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Practical Tips For Nourishing Friendship With Your Partner

Practical Tips For Nourishing Friendship With Your Partner

Be Friends, First

Over time in a long term committed relationship it can be easy for couples to lose sight of the underlying friendship aspects of their relationship. Research has found that being friends with your partner is actually fundamental to a couples’ overall success and satisfaction with the relationship. Unfortunately, it’s easy lose sight of that over time.

Creating A Strong Foundation

When thinking about how to strengthen your friendship with your partner, it might be helpful to think of the qualities you admire in your closest friendships. These friendship “ingredients” may include fostering underlying trust, respect, teamwork and a sense that the other person is on your side or “has your back” at the end of the day. These qualities can also include sharing simple connecting moments like having inside jokes with one another or talking about how your day went in the evening with your significant other. 

As a couples counselor and marriage therapist I have had the opportunity to work with many couples who desire to not only build this foundation of friendship with their partner, but also maintain it. Here are a few practical tips that you can use in your own relationship today! 

Three Practical Tips For Restoring and Maintaining Friendship With Your Partner

Intentionality is Key 

As previously mentioned, with the busyness and demands of life, it can be easy for couples to lose sight of these necessary friendship qualities to a relationship (balancing a Career and Relationship sound familiar?). Couples may also find it difficult to set aside intentional time for maintaining a friendship. Phone conversations, for example, may become limited to shorthand speak about what time dinner will be and did you remember to pick the kids up from soccer practice today?   

Even setting an intentional date night can sometimes miss the mark in maintaining friendship between couples. For example, there may be a lot of pressure to make date night grand and romantic or spending the majority of time together finding activities to do rather than simply connecting with one another. While doing fun things together is also important, it may not provide couples with the opportunity to connect in a way that fosters true intimacy and sharing with one another the way you might when having coffee with a close friend, for example.

One suggestion to avoid this pitfall is rather than setting a routine “date night” couples might focus on one time during the week that they set aside for connecting or “checking-in” with one another. Maybe you meet at your favorite coffee shop or simply have “couch time” one evening a week where you talk about how you’ve been feeling individually in addition to how you’re feeling about the relationship. This can be a great opportunity to share things that feel really great about the relationship or ways that you wish things might be going differently between you. [For more ideas on how you can set aside time with your partner, read: “How To Fall In Love Again”]

Honest Communication 

Another important component to maintaining friendship between couples is honest communication about what’s going well in the relationship and what isn’t. Part of this communication means giving honest feedback to one another on a regular basis. It can be easy to jump into defense mode when receiving feedback from your partner. Additionally, giving feedback to your partner can feel anxiety provoking and built-up resentment can make delivering feedback to your partner in a caring way difficult. 

One way couples might reduce anxiety around giving and receiving feedback to one another is imagining what it would be like to give or receive the same feedback to a close friend. How would you want the feedback delivered? What would be most important to communicate to the other person? What do you ultimately need from this person in the relationship? Sometimes imagining the conversation in this way can take some of the pressure and steam off the conversation with a romantic partner when the stakes often feel much higher and more emotionally loaded than in a platonic friendship. 

Mutual Respect 

The importance of mutual respect in a couple relationship cannot be underestimated. Mutual respect also means that there is a shared sense of equality in the partnership; that both members of the couple know that the other takes their needs seriously and cares about making the other feel cared for and important. In a friendship, this component is often easy because without it, you wouldn’t have much of a foundation upon which to build a friendship. 

One big way that couples lose a sense of mutual respect for one another is the way that conflict gets resolved in the relationship. An example of how this might play out is with grand romantic gestures. For example, a couple gets into a fight and one member of the couple buys the other a bouquet of flowers that gets delivered to the office the next day as an apology. Often times, while well-intentioned, grand romantic gestures disclude the fundamental component of mutual respect which is talking and communicating about what happened during the fight in a meaningful way. 

This involves a conversation where both members of the couple take responsibility for and convey understanding of any hurt feelings to one another. These conversations allow couples the opportunity to truly move on from an argument in addition to turning conflict into an opportunity to foster intimacy, honesty and connection in the relationship while grand romantic gestures tend to sweep things under the rug temporarily.

Most couples in long-term, committed relationships struggle to maintain these aspects of the relationship that are so important to overall relationship satisfaction. So know that you are not alone. I do hope you found this article has a helpful jumping off point to thinking about overarching ways friendship might be maintained within the context of a romantic relationship. Share with me your thoughts in the comments below!

Warmly, 

Dr. Chelsea Twiss, PhD, LP-C

 

Dr. Chelsea Twiss is a couples counselor, individual therapist, life coach and creativity coach. She specializes in helping couples restore emotional and sexual intimacy, individuals move past heartbreak and into healthy relationships, and creatives find their voice.

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Let’s Talk About Date Night

If you’re in a long-term relationship the time will come when that burning flame of romance and passion dims to a comfortable warmth, it’s inevitable. This doesn’t mean that the romance and passion are over, it’s a new era of your relationship. If you welcome this era with an open mind and a willingness to experience this stage with your partner – you will find that this warmth is not only sustaining to your relationship but welcoming.

I know it can feel discouraging to think back on how alive and in love you once were before the chaos of life, work, and family obligations became primary conversations at the dinner table. Maybe you’re even asking yourself “can it ever be like it once was?”

The truth is, if you’re both willing to put in the effort to keep your relationship “lit” then YES you can have those rekindling experiences in your relationship! In fact, research by love gurus Dr. John and Julie Gottman has even shown that couples on the road to separation were able to rekindle the flame in their relationship. So what’s the secret? You guessed it…date night.

How To Get The Most Out Of Date Night

It’s easy enough to go on a date if time and circumstance allow. However, it can feel like there’s just not enough time in the day for dating, and if you are like most of my couples clients you have a lot going on. It can feel like your only conversations together happen in passing after a long day at work or at the dinner table with the kids. This means that you have to be intentional about date night, and you need to get the most out of your time together (yes, I’m talking quality over quantity).

So, How Do You Do This?

First, it’s important to choose a time that works for both of you. It might feel silly scheduling each other in, but I promise if you schedule your date together you’re both more likely to make it work. So sit down, get those phones out (or paper agendas, whatever works for you!) and pick a time where you are either both free or available to move your schedule around. This might mean getting a babysitter, rearranging less important plans, or simply saying “no” to lesser obligations. But remember, you don’t have to force a date for the sake of dating. Sometimes an hour at the nearby coffee shop can be just as fun — do what works best for you!

Next, be deliberate about the activity you choose to do together. Since time is limited, what you do with that time is important. Try to orchestrate a date that is both fun and meaningful for both of you! The more thought you put into the date, the more you’ll get out of it. Before this starts sounding like a chore, I’m not talking about an itinerary that has every little moment planned out. Think about what you both like to do? Where do you like to go? What have you done in the past you’d like to do again? What are some new places, food, or experiences you would like to try?

Number one rule – make this time about the two of you. You don’t have to stick to any version of a date that isn’t appealing to you. However, the more time you spend together, the easier dating becomes. If this means staying home and watching a movie together, sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine, going out to an upscale restaurant, or checking out the “hottest” club – do what’s right for the both of you.

Looking for some great date night suggestions? Take a look at these simple to elaborate ideas you can implement into your new date night routine.

Fun Simple Suggestions:

  1. Pizza & A Movie Marathon— whether you like the DIY method of making your own homemade pizza or you like someone else to do the work for you (aka…ordering delivery), this is a staple date night. You can choose a movie that has a special meaning to the two of you, or maybe even take turns showing your current or childhood favorites.
  2. Build A Fort or “Camp” Indoors—sometimes laying down together in a new place can be exciting and spark some old feelings you thought were lost!
  3. Go On A Long Walk Together—use this time to hold hands, talk about life, or even get to know each other more. Did you know that exercise helps release brain chemicals that can make you feel happier? So by simply doing something active together can create positive feelings between you and your partner.
  4. Desserts and Discovery—make your favorite desserts together and ask one another questions to get to know each other again. There are various apps that supply questions to ask your partner (I recommend the “Gottman Card Decks” app). You could even get creative and use this desserts and discovery date to spark some sexual intimacy as well!

