Three Easy and Surprising Steps to Improve Your Relationship

 Couple kissing in West LA

How you can short-circuit arguments and resentment, and grow your loving connection

One of the problems many couples have is that at the end of a long day of stressful work or childcare, they don’t have any physical or psychic energy left for each other. At worst, this leads to arguments and resentment. Much of the time it leads to distancing and loneliness.

One of the best ways to combat this problem is to pay attention to what happens when you first see each other at the end of the day. As unromantic as it sounds, a “re-entry” protocol can help you and your partner find the peace you need at the end of the day, and the connection that will make your relationship thrive.

Here are three easy steps to improve your connection after a long day at work:

Plan Ahead

First have a chat with your SO about what each of you needs at the end of the day. Most people when they come home from work need a little time to get organized and chill out, and a chance to  regroup and get out of “work mode” and in to “couple or family mode”.

When you both arrive home at the same time, you may each be in need of some time apart to regroup.

Sometimes we are already home when our SO arrives. We may feel reluctant to stop in the middle of whatever we are doing when they arrive home; we are “in the flow”, and we want to keep going. If we stop now, we will be frustrated about the interruption, and resentful of our partner.

This is why it is a good idea to have an agreement that after greeting each other, you both can take a few minutes to either go back to what you were doing, or to decompress from the stresses of the day.

If you have an agreement to spend some time apart decompressing at the end of the day, that takes the pressure off of you to be in “listening mode” and gives you each the reassurance that you will have the time you need for yourself.

Greet Each Other Warmly and then Separate and Chill

 Couple hugging in Los Angeles

Before you have your time apart it’s important to briefly greet each other with a smile and a hug or a kiss. Set the tone that says, “Even though I am taking some time for myself now, I am happy to see you and will come back to ‘couple mode’ in a short while”.

This sounds so basic and simple, but if you really think about it you will realize that if you don’t consciously plan to greet your partner with a warm “Hello”, you are probably falling into the common trap of launching into a discussion (or worse, a monologue!) about something that is bothering you, or at least something that you think needs to be addressed right away.

Immediately launching into a discussion can make your SO anxious and set a tone for the evening that will not lead to a loving connection.

Greet each other in a way that is mindful, loving, and brief!

Time Together Later

Once you are together for the evening, it’s easy to get caught up in figuring out the “business details” of your life, or cooking the dinner, or even just vegging (Spellcheck is correcting me here, but that’s a word, right?) out on your laptops or phones.

 couple on a walk in West LA

 This is why part of your plan for your evening should include some time to spend together with no agenda other than to share about your day. Don’t try to solve any problems. This is a great time to go for a short walk together, but at lease sit down with no other distractions.

Make sure your phones are off. Yes, off! You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes to give and have someone’s complete attention, even if it’s only for 10 or 15 minutes.

Now move on to the “business” of the evening. Making dinner, taking care of kids, finishing up some work at home, whatever.

Surprisingly, just these three steps can make a big difference.

1. Greet each other warmly right away.

2. Take a few minutes alone to re-group

3. Spend some time together with no phones, no “business” talk.

It sounds so simple, but it can be tough to carry off. There are so many distractions that will tug at you when you try to give your partner your full attention!

Before long, however, you will begin to cherish your special time together, and you will see the difference in your relationship!

Need A Little Extra Help With Your Relationship?

Therapy can help you improve your relationship, even if you come by yourself. Many of the people I work with are surprised to find that when they make changes on their own, their whole relationship changes for the better. If you are interested in learning more about what therapy can do for you, give me a call at 323-999-1537, or shoot me an email at amy@thrivetherapyla.com, and we will set up a complimentary consultation either on the phone or in my office, where we will chat about your specific needs and how therapy can help you improve your relationships and your life. If for any reason you feel we are not a fit, I will be happy to recommend one of my colleagues who might be able to help.