By Dr. Melissa Estavillo
1. Never Go to Bed Angry
It’s great advice for couples to talk out their distress and avoid going days without communicating. So if you argue in the morning, do your best to talk about it and try to find resolve before the day is done. However, all too often, arguments arise when we are the most stressed and fatigued. At these times, the topic can feel larger than life and becomes a “hill worth dying on!” More helpful advice is go to bed angry, get some sleep, and try again in the morning. Chances are, you both will be in a much better place to discuss the issue.
2. After Marriage, the Sex Goes Away
Not true! An active, passionate sex life is a sign of a healthy relationship. Sure, every relationship may experience slight shifts in desire after having a baby, losing a parent, or entering a stressful job. But, sex is a very healthy tool for coping, close connection, and maintaining a emotional bond. So if you’re experiencing a significant change in the quality or frequency of sex, talk about it. Take the time to discover the hurt, frustration, or disconnection that is actually causing the change in sexual frequency.
3. Don’t Act Too Needy
Worst. Advice. Ever.
Good relationships involve people who depend on each other, look to the other for support, and feel upset when their partner is not doing the same. Our relationships thrive on healthy dependency that involves sharing intimate feelings, thoughts, and worries. The more we embrace this healthy connection and find a partner who can do the same, the more we lower our anxiety, increase our confidence, and improve our ability to take new risks that lead to success. Total self-sufficiency kills relationships.
4. Time Heals All Wounds
A much better phrase would be, “Time makes all wounds fester.” Yuck!
When we feel deeply hurt by our partner, compassion, remorse, and empathy are the things that heal wounds. Time only leads to distancing, bitterness, and ultimately disconnection. After you’ve experienced hurt, try to heal and reconnect quickly. Don’t put off the conversation thinking that it will hurt less at another time. This thinking only leads us to disconnect and can become the beginning of the end.
5. Pick Your Battles
Who wants to fight all the time? So it seems logical to pick your battles and reduce the number of blow-ups your relationship is experiencing. But this thinking is fundamentally flawed. Good relationships talk about issues that are small and large. And, they find the way to do so without always leading to a battle or full fledged war. If your relationship is experiencing battles, this is ultimately the problem that needs to be fixed.
Dr. Melissa Estavillo is a Licensed Psychologist and founder of Biltmore Psychology and Counseling. With over 7 years of experience, she specializes in both individual and couples therapy in Phoenix and Scottsdale, AZ. She integrates complementary methodologies and techniques stemming from Emotionally Focused Theory, Psychodynamic Theory and Other Evidence Based Practices to offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each client.