This article was originally published on PhiladelphiaMFT.com. Be sure to check out their site for professional relationship and sex advice.
When it comes to relationships, there is no universal blueprint. Every couple has their own responsibility to create a relationship script that works for them. Often times couples get caught up in trying to follow someone else’s blueprint and they find that it doesn’t work. What works for some other people may not necessarily work for you. Here are some tips to help you create a relationship that works for you and your partner:
1. Intimacy. How do you and your partner show love and affection? What do you expect from one another? How often do expect to have sex? These are all questions people often wrongly assume they are on the same page about. It is important to speak on these topics in depth in order to avoid mixed signals and arguments. Be honest about your expectations and desires even if they are different. You owe it to your partner to be transparent. Even if you both feel differently, there are ways to compromise that will leave you both feeling satisfied.
2. End Goals. Where do you want this relationship to go? Are you content with the level of commitment you have now? Do you want children? A house? These are just a few questions that need to be asked when trying to figure out where you want your relationship to head. Have this initial conversation early enough in the relationship so that if you and your partner do not agree on major points, you won’t have invested too much time. Also recognize that as time moves on, desires can change so it is important to periodically check in on where you both stand.
3. Communication and Resolution Styles. What mode of communication do you prefer? When do you prefer to discuss a disagreement? How do you express anger and frustration? Sadness and disappointment? Discussing the answers to these questions could save you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent arguing. Relationships are full of highs and lows. It is necessary to know each other’s communication and conflict resolution styles in order to make it through the rough times. Create a system that works for the both of you.
4. Outside Forces. Are you making decisions because it’s what is best for your relationship or because you feel pressure from others? Beware of letting outside forces dictate decisions inside your relationship. Outside forces can come in the form of other people, relationships, and even society as a whole. Make relationship decisions based upon what feels right for you and your partner, not what other’s say you should be doing.
Figure out how you want your relationship to look. How do you want it to look and feel? Communication is essential. Do what works for you and your partner. If you are having any trouble working on your relationship blueprint, the therapists at Philadelphia MFT are here to help.
Malyka Cardwell is a Couple and Family Therapist based in the Philadelphia. Malyka graduated with a BS in Psychology and a minor in English from Old Dominion University. She then went on to study at Thomas Jefferson University’s Couple and Family Therapy program with a specialization in Sex Therapy. To contact her for professional help email her here: MCardwell@PhiladelphiaMFT.com.