More Elaborate Suggestions:

  1. Surprise Date Night—if you and your partner have similar schedules, surprise your partner with a spontaneous date (to a restaurant, bowling alley, movies, etc). The excitement of the surprise may spark some long-awaited affection.
  2. A Mini-Vacay—find a babysitter and book a hotel room for the night! A night away from home can be especially rejuvenating for a relationship, especially if you have children.
  3. Take A Class Together—some communities offer classes to the public. Register for a local class together such as art, culinary, dancing, or exercise classes. Some classes may even be free!
  4. Recreate Your First Date—think about your very first date together and recreate it.  Reminiscing on the past may help reignite passion in the present. It can also be helpful to talk through all of the obstacles you have overcome as a couple over the years and take time to appreciate how your partner has contributed to the strengths in your relationship.

Date night can be a helpful tool for relationship health. Whether you’re wanting to stick to something simple or splurge on an elaborate night out, there are many exciting ways to get to know your partner and rediscover the excitement in your relationship. Try some of these suggestions and share your experience with me below in the comments section!

Wishing you the best on your date,
Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT

Georgi Chizk, M.S., LAMFT is a warm, compassionate marriage counselor, individual therapist and family therapist who creates a safe and supportive space for you to find meaning in your struggles, realize your self-worth, and cultivate healthy connections with the most important people in your life.

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How to Find True Love

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Create a Summer of Love

Summer is just around the corner: Flowers are blooming, freshly pedicured toes are peeking out of still-stiff new sandals, and calendars are percolating with all manner of fun plans. If you’re single, this is it: Summertime is one of the best times of year to meet someone new.

As a Denver dating coach (and an online dating coach, actually) I’ve been hearing from my single clients for months now about their hopes to find true love this summer. They’re anticipating outings, barbecues, hikes, and parties that give them natural opportunities to meet “the one” without having to scroll through dating app or an online dating site, or sweat crafting the perfect dating profile.

Their dream is to meet the love of their life naturally, without having to dive all the way in to the frustrating and discouraging aspects of the dating world.

The dating advice I often share is that the best strategy for meeting new people is to make use of every available strategy to connect with new people: both through in person meetings, and online dating. However, there’s more to successful dating than just the chance to meet someone.

Advice From a Dating Coach

A big part of successful dating is playing the numbers game; the more people you meet, the more likely you are to find someone who is interesting and attractive to you (and feels the same about you!) Since people are generally more social in the summer, there are more natural opportunities to mix, mingle and chat up attractive strangers.

However, there’s  much more to successful dating (online dating or otherwise) than just showing up and expecting to find the one. After all, you’re not looking for “Someone.” You’re looking for “The One.” And if we’re being really real here, you don’t want to “date.” You want a relationship. Dating is just the means to the end.

That’s why successful dating requires more than just profile writing or signing up for kickball, and hoping for the best. The key to connecting with a compatible person and establishing a healthy, satisfying, enjoyable new relationship involves quite a bit of preparation, thoughtfulness, and intention.

On this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m putting on my dating coach hat to give you some free dating advice for how to date with confidence, and hopefully find your true love this summer. I’ll be discussing:

  • How to date with intention, and save yourself time, energy and frustration
  • How to get interesting people interested in YOU
  • New relationship warning signs
  • What to look for in a potential partner
  • How to establish a healthy long-term relationship

If you’re single and hoping to find true love this summer, you’ll definitely want to listen.

Xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Finding True Love: Real-Deal Dating Advice

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Ziv Moran, “I Wish”

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

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Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Anxiety About a New Relationship?

Are you on pins and needles, riddled with anxiety about a new relationship? You’re not alone. For most of our dating coaching clients, the “dating” part is not that hard. You put a profile together, attend social functions with a smile on your face, and you’re going to have opportunities. Going on an actual date or three is not the biggest deal.

