Healthy Relationship Exercises
Many of these concepts are based off of the work of the Gottmans and James Hollis.
1) Be kind to each other. Say at least 3 nice things to your partner every day until it becomes habit. These should be genuine and the intention behind the words should be to show love and appreciation.
e.g. “I really appreciate the way you make the bed every morning” or, “I like the way you hold the door for strangers.”
2) Encourage your partner. Praise and encouragement are different. Praise has no back ground (e.g. You are so great! Good job!”), whereas encouragement offers a reason for the compliment (e.g. “I think you are so great because of the way you manage to work full time and run your side business” or, “wow, I really think you did a lovely job of painting the fence, the paint is even and precise.”). Encouragement is specific and feels good.
3) Kiss your partner for more than 5 seconds once a day! A kiss is a powerful thing. Honor each other and take time for a proper kiss!
4) Try to solve problems together, not against each other. Ask yourself, what is the problem? Is it actually a problem? What will it look like when it is solved? How will I feel when it is solved? How can I help my partner with their problem? If you can’t imagine what it will look like when the problem is solved there is a chance that your problem is not an external problem, but rather an internal issue. In this case it might be helpful to review the situation and ask yourself what you are really upset about. What would have to happen for you to feel better? Why would it work to help you feel better? Usually the root of the issue can be found from there, but if not it might be helpful to talk to professional.
5) Go out on a date at least once a week. Leave the phones at home. Connect with your partner!
6) Work on your friendship. The basis for a great intimate relationship is friendship. Do things together, go out with others together. Respect each other. Ask yourself, “Would I treat a friend this way?”
7) Respond to bids for attention. If your partner asks you a question answer them. If you need some time to yourself let your partner know. It is important to respond to your partner and treat them with respect.
8) You are a team, come up with a team motto together.
9) Go out with other healthy people in healthy relationships. Who you surround yourself with influences how you work within the world. Surround yourself with happy, healthy, people.
10) Be an individual. You must still develop your own psyche and work on the things you want to work on. If you become too enmeshed you loose yourself and could start to resent your partner. Be two individuals who choose to be together.