Every relationship is unique, and every relationship faces its own issues and road blocks along the way. We all long for a loving, supportive partnership and this is no different for same sex couples.
At Haven we work with same sex and gender diverse couples who face relationship issues and specialise in understanding the struggles they face. Often, we see couples deal with not only partnership struggles, but couples who are also managing past pressures such as negative societal and family attitudes, communication and identity issues and feelings of isolation.
Haven Psychology offers a safe and supportive space to help LGBTQI+ couples navigate their relationship and personal challenges, and we understand that sometimes it can all seem too complex to manage.
Relationships form an integral part of our lives, and maintaining a strong bond is no different for any couple. In this blog we wanted to touch on The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, created by renowned clinical psychologist and marriage researcher John Gottman.
What are The Seven Principles for Making Marriage/Partnership Work?
1. “Enhance your love maps.”
Happy couples spend time understanding every detail about their partner, they support and encourage what makes them unique. Take the time to appreciate the little things – perhaps this is a favourite book or memory – it’s the little things that matter.
2. “Nurture your fondness and admiration.”
Successful couples learn to create a strong bond of admiration of each other, sometimes we can lose track of this admiration so it’s important at times to revisit the reasons why you fell in love with them in the first instance.
3. “Turn toward each other instead of away.”
Every day life can be taxing and busy, Gottman explains that it’s important to keep a strong bond even in the mundane every day life. Sometimes a simple sign to say you care could be an “I love you” text message, it’s about taking time to acknowledge your partner.
4. “Let your partner influence you.”
Happy couples are a team that considers each other’s perspective and feelings. They make decisions together and search out common ground. Letting your partner influence you isn’t about having one person hold the reins; it’s about honouring and respecting both people in the relationship.
5. “Solve your solvable problems.”
Successful couples deal with their issues immediately and calmly, there is no time left to build resentment. Good communication is key and taking the time to appreciate and understand each other’s values and concerns.
6. “Overcome gridlock.”
According to Gottman, at times we can face gridlocks which are larger than every day issues and problems. Gridlocks are described as “dreams for your life that aren’t being addressed or respected by each other.” If left unchecked, gridlocks can be very damaging so these need to be understood an addressed.
7. “Create shared meaning.”
A loving supportive relationship is about sharing a meaningful life that resonates with both of you. Meanings can range from culture, to family traditions, to hobbies and pastimes. A couple that has a deeper understanding of their partnership and what happiness looks like to them - naturally succeed.
As we stated at the beginning, each relationship differs from the next however all relationships are the same in that they are underpinned by principles that, if followed, can lead to long term happiness.
We welcome all couples and individuals from the LGBTQI+ community to our clinic and value their uniqueness. Effective counselling can support each couple in creating stronger, life long bonds.
It may be a completely over used cliché, but relationships are fluid. They ebb and flow, they have droughts and floods, they remain stagnant if left to their own devices.
Unfortunately, when it comes to long term relationships, there are times when that precious pool of water dries out and we see resentment start to creep in. Essentially, we start to lose sight of our partner and how important they are to us, and we forget how to maintain the day to day of our relationship.
Resentment is a hard beast to conquer, if left alone it can build and grow like a huge dam in a river and starts to block all the good that flows. We wanted to provide you with a few tips on how you can help reduce that resentment and start to re-build the foundations with your partner.
How To Reduce Resentment and Start to Re-Build
Use “I" statement feeling terms, but don’t use “you.”
Finger pointing is damaging for all involved, by putting all the blame or emphasis on your partner you can start to alienate them. Try bringing the conversation to how it makes you feel, and how it can be resolved.
Here is one example about how to phrase dissatisfaction over another partner’s actions: "I feel hurt that our safety, and the safety of others isn't a priority as fixing the car is taking longer than anticipated. What can I do to assist in making sure our car is road-worthy? I'm concerned for us all, and willing to do what is needed so that we can relax and enjoy ourselves."
Count to ten before speaking.
Anger can be the fuel to so many issues. Too often we blurt out words that we often regret and have no reflection on who we are when calm. The age-old tactic of counting to ten is something that cannot be overlooked – stop, breath, think and then reply.
Practice active listening.
Repeat back what you heard in order to confirm you understood and affirm your partner’s feelings - seems simple but can be hugely effective.
Physically connection comes in all shapes and forms – from a simple hug to being intimate – physical closeness can help ease a huge range of issues.
In fact, even science has proven this fact!
“A very simple, straightforward behavior — hugging — might be an effective way of supporting both men and women who are experiencing conflict in their relationships,” explains co-author Michael Murphy, a post-doctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University’s Laboratory for the Study of Stress, Immunity and Disease.
Meet somewhere neutral.
Sometimes getting away from home or the place where you spend a lot of time can serve two purposes.
One, a relaxed setting with fresh air can lend itself to openness, as well as taking things less seriously. Secondly, it takes all negative feelings away from the house. The last thing you want is to have negative feelings about the place where you spend most of your time.
Engage in daily empathy actions.
Empathy is not necessarily a default feeling and needs some retraining to become par for the course. Routine empathy can be checking in with our partners about how they are feeling, looking them in the eye, and regularly giving the benefit of the doubt. Once empathy becomes intrinsic behavior, resentment often becomes a thing of the past.
If resentment if playing a role in your relationship, we're here to help - book in an appointment with us today.
All of us go on an emotional health journey throughout life. The ups and downs of life eventually can take its toll and usually there’s only one person who suffers the most – you.
We can lose sight of ourselves, and our purpose in life. It’s all too common to see people who forget their own strengths and the value they bring to others.
Real self-worth comes from a much deeper source within us. It comes from an inner acknowledgement that our pursuits are genuine and worthy, regardless of other people’s opinions.
Self-worth grows from a place of awareness and action. If you’ve lost sight of your value, let’s look at some ways to help build you back up.
What are some simple ways to help rebuild our self-worth?
We all can lose sight of ourselves and our value, if you need help to restore that self worth - book in a consultation today.