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Monday, March 20, 2023

Learning to Positively Manage your Relationship with your Spouse

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Our column in pairomantic on ‘the language of love’ in our first edition has sparked much more interest than we could ever have imagined. Among the major issues that puzzle many people all over the world is a one-word life and emotional process, ‘relationship’ or as many people call it ‘love.’ Relationships are so important to all of us. They are fruitful: however, can also be hurtful, and at worst, depressing. Yet, some people shine bright fully in their relationships, especially with a spouse. So then, relationships are not always a failure and not so depressing after all.


The first thing about a relationship is our expectations. And that is where the problem starts! We have higher expectations in a relationship but soon easily forget or overlook that the other partner too has his or her expectations as well. As your expectations are being met, you must, use the same intensity to meet the expectation of your spouse.

Secondly, one of the greatest expectations are physical presence and emotional fulfilment. The two are two sides of a coin and you can as well try to find out which one you prefer. Even better still, strive to find out carefully your spouse’s favourite. But before you do that, try the complimentary portion of the coin; the two sides of a coin co-exist, and this is how you should be as partners in a relationship. A relationship blossoms when you are present for each other. Presence is both physical and emotional. You are in a relationship because you need someone, just as they need you. That anyone of you assumes they do not need each other is an ultimate failure to grasp both your expectations and your partner’s as well. This is bound to negatively affect your relationship and lead to frustration, disappointment and utter failure.

Thirdly, and we did look at this in our first edition, love has its own language and phrases, both spoken and unspoken. Learn the language of love and most importantly, the words and phrases best understood by your spouse. That way, you can easily communicate with each other.

Physical Presence Adds to Sense of Commitment

It is good to be around each other as much as you can. Many people keep asking us, ‘What do you do when you are with each other?’ ‘What do I do when I’m around my spouse?’ As a start, mere physical presence implies ‘I am here for you.’ Secondly, let your physical presence be felt in various ways. This includes short (and long) conversations (according to your personality), and eye contact. Eye contact is very important. It says ‘I am with you.’ You must look at your spouse directly in the eyes as you talk to him/her. It is acceptable that most people are shy but you must learn that part of the language of love is to establish or make contact with your spouse. Eye contact and smiling establishes connection. It says ‘I am here’, ‘I am looking at you’, ‘I am happy when I see you and that is why I am here with you.’

The eye is a very powerful sensational organ. Use the power of the eye to develop your relationship further. Always compliment your wife. For example, tell her she is beautiful, of course, she is, but add other aspects such as comments on her hair, her lovely eyes, beautiful face, wonderful clothes, loving smile and her nice meals. Extend further to complement her new hairstyle, new dress, new red shoes walking style and all. For a man, this means several things. As much as you devote a lot of effort and spend time at work, try to allocate the remaining time to your spouse (and of course later to family). This includes a chat, walk, a meal together and going to bed together.

A relationship is a commitment. Subsequently, you must cut down on unimportant details such as drinking and socializing all the time with the ‘boys.’ Instead, make time for wonderful moments with your spouse and later, children. Try doing several chores together such as assisting with fetching water, washing, preparing a meal or dinner or you can do your favourite meal. Watching television or a movie together, making the bed, tendering flowers and other activities adds to the flavour of a relationship.

Remember, smiling to your partner nicely warms you up, just as it makes your partner feel ‘I am with the right partner and I am at the right place and this is my one and only love.’

Deceitful points, the sun did not set right!

Many people are easily taken in and thus deceived by excesses in the wrong things such as expensive houses, cars, clothes and other niceties. Be careful with expensive extravagance living such as travelling, eating, drinking and entertainment, unless of course they are accompanied by tender caring relationship. Instead, go for affection, intimacy, effective and affective communication and tenderness towards each other. If there is little or no intimacy, aggression, lots of passive endless arguments, continuous criticism or sulking, these are signs of underlying issues that need to be addressed before they get out of hand. Be careful that your partner is not exhausted by your love, or is carefully avoiding mentioning anything just in case you get into a row.

