• Monique Harding

Want a great relationship? Work on your friendship!

Updated: Jun 4, 2018

Try to take yourself back to the first few months of your relationship with your partner. It’s likely that you were spending lots of time together. Whether it was mini golf, movies, cooking dinners or travel, most couples invest a lot of time in the early days in forming a solid friendship foundation. This in turn allows for love to blossom and grow.

Fast forward 3, 5, 10 or 20 years on and things may look a little different. You might be living together now, there’s a dog to look after, bills to pay, busy jobs and perhaps a couple of kids. Sometimes you and your partner may feel like ships in the night, barely seeing each other let alone sitting down for a good chat.

It is very common for couples to present to therapy with the complaint that they do not feel known by their partner anymore, that the relationship has become disconnected and they feel like individuals living completely different lives. They feel lost and a bit hopeless at how to get back to where they had once been.

Where to start? If you want a great relationship, you need to work on your friendship! Think of it like this – Ask yourself, how are you with your closest friends? What kinds of interactions do you share? When you speak to your closest friend or mate, what do your conversations look like?

With our friends, we tend to take interest in their lives. We are curious, accepting and encouraging. We take time to get to know their internal world and accept that this needs to be constantly updated as they change and grow. You wouldn’t give your best friend of 10 years the same gift you did for their 18th birthday on their 28th would you? I know my pal, Morgan probably wouldn’t be stoked with a Backstreet Boys CD these days. Your friends would hope that your knowledge of their likes, hopes, dreams and desires had transformed over the years. This is what keeps us connected.

So why do we seem to forget this with our partners? We tend to fall back into old knowledge and memories to keep us together. I know so many couples who complain about getting the same bottle of Chanel no.5 perfume or crime novel for Christmas from their partners every year. And guess what? It’s not about the gift! It never is! It’s the meaning behind the gift. My partner doesn’t know me…. They don’t care about me… etc.

If you’re feeling a bit disconnected from your significant other right now – start with the basics. Put the kids to bed, pour a glass of red wine, a soda water, a tea, whatever your drink of choice and get curious. Ask them about their day, how they are feeling about their life at the moment. Try to share the positives that you see in them – praise them when you can. Leave a little love note in the fridge before you leave for work or send a thoughtful text. Start small and try to make it a regular thing, as much as possible. It doesn’t need to be an elaborate dinner or holiday to bring back the spark. It really is all the little things that help to create long lasting positive change.

Contact Monique Harding at Ritual Counselling today to see if Couples Counselling may be the step that your relationships needs.

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