You work on your couple goals. The chance that everything will run smoothly without friction is quite small. Communication, love and intimacy are among other important factors in a good relationship.
Feeling good with each other, understanding and valuing each other’s opinions help when you love someone.
Love in your relationship ensures that you grow as an individual and that you are confident in life. Love does not only create “likes”, it also often has the following effects:
Self-development: discovering new things with a partner who helps you discover and motivates new talents in yourself.
Confirmation: Your partner indicates that they agree with your view of the world and the goals you have. Confirmation creates a sense of security.
Self-knowledge: your partner shows you how you are put together. You are given the opportunity to get to know your positive and negative qualities and to work on yourself.
Support: You know that you can turn to your partner in difficult moments.
Perspective: Your future perspective becomes clearer by indicating what common goal you are working towards. As a couple you decide together which direction you want to go.
What is intimacy?
Intimacy is the desire to be vulnerable, to give and receive emotional support, and to share your feelings and experiences with confidence.
When we think of physical intimacy, we often think of sex. Intimacy is also hugging, walking arm in arm, lying in each other’s arms.
Emotional intimacy means sharing your feelings with each other.
Physical intimacy and emotional intimacy can exist separately. You can click with someone without having physical contact or make love to someone with whom you don’t really have a special bond.
Not everyone can or dares to be intimate all the time.
Working on your couple goals
Love comes naturally. You don’t have to do anything for that yourself, love does require lasting efforts.
There are eight basic elements for this:
acceptance: you accept the other as he or she is, even in difficult moments.
positive illusions: seeing the best in the other. This highlights the lesser aspects in a more positive way.
physicality: physical contact and being close to each other
attention: showing interest and understanding and being considerate to your partner
togetherness: having a ‘we’ feeling
independence: being yourself, having a positive self-image, even without your partner
tension: breaking the routine of everyday life and trying new things
Safety: In every relationship you are regularly confronted with problems. To reach quality couple goals, it is important that both partners can express their emotions and that they can resolve and resolve conflicts.
Communication and conflict resolution
Communication plays a central role in a love relationship. It is not always easy to talk well to each other, to articulate your thoughts and to make contact with the other person.
There are a number of guidelines for this:
Give unambiguous messages: make sure that what you say, do and feel is in agreement. Avoid ambiguities.
listen actively: keep asking and check whether you understand the other person is correct instead of immediately coming up with an answer or solution.
Be specific: avoid generalizations (like “we never do anything fun together”) and rather suggest things (shall we eat out once a week?)
don’t make assumptions: avoid drawing conclusions based on your image of your partner
limit yourself to the here and now: if you start talking about the past, your partner can’t do anything with it. If you reduce something in him or her to a character trait, you leave no room for change.
stand up for yourself: be resilient in a self-conscious way. Assertiveness is healthy: you have to know and value yourself.
do not prescribe anything to the other: do not tell the other how it should be done. Your partner has his own vision and conscience. Give him or her time to act on it.
show understanding: empathize with the other person and confirm him or her. Those who can put themselves in someone else’s shoes and acknowledge his or her feelings, will sooner experience that the other also actively wants to look for solutions. Make it clear that you can not only follow the other person’s reasoning, but that you have also understood their experiences and the emotions that go with it.
express yourself positively: pay attention to what the other does well. Encourage that behavior. Focusing on what’s bad or what you don’t want won’t help.
talk in the I-form: for example do not say: “you can never admit you are wrong” but “I have a problem with you not admitting you wrong”
Read all about arguing in your relationship and resolving conflicts
Criticizing your partner: how do you do that?
General criticism is criticism about how you are, without making a distinction between situations. Then you say, for example, “you are always late”.
You can’t argue with such criticism and it’s
seems like nothing can be changed. This is often very hurtful. It seems like a rejection of who you are.
Specific criticism is criticism about something specific that happened. The latter should be possible and you can learn something.
For example: “I waited for you for half an hour tonight, how come you are late?” Such criticism is constructive and inviting.
How do you know if your relationship is good?
There is no relationship test that can tell you whether your relationship is good or bad. There are some good signs though:
equality: you are equal, no one is the boss
safety, trust and care for each other: you do not intentionally hurt each other respect and acceptance: in every relationship there are differences between partner, which you cannot always change. In a good relationship you have respect for each other and for each other’s differences.
Are you still in doubt? Ask yourself:
Do I feel free and happy with my partner?
Do I feel like I can talk about what’s bothering me?
Can I be myself?
Phases in a long relationship
Every relationship is unique. Yet most long-term relationships follow a pattern that can be divided into 5 phases:
You make an effort to get to know each other well. You grow closer and want to spend a lot of time together. There is a lot of physical contact, sex, excitement and tension.
Become a couple
You get to know your partner’s needs and lifestyle. You feel more and more comfortable with him. You get used to each other. You also get to know each other’s downsides.
being a couple with couple goals
You become completely at ease with your partner. The sexual relationship feels (usually) good and familiar. Some couples experience relational or sexual problems, for example if the sex drive decreases.
Finding your own way (back)
Slowly you rediscover your own self. You again make more time for what you enjoy yourself, apart from your partner. Many look for their own hobby or meet up with friends again.
Collaboration and Adaptation
You discover together how you can live together as an individual. You trust each other. Differences are accepted and there is no more fear of rejection from your partner. You adapt to the changes, instead of constantly questioning the relationship.
Note: These phases are not a manual for your relationship. But it can reassure you and give you a realistic picture of how relationships might work.