At some point, every romantic relationship could use some work. If you’ve been questioning whether you are ready to work on improving your romantic relationship, review the list below for the things to consider as you create the best plan for moving towards a better relationship.
Know Your Goals:
Have a clear understanding of what you hope to achieve. Whether it’s improving communication, resolving conflicts more effectively, or increasing intimacy, having a specific goal in mind will help guide your efforts and make it easier to measure progress.
Define Your Commitment:
It takes time, effort, and dedication to make positive changes in a relationship. Dr. John Gottman, a world-renowned relationship expert, emphasizes the importance of commitment, stating, “The commitment to the relationship is the most vital aspect of the relationship.” (Gottman, J. M. (1999). The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. New York: Three Rivers Press.)
Being able to take a step back and look at your own role in the relationship is critical for helping you identify your own contributions to any problems or conflicts. Dr. Julie Gottman, co-founder of The Gottman Institute, notes that this process is “important to be able to identify your own contributions to any problems or conflicts in the relationship.” (Gottman, J. (2002). The Relationship Clinic: A Scientifically Based Marital Therapy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.)
Both partners need to be willing to make changes to see progress. Dr. Les Parrott, a licensed counselor and relationship expert, stresses that “the most important thing to keep in mind is that both partners need to be willing to work on the relationship.” (Parrott, L. (2017). Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before (and After) You Marry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.)
Being able to communicate effectively by expressing your thoughts and feelings to your partner and actively listen to their perspective is essential. Additionally, “good for me and good for you” thinking is a key concept that can help improve communication in a relationship. According to Stan Tatkin, a couple’s therapist and author, “The goal of ‘good for me and good for you’ thinking is to develop a shared understanding of what works for both partners.” (Tatkin, S. (2015). Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.)
Set Realistic Expectations:
Improving a relationship takes time and will not always be easy. It’s important to approach the process with patience, compassion, and understanding. If you’re ready to put in the effort, you can see positive changes in your relationship and improve the overall quality of your romantic bond. Remember, professional help is always an option if you are unsure of how to proceed.
This LoveWorks raises the bar for exceptional relationships. Marianne draws on neuroscience, social science, behavioral science, and developmental science to learn about what makes healthy relationships tick.