Be careful when your spouse avoids spending time with you. This includes working late, watching too much television or is ever on the Internet until you go to bed and sneaks in the bed when you have already fallen asleep, spending all night in a bar, spending time shopping or simply avoiding you.

Repairing a Broken Relationship

It is important that you work out your relationship. If the relationship is thriving, make it even more exciting and spend more time together so that you find more fulfilment in each other. If the relationship has various challenges, work out together to address them amicably and improve on it.

Firstly, spending time together is for your own good. Even if your partner was to watch you perform an activity, you still can spend the time together, for instance keeping you company as you work out in the gym or as you watch your favourite programme. He or she can watch you or keep you company in return.

Secondly, look for time together to chat, even if it means you going along to accomplish an activity such as going to work, to a place of worship (church or mosque) or better still, setting time aside for a chat. You can conveniently seek out time during weekends, public holidays or when you are on leave. Many couples who are working try to get leisure time to coincide with their leave. And it works just fine.

Being nice to your partner is equally important. This implies several things. For example, start repairing any broken ‘parts.’ This includes more intimate conversations between the two of you and on various topics. Discuss issues of mutual concern to create heightened interest.

Being good to your partner is important. The physical presence emphasizes your care and that you are concerned about the relationship. Similarly, you must cut down on excessive drinking and borrowing especially unmanageable loans. Your absence as a result of work and other engagement must also be balanced by adequate socialization with family and friends, that is work-life balance. Instead, share chores together and identify areas of common interest (including hobbies) so that you are able to do several activities together. This enhances teamwork and team spirit.

Above all, avoid negative words such as abusive words, sarcasm, sneering and endless criticisms.

Defensiveness and Sarcasm

Hints of constant criticism tend to put the other person down. Do not aim to be controlling or dismissive but accepting, loving and caring.

Listen and listen again. Some people call it listening ‘hard’. This is because it implies cautiously listening to what you do not just want to hear, and trying to perceive things from your partner’s point of view. Chances are, you always hear ‘new’ things or things you may have ignored altogether or considered as unimportant. But do not panic. Instead, take everything in its stride. Calmly apologies as need arises. You can also suggest your own comments and reach a consensus.

Way Forward, Moving On…….

Once you start talking together, you find yourselves continuously engaged again. Relationship building is a continuous process; it is progressive and not an end. Keep talking to each other and whenever it stops, always strive to reignite the fire.

It is important to learn to move on. Be careful with conflicting issues as they can be re-enacted, unfortunately with serious results. One of the major problems is a ‘crush’, a person whom you feel intimately attracted to and not necessarily your spouse. If you are not careful, the person you have a crush on or your ‘ex’ may become the standard against which other potential or current partners are measured. This becomes critical since they are not them.

It is also important to avoid being disillusioned, for example, where you improve an imaginary relationship into a real one. You try to imagine how the person is, or can be, but the other one is alive and interacting with you. This can be an area of constant conflict and may eventually lead to a fall out in the relationship.

Finally, it is good to acknowledge that we ‘all have imaginations of a (seeming) perfect partner, and how they should be, just like we have our ‘perfect self.’ In that case, it is also good to be realistic, but not absurd with fantasy. In the end, the object of our affection must be the person we love, we live with, is there for us and with us and whom we dearly cherish each day.

Relationship building is a continuous process; it is progressive and not an end. Once you start talking together, you find yourselves continuously engaged again. Keep talking to each other and whenever it stops, always strive to reignite the fire.

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Dr. Geoffrey Wangohttps://counsel-lingmagazine.co.ke/
Many people often ask me about my personal stand, my passion in life and how I got into Counselling Psychology and why in particular the establishment and writing in their favourite publication, The Counsel-ling Magazine. Colleagues and students, participants in various seminars and others suggested that I should include some information that would assist clients, practitioners and students to perhaps establish a career, or even assess and evaluate their ethical, moral and professional standards. Well, this allows for personal reflection and I feel it wise to include a few remarks about my fervour on counselling, mentoring and education as well as various aspects of life.
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