9 relationship tips from the pros

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9 relationship tips from the pros

By Anastasia Pollock, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Feb. 5, 2015 at 8:28 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many people are thinking about their relationships.

As you plan your Valentine’s dates, keep in mind that a successful and happy relationship depends on the things you do to nurture your relationship year round. I have rounded up relationship advice from the best and brightest couples therapists to help you keep the romance alive and your relationship happy, healthy and stable.

1. Check in with your partner at the end of each day

Genuinely check in with your partner or spouse at the end of the day by asking specific questions about their day. Asking your partner thoughtful questions and truly listening to his or her responses is beneficial for romance. It conveys respect, fosters intimacy, and increases contentment within relationships.

Meredith Hood, Ed.D, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor

2. Engage in healthy interests outside the relationship

Make sure that you are engaging in activities that interest you and also make sure that each of you is spending time with other loved ones (friends and family). Too much time together and dependency on each other can result in dysfunction that is detrimental to the relationship.

Anastasia Pollock, LCMHC

3. Respect the privacy of the relationship

Have you ever seen on Facebook a photo of a couple that was too personal, or the opposite, the couple is arguing with each other in angry tweets? Awkward right? Not only is it uncomfortable for your friends and family, it is not healthy for the relationship either. According to Bethany Marshall, Ph.D. and author of "Deal Breakers," the act of oversharing on social media destroys trust and increases insecurities.

Jessie Shepherd, MA, Associate Clinical Mental Health Counselor

4. Stop keeping score

It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of worrying about who does more in a relationship. Oftentimes, we may have thoughts such as, “My partner isn’t putting forth as much effort as I am” or “I am the only one who initiates anything in our relationship.” This can lead to feelings of loneliness, frustration and resentment. In reality, each of you expresses and receives love in different ways. Understanding your partner’s needs and your own needs is important in maintaining a healthy relationship. Life isn’t smooth sailing and the relationship may not always be perfectly balanced – but learning to be OK with those brief moments and having the mindset and tools to communicate is the key.

Lacey Hancock, MA, ACMHC

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5. Remember the small things

Make some time every day to show your significant other that you care or are thinking about him or her. Send a text, leave a note or make a quick phone call. Open the door, put the dirty clothes in the washer, do the dishes. A little effort goes a long way. The more of these little things you do weekly, the better your relationship will be.

Justin Olsen, MA, ACMHC

6. It’s OK to go to bed angry

Getting some space from the situation gives you the opportunity to work through intense emotions, so you can re-address an issue with your partner the next day with a clearer head and perhaps another perspective. Being rested when resolving conflicts can make a difference in achieving a positive outcome.

Anastasia Pollock, LCMHC

7. Avoid the mistake of “getting back to where you were”

Oftentimes, couples cling onto a happy image of how their marriage or relationship “used to be.” They may say, “If we could just get back to that time, we were so happy.” While turning back the clock sounds nice, it is impossible to be the same individuals you once were. As humans, we change, grow, evolve—that’s the beauty in living. Instead of trying to get back to where you were, be productive by looking forward with the mindset of creating a "new" relationship. That relationship can be greater and stronger than you ever imagined.

Lacey Hancock, MA, ACMHC

8. Focus on the feelings

It is common in a relationship to feel like you are not being heard or understood. It may seem that your feelings don’t matter to your partner and, when you try to explain, that person still doesn't understand. More likely than not, your partner feels the same way. Realistically, you may never fully understand each other the way you want to. Stop focusing on making sense of it all and start by simply embracing your partner’s emotions and feelings, regardless of whether they make sense or seem logical. Learning how to validate each other’s feelings and emotions is a powerful tool that can drastically improve the quality of a relationship.

Lacey Hancock, MA, ACMHC

9. Have realistic expectations

Most of the time when couples are having relationship conflicts, it’s because an expectation of one partner isn’t being met. Schedule some time weekly to discuss your expectations about different situations that come into your lives. People are more likely to fulfill those expectations if they know what they are and how much they matter to you.

Justin Olsen, MA, ACMHC


Anastasia Pollock, MA, LCMHC, is clinical director at Life Stone Counseling Centers. She is certified in EMDR through EMDRIA. Learn more about her by visiting lifestonecenter.com or email info@lifestonecenter.com.

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