Intimate relationships are often one of the happiest portions of a person’s life. Romantic relationships can keep you going on tough days and ground you to what matters most.
Whether you’ve been married for 10 years or 5 months, however, every relationship can benefit from intentional action to improve its functionality, and each member’s enjoyment of the relationship and time spent together.
These actions don’t necessarily need to be extravagant in nature, but rather can be accomplished in a few minutes each day. Each week I will offer one action that can immediately improve your relationship, for both of your benefit.
Week 1 | Actively Listen
Focus on actively listening to your spouse. Actively listening is different than having one eye on the tv, and the other on your spouse who is telling you about their day. Taking the time to communicate in a way that is meaningful can make each partner feel more validated, and important to the other. Focus on the meaning of what your partner is saying, mirror and reflect what they’ve told you, and ask them questions to understand exactly what they’re getting at. It may seem simple, but having your partner really listen to you, especially on a day when it feels like no one else is obligated to, can make you feel connected to each other in a very intimate way, which is really the foundation of any meaningful relationship.
Konstantin Lukin, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist in Ridgewood and Hoboken, NJ. He has extensive clinical and research experience spanning individuals of all ages, in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He specializes in men’s issues, couple’s counseling, and relationship problems. His therapeutic approach focuses on providing support and practical feedback to help patients effectively address personal challenges. He integrates complementary modalities and techniques to offer a personalized approach tailored to each patient. He has been trained in cognitive-behavioral, dialectical behavior, schema-focused, and emotionally focused therapy, and has also been involved with research projects throughout his career, including two National Institute of Mental Health-funded studies. He is a member of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, New Jersey Psychological Association, Northeast Counties Association of Psychologists, New York State Psychological Association, The International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, The New York Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, the International OCD Foundation, the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science (ACSB) and a regular contributor to Psychology Today.