adaptation look effortless (even though it most certainly was not). Some of it comes from being a clinician with over thirty years of experience helping couples in distress. Some of it comes from being a student and studying Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. Some of it comes from the research of a number of stellar researchers, especially John Gottman. Here are six crucial insights:
1. Nurture each other. One overriding rule: intimate relationships are nurturing relationships. Everyone realizes that children need to be cherished and supported for healthy development. Well, your romantic partner needs you to encourage and nourish him/her everyday as well. Paying careful attention to your partner and giving yourself in this way to him/her will create a very powerful bond of love and trust between you.
2. Actions speak louder than words. It's easy to say, "I love you." If you've got the money, it's easy to buy gifts. But the best gift of all is your focus and attention. What’s going on in your partner's day, week, or month? Is his mother sick? How did the meeting with the school go? Is she still upset with her boss? If you forget to ask about important events and feelings, your partner will assume that you're not interested in connection, and that something or someone else is more important to you than they are. If you know that you are a forgetful person but you want to remember the details of what is important to your partner, it's kosher to write a little note to remind yourself to ask about x, y, or z. Writing the note shows your intent to be involved in their life. Calling or texting to ask about your partner’s experience each day is a very loving and romantic action.
3. Give the ultimate gift.