Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Want to ‘fix’ your relationship? 5 Steps to begin the healing process

There’s no denying that 2020 was a tough year for us all. The stress and anxiety of the pandemic had a huge impact on relationships.

While some people found comfort in their partners, others realised that their relationships were not as strong and supportive as they thought they were.

The crisis helped shine a light on all the cracks that couples tend to ignore. The good news is that these cracks can be repaired.

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

If your new year’s resolution is to work on your relationship, here are 5 steps to follow to begin the healing process:

1.      Ask yourself WHY you want to fix your relationship

Think about the process of losing weight. You can Google all the diets you want, but if you haven’t made the head shift, and you haven’t committed to sticking to your new diet, you might as well not bother. Don’t keep telling yourself, “I will start on Monday!”.

The same applies to your relationship. You have to have the right motivation to start the process of fixing the relationship.

You cannot “do it for the kids”, or for your family, or just because it is the right thing to do. You need to do it for yourself.

2.      Schedule time for each other

This is critical! You must plan to spend time together because if you don’t plan it, it won’t happen.

When you choose a day of the week to spend time together, make sure that is going to be “us” time.

I personally enjoy scheduling date night with my hubby on Wednesday evenings – a mid-week outing! Plus, if possible, another date night over the weekend. It doesn’t have to be an expensive meal out. You can stay home and eat last night’s leftovers as long as it’s just the two of you, and you are spending time together.

When you decide on a date night, be specific about whose date night it is going to be. Each of you needs to take charge of a date night, and plan it so that it’s special for your partner.

If your date night is cancelled suddenly, make sure to reschedule within two days.

3.      Apply basic manners!

What happened to your manners two years into your relationship? When did you stop saying ‘thank you’ for supper, or ‘you look great’, or ‘let me help you with that’.

Show respect when it comes to inviting your phone into your relationship. Don’t message friends, browse social media, or play games on your phone when your partner is in the room. If they are talking to you, put your phone away completely.

4.      Draw up a roster for day-to-day duties and responsibilities

This is one of the FIRST things I get couples to do when they start the counselling process with me. Structure is important for relationships.

Draw up a roster for the household which includes all duties, chores, and reminders for the entire week from Monday to Sunday. It shouldn’t be just one person’s job to ensure the household runs effectively. You are a family, you need to work together as a team. Your kids also need to be part of the roster and shoulder some responsibilities that are age-appropriate. For example, tidying up their rooms, helping to take dirty dishes to the kitchen after mealtimes.

Family meetings are not just for the President. Schedule a regular ‘family evening’ once a week where you and your family eat a meal together at the table and enjoy time together.

5.      Seek Professional Help!

While this can come at a cost, it is a worthwhile investment into your relationship and your future.

Don’t try to DIY the important stuff. Like repairing your car, or having alterations done on your house, your relationship sometimes requires professional input in order for you to get the best results.

An objective, professional opinion is important when it comes to resolving conflict.

How do you choose a therapist?

Make sure that you are the correct fit for each other. You don’t have to ‘stick’ with the first therapist you see. There are many different therapy styles, and each therapist has a unique personality and way of conducting their sessions.

You need to feel safe and comfortable with someone so that you can share personal information. Your therapist is going to go on a journey with you, so make sure you feel like they will be a good guide.

After your first session, evaluate how you feel and decide whether or not you would like to seek help from someone else, or continue your journey.

Last year was tough. We all struggled to just make it through, but it did teach us a lot. Let’s make this year better. Let 2021 be a year of working on relationships, and seeing them thrive!