Let’s explore a subject that affects a lot of people and one I think that many individuals struggle with – relationships. While a committed, loving relationship can be one of the most rewarding parts of our lives, too often, we fall prey to cultural narratives that things are “meant to be” and just “fall into place.” These ideas make love seem like something that should ‘just happen’ and should require little to no work. This is an unfortunate misconception that often leads many couples astray and wondering why things didn’t work out.
Maintaining a healthy and resilient relationship takes work, care, and above all, communication. A report recently released by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, which looks broadly at the factors that lead to healthy, happy marriages, identifies communication as one of the most important factors in long-lasting intimate relationships.
Take, for instance, the relationship milestone of moving in together. For many couples this feels like a logical next step – be with the one you love and save money on rent, what could be better? Yet, regardless of how rational or beneficial a decision like this may seem, what is most important is that it is approached as a collaborative decision to be made together – through open and direct communication. The National Marriage Project’s report shows that couples who talked about and consciously decided to move in together were almost twice as likely to end up in a happy marriage as those couples who simply slid into it. This trend applies across other relationship milestones as well – it seems that couples who engage in open communication and make conscious decisions about important aspects of their relationships, on the whole, are happier than those that do not.
This month, I encourage you to talk to your partner. Communication is vitally important to a strong relationship, and the only way we can get better at communication is to practice it!
Sometimes, of course, there are issues that are a little too tough to talk out alone. When that’s the case, couples therapy can be very beneficial. If you would like to make an appointment with me for couples or individual therapy, feel free to request an appointment at my Hermosa Beach office. Don’t forget to check back to this blog periodically – I’ll be updating it with interesting tidbits and pieces of advice to help support you in every facet of life.