4 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Improve Your Relationship

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Many advice columns chalk intimacy challenges up to being too busy or distracted. However, it’s important to understand that there are underlying factors that may prevent you from experiencing the true extent of your connection. So how can you improve your relationship?

In the intricate dance of human connection, relationships stand as the cornerstone of our emotional landscape. Long-term relationships especially can be amazing, fulfilling, and life-enhancing. It’s meaningful to know you are lovable – even once all of our flaws are revealed. Having a sense of safety, attachment and the support of a loving partner makes you feel like you’re not alone. 

At the same time, long-term relationships can also be very challenging. Without constant tending, couples may end up with negative communication and interaction patterns that lead to deep resentments. You might start taking your partner for granted, and the sexual excitement you felt early on can wane over time.

Here are 4 essential tools to help you improve your relationship right now:

1. Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes

One of the best ways to get out of those negative communication and interaction patterns is to put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Effective communication serves as the bedrock of any successful relationship. It’s not merely about speaking; it’s about truly listening and understanding one another.

When you and your partner have contrasting needs or differences of opinion, you start seeing each other as the enemy. You could even believe that, in their attempt to get a desire met or share an opinion, they are purposely trying to hurt you. This is almost never the case. The only time a person hurts their partner intentionally is when they feel so backed into a corner that they lash out.

Improve your relationship by seeing what it’s like to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. Start with the premise “my partner and I sometimes want different things or have different opinions. This is normal. They are not purposely trying to hurt me.”

Play the Empathy Game

With this in mind, try this game: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. You can do this together or, if it feels too vulnerable, do it as a writing exercise. 

Imagine that you are your partner. Present the argument they are making from their perspective, without including your own personal opinions, evaluations, or biases. See how much empathy you can feel and how non-judgmental you can be as you take their point of view. Allow their needs and opinions to be okay.

Think of your partner’s needs and boundaries as something that is for their benefit — not against yours. Bonus points if you can take some humor and distance to the situation! 

When done well, putting yourself in your partner’s shoes and arguing their point of view will help each of you feel more heard, understood, and ultimately improve the relationship.

2. Cultivate Generosity

Frequently, when we reach out to connect with our partner we do so to meet our own needs. 

Even if you know in your head that it’s better to give someone what they want, it’s way easier to just stick to what you’re comfortable with. Plus, if you’re feeling deprived of what you need, you might end up chasing after it, which just makes it even less likely that you’ll actually get it. 

This is where generosity emerges as a transformative force in a relationship. It’s not just about giving – it’s about being completely selfless and understanding. When you’re generous, you’re going above and beyond to show kindness and support to your partner. 

It could be something small, like a gesture of appreciation, or something big that shows how devoted you are. Either way, acts of generosity are important because they build trust and make your emotional connection even stronger.

Being generous also sets the stage for a back-and-forth of care and love. When you give without expecting anything in return, you create a dynamic where you both support and appreciate each other. 

3. Create a Safe Container Where You Can Ask for One Thing Sexually

It can never be said enough: if you don’t build an intentional relationship, communicate clearly, and be creative, you will likely end up in a low sex, sexless, or sexually boring relationship.

The time when you can expect sex to happen spontaneously is over. The time to have honest, non-judgmental, supportive conversations about what each of you wants is NOW. Creating a safe container means that you and your partner get to ask for something they want without judgment.

While something that your partner wants might feel scary, there is nothing inherently wrong with their desires. It is important to talk about it and not to shame them. It’s ok to have your own boundaries

If there is something they ask and you don’t feel good giving it – see if there is a way to play with it. For example, if you don’t want to do what they are asking for, are you willing to verbally fantasize about doing it?

Finally – it’s possible you’ve asked for something from your partner they don’t know how to give. In those cases, lovingly, patiently, and non-critically teach them how to give it to you.

4. Offer Genuine Validation & Support

Offering validation and support to your partner during challenging times, affirming their emotions and providing a safe space for expression can be a game changer. 

Rather than trying to fix a problem, focus on offering empathy, encouragement, and practical assistance. By showing up for each other with understanding and support, you foster a sense of real security and trust within your relationship.

How a Relationship Coach Can Help You Improve Your Connection

As you embark on this journey of relationship improvement, remember that progress takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself and your partner, celebrating each step forward along the way. 

Sometimes however, to navigate the many more dire implications of poor communication in a relationship, it’s often a good idea to see a professional relationship coach

A relationship coach, and especially an experiential coach, can be extremely effective in helping you address your issues and find solutions that work for both partners. A Somatica coach has extensive training in relationship dynamics so they are able to uncover and help you understand the exact reasons your communication has broken down. 

It’s perhaps also helpful to discuss and explore all options with your coach in finding the appropriate relationship structure that can give you both lasting happiness and intimacy.

Find a professional sex coach near you or by expertise now.

Danielle Harel
Danielle Harelhttps://www.somaticainstitute.com/faculty/danielle-harel/
Dr. Danielle Harel is the the co-creator of the Somatica® Method and the co-founder of the Somatica® Institute. She has a Ph.D. in Human Sexuality (DHS), a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work (MSW), and a Bachelors (BA) degree in Psychology and Educational Counseling.

As a somatic sexologist, professor, and author, Danielle has devoted the last 20 years to resolving her client’s sexual challenges, training sex & relationship coaches, and empowering people. Harnessing her extensive training in sexology, psychology, and body-based modalities like Hakomi, attachment theory, character theory, and neuro-patterning, she guides people in reaching their fullest personal, professional, and sexual potential.

In addition to being faculty at Esalen and teaching the Advanced Somatica Training and Mastery Classes, Danielle has most recently embraced the adventure of co-producing the TV series Here She Comes – an episodic based on the Somatica Method (currently in production).

Before that, she published original research on Orgasmic Birth, and co-authored 3 books with Celeste Hirschman: Cockfidence, Making Love Real, and Coming Together.

She has also written extensively on sex, relationships, and dating, and is frequently quoted as an expert resource in publications.

To everything she does, Danielle brings her unparalleled passion, depth, intuition, and magnetizing personality.

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