship. Everyone is more comfortable in their own phone, in their own corner, with “their” friends and interests;
- Interest in sexuality disappears (sometimes to the point of disgust at being touched), and the words “I love you” gets stuck in the throat, because the language does not dare to say them.
And what comes out? Indifference and detachment (even a kind of ruthlessness to the partner and his problems), nostalgia for the past life, a lot of irritation (when offenses arise out of thin air and over nothing arranged scandals), a lot of criticism, devaluation, malicious ridicule and comparison not in your favor.
What points to the need to preserve the union?
Again, this is not a question for a psychologist.
A person decides for himself how much strength he has now to get out of the union, and how much strength to continue it. When you understand who and what you are, what you can rely on, what resources you have (including financial ones), when self-respect and belief in yourself are not words from unicorn books, but concepts that have concrete expression in your life in concrete actions towards yourself, you learn to value not only yourself, but also the other. In the sense that you realize the value of free choice to stay with someone, to choose to love this person, despite disagreements and “ugly feelings.
Living with another person is difficult by definition, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve been living together for a year or fifteen years. It is important that in the most heated quarrel you still in the depths of his soul clearly understood: “I do not need anyone else, nothing else – and live, and love, and quarrel I want only with him.
When you have this understanding, it’s a sign that you have to still fight, that all is not lost, that it’s definitely not the case of “starting for health and ending for health.
In your book, you offer ten psychological exercises. Can you recommend one of them now?
There are ten exercises in the book, divided into three blocks: the first block is about understanding what you need in a relationship when you’re single or have just started to date, the second block is about strengthening your existing relationship, and the third block is about getting through a separation or divorce.
If I cite an exercise from the book that can be useful to everyone regardless of what relationship status they are in now, I would choose the relationship problem-solving matrix. It has 33 questions through which, like a sieve, you can pass problematic situations in a couple in order to benefit from them and direct the conflict in a constructive direction.
So, formulate for yourself the problem you and your partner are fighting about, for example: “It pisses me off that my in-laws interfere in our affairs” – and pass it through the following questions. An important nuance: you ask the questions to yourself, not to your partner (if it is not agreed separately).