As humans, we are wired for connection. From the moment we are born, our brain is wired to connect and develop relationships. We look towards our parents or caregivers to meet our needs. We know from research on attachment that love and belonging are a significant part of our survival; it is essential to our well being just as food and shelter are. It is in our nature to seek the company of others and form relational bonds. As we continue to grow and develop, we seek relationships in which we share our experiences, seek comfort, happiness, and fulfilment. We chose people with whom we share our lives with.
Connecting with a significant other can be one of the most thrilling and wonderful experiences. When we connect with someone we love, we may experience joy and a sense of belonging. When I hear couples describe how they’ve met, oftentimes, they share fond and exciting memories. Their eyes light up and their body posture shifts, as they recall their first interactions. Getting to know each other feels thrilling and new. Each encounter, phone call, text message can bring a smile. We get to know each other’s routines, quirks, pet peeves, likes, dislikes, etc.
We can become so familiar with each other’s routine and so comfortable that before we know it, the “spark” or “excitement” has slowly faded away. We may wonder if there’s something wrong with us or if maybe there is something wrong with our partner or our relationship. This is normal! It doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you or your partner. To have a good relationship, and to sustain connection, takes a lot of work. It takes for each partner to be intentional and mindful of each other. If you are in a relationship, you may find these resources helpful to continue developing a closer bond with your partner.
Read Gottman together
“The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert”
John Gottman is a renowned clinical psychologist and a marriage researcher. Using decades of scientific data, he discovered why some marriages thrive and others fail. Gottman outlines seven principles that will build your emotional intelligence and lead to deeper connection with your partner. In this book, you will find helpful insights, questionnaires, and practical exercises to build a greater connection with your partner.
“Eight Dates: Essential conversations for a lifetime of love”
We develop connections through conversations. If you’ve been in a relationship for years, some of the conversation that brought you together may have become a routine. In this book, Gottman outlines empowering ways to engage in a conversation and date your partner. Eight Dates provides guidance on how to engage with your partner and how to listen in a way that is beneficial for you.
It can be challenging to find time to read a book together. However, it may be helpful to read independently and set aside time to connect with your partner to reflect on the material together. Reflecting on the material and processing with your partner may lead to deeper and meaningful conversations.
This is a simple tool for couples that creates a program specific to your relationship needs. This app is helpful in facilitating conversations on topics that are specific to you and your partner. As you create a profile, it will provide you with a brief assessment to gather information about you. The program is tailored to your needs based on your answers. Each topic provides you with a brief lesson, reflective questions, suggestions, and insight. After you complete a lesson, you will have an opportunity to review your answers and your partner’s answers. (Disclaimer: It’s a subscription based application).
Gottman Card Decks
This app has been developed by Gottman Institute. Information in this app is based on card decks from The Art and Science of Love workshop for couples In this app, you will find helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship such as, “Love Maps,” to get to know your partner, opportunity for date night ideas, or salsa decks to spice up your intimate relationship. This is a helpful tool for couples to engage in conversation and get to know each other’s world better.
Every couple gets stuck, and navigating through these moments takes work. It can be hard and at times it may seem like you’re facing the same challenges over and over. In these moments, you may find that you don’t even know where to begin. It may be helpful to reach out for professional support. We have a team of counselors that would be happy to work with you towards having a more fulfilling relationship. Don’t hesitate and give us a call today to schedule your appointment.
Written by therapist Viktor Terpay