What IS the biggest deal, and what our dating coaching clients really struggle with, is how to manage all the anxiety, insecurity, and angst about the unknown that comes with finding someone they really like and who they’ve started seeing regularly. That’s when all the questions come up: Should I text? When should I call? When is it time for us to take down our online dating profiles? Is it okay for me to bring up certain subjects? How do I show them I like them with out seeming too needy? Or should I play it cool? Are we moving too fast? Not fast enough? Is this going somewhere? Is it okay for me to ask that? Or will that push them away? AGGGH. 

We associate this sort of obsessing about another person’s feelings for us with the horrific junior high experience of crushing. But, sadly, this life experience is not just for fifteen year olds. Grown-a** people, even senior citizens, still struggle with the angst and vulnerability of how to handle themselves in new relationships when they really, really don’t want to blow it.

New Relationship Anxiety: It’s a Thing

New relationships are incredibly anxiety provoking, and for good reason. When you really like someone but aren’t sure how they feel about you, it’s all consuming. When romantic love starts to pulse inside you, it actually changes the way you think and feel. When you feel like you cannot take your mind off of someone, and like you have way too much mental and emotional energy going into a brand new person, it’s not just you. That experience of infatuation is what nature designed to weld you to another person. It’s fierce. To have such intense feelings for a new person, and not know if your budding love is requited is the absolute worst.

This anxiety about new relationships churns up all kinds of self doubt and questions. For this reason, in addition to the usual questions about dating coaching we get, we have been fielding questions about how to handle various situations in new relationships from our dating coaching clients, in our solution sessions, and with questions coming in from listeners of our podcast, readers of our blog, and even journalists. [Read more about our empowering approach to dating coaching on DatingNews.com]

Today, on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m tackling some of your new relationship questions in hopes of putting some of that new relationship anxiety to rest. We’ll discuss:

  • How to manage new relationship anxiety
  • The stages of a new relationship
  • New relationship questions
  • When to bring up topics like dating exclusively, or how you really feel
  • Things to look for that indicate red flags and / or compatibility
  • When you should move forward dating someone with a history of depression or other issues (and when to fold ’em).
  • What to do when someone you like hasn’t called or texted in a while, or gives other signals that they might not be that into you
  • How to put self-love and self-worth front and center of all new dating relationships
  • How to move a new relationship forward without “scaring someone off”

All that, and more, on the podcast.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: Resources we discussed on the show: The How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz, and How to Cultivate Healthy Self-Love

PPS: Do YOU have questions for me? Dating questions, or otherwise? Leave them in the comments: I read every one! 🙂

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

New Relationship Anxiety? Your New Relationship Questions, Answered

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Enjoy the Podcast?

Please rate and review the Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Google Play

Free Advice From a Dating Coach: The Surprising Key To Finding Love

Free Advice From a Dating Coach: The Surprising Key To Finding Love

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Are you completely frustrated with online dating?

Have you been wasting time on endless messaging that goes nowhere? Are you going out with people who look good on paper, but feel “meh” in person? Do you meet promising people only to have them vanish on you? It can be hard to keep up your hope that online dating actually works, and that you are ever going to connect with the love of your life.

There is a reason why dating coaches and dating consultants are popping up online like mushrooms after a rain: Modern dating is challenging. Lots of people are hating dating, but gritting their teeth and doing it anyway in hopes of finding love.

Here is some free dating advice that could change everything for you:

Believe it or not, there is ONE thing that you can do that will give you a huge advantage over everyone else out there dating. One mindset, one strategy, that can make you addictively attractive to everyone you meet, infuse your first dates with exciting energy, and captivate the attention of your ideal partner.

Even better? The byproduct of this novel “dating” strategy is going to be a happier, healthier, more genuinely satisfied YOU — no matter what is going on in your love life. Not only will dating start to feel productive, but you’ll also enjoy it more. Read my latest article on the Match.com blog to get the unusual dating tip that will make dating fun again, and make YOU the unicorn that everyone is looking for…

xoxo,
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching
Growing Self
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