By Julie Wales, Family & Special Needs Counsellor 
Who wouldn’t?! 
Great relationships make us feel better, boost our self-esteem and enhance our life. 
Yes, they take some effort to maintain, but nobody says it should not be fun and interesting! 
It is never too late to improve our relationships with our partners, family or friends. 
I love working with Couples and families who want to commit to improving things. At least they want to try to repair and enhance their communication, whilst also exploring their individual self-esteem and what roles they play in life and who they are as a person in and out of their relationships. 
Regret often comes from never trying. 

6 tips to help you get the relationship you really want 

1. Don’t bottle things up. 

Talk about what is bothering you. It can be really tempting to put off difficult conversations because you fear your partners response/reaction and you want to keep the peace. But the risk with this is that you keep putting off taking about things until you finally snap because tensions and resentment has been building over time. 

2. Speaking and listening with each other 

Face one another and hold hands if you wish. Decide who is going to talk and who is going to listen. 
When both of you are ready and relaxed, the talker begins. 
Every few sentences or so, the listener repeats back what the talker is saying. 
The listener is not allowed to interrupt, give advice or try to change or fix anything. Their attitude is that of an explorer visiting their partner’s world. 
When the listener repeats back what they have heard, they can ask, ‘'Have I got you?’' The speaker can respectfully correct them by saying something like, '‘You have, but' 
The listener can also ask, ‘'Is there more?’' The aim is to do this until the talker feels they have completed their inward exploration. 
It’s up to the talker to end the session. The listener gives the talker a very brief description of the ‘essence’ of what they just heard. 
It’s not about agreeing or seeking to win, rather the goal is to understand each other’s position. It is ok not to agree but be caring with each other. 
This is an easy exercise we can do together in a couples counselling session in a safe, non-judgemental space if it is more comfortable for you both. 

3. Practice 

Communication takes practice and the more you try the better you will build positive habits and commit to your relationship. Some days will be better than others and sometimes you may not manage at all, but don’t give up. With practice and having fun with it your relationship will be better. By giving your partner acknowledgement, appreciation and acceptance instead of blame, you’ll see a major change in how they listen and respond to you. Just think to yourself, would I like to feel loved or be right? 

4. Pick the time and place 

It’s important to make time and plan the right place to talk. If being at home will cause a row then it may help going outside for a walk or a drive together. A change of scenery can be a game changer when you are both calm and relaxed. 

5. Self-Care 

We need to look after our own well-being to be in a close relationship. Its vital to have your own self-care options or routine you follow and then being back in your couple is benefitted greatly. Have you got a hobby or exercise routine that you love doing? Self-care boosts our self esteem and lowers anxiety. 

6. Couple Time/Time spent together 

Having fun leisure time together is so important. Do you have regular date nights? Do you enjoy doing a hobby or interest together? Couple time is a wonderful opportunity for connection and affection which really enhances your relationship. Having fun in a family can also make an enormous difference for the better. Parent and Child time together having fun is usually what the child/teen desperately wants but may not be able to ask for. 
If you would like to discuss online counselling and support for you or your family, please do get in touch on 07412 651 894, or email I look forward to helping you! 
Tagged as: Family Counselling
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