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10 tips to grow as a couple

Being happy in a relationship is all about love. You are not surprised by that? It therefore sounds logical, simple and also seems simple. But why is it often not possible? SenNet relationship coach Ilse Reynders from Altero wants to explain that to you. She does this in a manual consisting of 10 tips that can create support to continue to grow as a couple. Because you can learn to love. Today tip 1 and 2.

“And they lived happily ever after … But how”

We want to love and continue to love. We long to be happy together forever, to stay together in love and harmony for 30, 40 years and longer. But in the meantime it is clear to everyone that this does not happen ‘automatically’.


” Living together is one big exercise in love.”

Living together on a daily basis means bridging differences again and again, again and again betting on each other. In fact, a relationship is one big exercise in love. And when we look around, we see that many do not succeed in this exercise.
But you can learn it

The good news is that you can learn to love; you can grow in love. ‘Love is a verb’ is the title of the well-known book by A. Vansteenwegen. A long-term relationship requires lasting commitment for each other and for the relationship. Anyone who thinks it all comes naturally or tries to live for years on falling in love from the beginning is wrong. After all, they end up ‘deceived’, just like those who expect that the partner should be able to ‘feel’ them.


A small ‘manual for love’ in 10 tips

You cannot communicate, you always communicate! Every behavior is communication and every communication is behavior In the following 3 magazines you will receive a small ‘manual in love’ in the form of 10 tips. The tips can create support to keep growing as a couple. Because that is of course the intention. Only those who are willing to continue to grow themselves will also be able to contribute to the growth of the relationship. The reverse is also true: by growing in your relationship, you also grow as a person!


Tip 1 – Give ‘relationship’ to your relationship

It is important to give sufficient attention and space to your relationship. Unlike in the past, we are all well trained today to focus on our own individuality: we have our own hobbies, friends, our own Facebook account, our own habits and principles … And we don’t want to deviate from that.

That in itself can only be welcomed. A life of its own in addition to a relational life keeps the relationship fascinating.

When two people have a relationship, however, it is important that the relationship receives sufficient attention, such as a flower that needs water. Certainly when both partners already had previous relationships or have been alone for some time, the flexibility and the desire to adapt a lot are sometimes lost. That can be a trap for a new relationship at a later age.
A relationship therefore requires sufficient common time to pay attention to each other: talk together, do fun things, make love, etc. In short, ‘being together’

An example from practice:

Wim no longer feels good in the relationship. He has been with his partner for a few years but feels that she is investing much less in the relationship than he does. He misses ‘together time’. In the matching interviews it becomes clear that he has different needs in this area than Els. She is fully engaged in the development of her career and is often abroad for this. The work and the contacts with the colleagues then completely occupy her. Once in the country, she would like to tighten up her contacts with friends and family. The frustrations with him lead to arguments. She wonders if she wants to commit … They decide to end the relationship.

Do: Show your feelings

Giving your relationship space also means expressing your feelings sufficiently. You also can say “I’m in love you” in many different ways and methods. It doesn’t always have to be those precise words, a small gesture sometimes says so much more. It is the thought that counts.


Tip 2 – Your words and behavior must be consistent

Certainly when both partners already had previous relationships or have been alone for a long time, the flexibility and the desire to adapt a lot are sometimes lost. Having a loving relationship is not something that must be ‘explained’, but rather ‘shown and experienced’ is becoming. This means that there must be coherence or agreement between what you say and what you do, but also between your various actions in themselves.

“When this coherence is lacking, you create distrust and an unsafe environment.”

For example, incoherence or things that do not match each other is that you say the words: “I love you”, but otherwise remain completely absent during important moments for your partner. After all, the first basic premise of communication says: ‘You cannot communicate, you always communicate! Every behavior is communication and every communication is behavior ‘
A lot of messages in relationships are given without words.

Just think of a pat on the back, giving a kiss, spontaneously bringing your partner a cup of coffee. Tensions and conflicts are also often expressed in this way.


An example from practice:

Rudy and Mia come for an interview because there has been ‘image without sound’ for weeks. The reason was a banal incident. Rudy criticized the way Mia baked the potatoes. Since then, only the much needed is said. Mia has also been refusing any form of physical intimacy for months.

Tensions and conflicts are also often uttered without words. The conversations reveal that Mia feels she is not appreciated for her efforts in the household and she is tired of criticizing what she does for her partner and the family . “If I don’t get recognition, then you won’t either” expresses herself in her refusing sex with her partner. By giving words to the behavior, the meaning becomes clear and a solution can be found to the underlying problems.

To do: Give your relationship sufficient time and attention and show that you like to see each other in words and actions. Those are the first steps to keep growing as a couple.

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