It’s a misconception that a romantic relationship is healthy and happy because there is a lack of negative or nasty conflict.
Even if partners aren’t having conflict or partaking in other unhealthy relational habits, they will grow apart simply because they aren’t dedicating the time and effort to remain emotionally connected.
As stated on my home page, “If you do nothing to improve your relationship, but do not do anything bad, your relationship will get worse over time.”
Ways to Improve Your Romantic Relationship:
Having conversations about thoughts, feelings, and experiences, with your partner(s) is necessary in continuing to nurture and cultivate a strong connection with each other. Drs. John and Julie Gottman call these conversations “updating our love maps of each other’s inner world.”
This can look like:
- “What is something new or exciting you experienced today?”
- “How are you feeling today about [insert topic you’ve discussed before]?”
- “I miss being intimate with you.”
- “I noticed we haven’t kissed recently. Is everything okay with you?”
When partners in romantic relationships have this space to connect, communicate, and feel safe and known, it makes it easier not only to have long-term healthy connection, but also to handle difficult conflict and discord than partners who do not have this connection. This is why the friendship system (love maps, fondness and admiration, and turning towards) in the Gottman Method is foundational to managing conflict well.
I discuss all of this and more in greater detail on The Essential Strength Podcast with David Skolnik, PT, DPT, PPSC, CCPC. Episode 55. We discuss the different aspects of what makes a strong romantic relationship, including:
- The role that connection and intimacy have in healthy relationships
- Why feeling worthy has a larger impact on your relationship
- The importance of having boundaries and communicating those boundaries
- Handling conflict in an appropriate, healthy, and effective way
- How attachment theory has, does, and will continue to impact how you relate
- And so much more!
Go here to listen to this episode now. You can also listen on Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Apple Podcasts.