We want all of our clients to feel valued and achieve emotional growth, including couples that come to us for counseling or guidance within their partnerships! Our team came together to offer five tips to grow closer with your partner.

Making Your Relationship A “Partnership” Is A Choice

A Garrett Counseling team member says, “We often are given or take on certain ‘roles’ that we are assigned by our family of origin or by our society/culture. For example, stereotypical gender-roles are often something most people still battle with in today’s society: (1) A partner feels completely boxed into a very old-fashioned, ‘female’ role – where caregiver for the home and children is their only value, or (2) In this example, the ‘male’ role is considered to be the ‘breadwinner,’ – far removed from sharing of any home and/or child rearing responsibilities. This way of thinking also can leave our friends & neighbors who identify as Non-Binary feeling completely left out of the entire conversation. It is so important for couples to recognize these situations as opportunities for the gaining of skills and the achievement growth.”

If you and your partner have established these roles and you both enjoy it, that is wonderful. The point is that the two of you have collaborated together to identify the best way for your partnership to flourish. The problem occurs when communication of these roles is missing and results in resentment!

Communication Is Key

One way you can improve communication with your partner today is to utilize your “Feelings Statements” skills. Feeling Statements are statements that we utilize to clearly and purposefully communicate feelings and needs to someone. These follow a very specific pattern: I feel _____, because _____. Feelings are never “wrong” or “right,” they simply are what they are. When you utilize this communication skill, there is less room to feel rejected, blamed, or attacked.

An example of this point:

“I feel mad because you are never home on time.” – Notice in this statement that the use
of “you” makes it difficult to hear anything else. It is difficult to not feel defensive when
hearing this.

“I feel hurt and overwhelmed because it is like I can’t depend on anyone but myself.” –
Do you notice the difference in this statement? Take the time to look within yourself to
identify what you are feeling and express that, rather than the “surface” or “reactive”

The Same, But Different

Our clinical director, Ginger Caudell, LPC, says, “One of the best things I have found with couples is to educate on the difference sex hormones make on the mind and body of adults. I talk about how men receive information through their knowledge of the emotional and relationships systems they are taught and I do the same for women. The bottom line is that men and women are not the same, so the help comes from learning how to speak the way the other hears. Hormones do matter because of the actual physical impact of the presence of the hormone, such as thicker skin tissue in men which causes slower bilateral processing than in a female. Culture comes into play as we look at how males are trained and language educated to use emotional words vs females who are taught far more language and encouraged to use it.”

How much emotional language have you and your partner been exposed to? How much of it did you acquire during childhood and use throughout your life? The language we utilize to express ourselves is often indicative of how properly understood our needs will be by our listeners.

Don’t Be Afraid To Look Within

Unresolved trauma, attachment issues, and dysfunctional coping patterns can take their toll on your loved ones, including your partner. If you haven’t done the self-work that leads to self-actualization, perhaps it is time to consider it. How can any relationship, new or seasoned, grow without each partner having a healthy understanding of themselves? Many achieve this understanding of self through individual counseling combined with couples counseling. Accredited/evidence based books, articles, podcasts, meditation, and time in nature can also be beneficial.

Nurture Your Relationship

Nurturing your relationship involves developing strong communication skills and results in a healthy, fulfilling relationship. When both partners trust each other, it helps to create a strong foundation for marriage. Spending quality time together, being supportive of one another, and showing affection can all improve intimacy between partners and help maintain a strong emotional and physical connection. A nurtured relationship will create an environment of happiness and contentment, and partners are more likely to feel satisfied and fulfilled in the relationship. Enhanced teamwork can also nurture a relationship and requires partners to work together as a team. This teamwork can also translate into other aspects of a couples’ life: parenting, finances, and facing challenges.

If you and your partner are looking for additional support as you seek to grow closer to one another, couples counseling can be a great benefit to all relationships. Our team provides couples counseling at our locations in Albertville / Boaz, Huntsville, Jacksonville, and Jasper, as well as online. Contact us today to learn more.

To read more about relationships and how to grow closer with your partner: