Couple’s therapy can be expensive. According to marketwatch.com, sessions can cost upwards of $200 per hour. Luckily, Dr. Pepper Schwartz, AARP’s Love & Relationship Expert and panelist on A&E’sMarried at First Sight,and Dr. Lana Staheli, interpersonal relationship and life strategy consultant, have six effective techniques to help sidestep the drama. They are the coauthors of Snap Strategies for Couples: 40 Fast Fixes for Every Day Relationship Pitfalls, out from Seal Press in May.
The Snap: Log into life: Be present and engaged with your partner.
Have connection without distraction. You’ll see couples having dinner together, but really, they’re on their phones, sending texts, or opening up
websites to show each other. There is no exchange of the senses, no touch, no scent, no eye contact, nothing sensual at all.Turn off the web and turn on your partner.
2. Don’t Doubt Your Partner’s Intentions
The Snap: Assume goodwill from your partner and show goodwill to your partner.
It is easy to think the worst. It is easy to feel that your partner just does what he or she wants to do, without concern for you. You may whip up a whole scenario about how selfish your partner is, about how he or she doesn’t take your feelings into account. But we notice that many of us make assumptions that are terribly wrong. Assume goodwill. Believe he or she wants the best for you, even if it’s difficult. Your partner may not always get it right or act according to your needs and expectations, but he or she is not intentionally trying to disappoint you or make you mad. Assuming good intent is the best course of action.
3. Give Compliments
The Snap: Compliments feed loving relationships. Feed yours daily.
In the early stages of a relationship we are usually love-struck, adoring, and effusive with all kinds of compliments. Over time, however, these mating hormones subside. In fact, studies show that only about a quarter of couples regularly compliment each other. We highly encourage learning to compliment your partner as your lover, your friend, and your helpmate at least once a day! Look at your partner in a warm and loving light. Plus, a sincere compliment is a great aphrodisiac.
4. Plan Sex
The Snap: You schedule everything else that’s important to you!
Multiple studies clearly show that people who have active sexual relationships that include orgasms are healthier and happier than those who do not, yet sex can drift into the background of busy lives. We believe it is essential to schedule time in advance that is reserved exclusively for enjoying one another physically. Scheduling sex does not cramp sexual desire. What it does do is make sure that sex happens. We schedule dinner parties, dates with friends, and playdates for kids and don’t think of those as inauthentic or forced.
The Snap: Dessert first, please.
Most couples would have a better sex life if they stopped making it the last thing they do in the day. If you are more energetic and awake, sex will be more energetic and innovative. Better to have sex together first and a peanut butter sandwich later than to make or go out to an elaborate dinner and be too full to want to make love. Try switching up the traditional order of events. Sex first, dinner later.
6. Being Grateful
The Snap: Give gratitude lavishly.
Giving gratitude is so important: it adds warmth to the emotional climate of any household. Giving and receiving it can make your own heart expand and your partner’s expression glow. Sometimes it really is as simple as a few words and a grateful look, and those endorphins start flowing. The recognition of gratitude is the first step; the second step is expressing it.
Seal Press publishes books by and for women, with the goal of informing women’s lives. Founded in 1976 to provide a forum for women writers and feminist issues, Seal has since published groundbreaking books that represent the diverse voices and interests of women—their lives, literature, and concerns. Seal’s authors are radical and original thinkers, professionals with a distinct point of view, gutsy explorers, truth-tellers, and writers who engender laughter, tears, and rage.