Moving Towards a More Fulfilling Relationship — Katie Wenger LCSW

Katiewenger
4 min readMar 9, 2020

Time after time, even couples who can list multiple positive aspects of their relationship talk about wanting a more fulfilling relationship. This can be difficult, especially after many years of established patterns of behavior and dynamic and thoughts that have become habit. I believe change is always possible, though. It is not easy, but possible. My suggestion for individuals or couples is to start with focusing on empathetic and balanced communication with your partner along with acceptance of your partner(while maintaining accountability).

Empathetic & balanced communication is the foundation of a healthy relationship and is where to start to find a connected path together again. When a couple is arguing, they are often so entrenched in their own perspective and proving it correct, that they lose empathy for each other. They see the other person as an adversary and not as the loving partner that they know that they are in more rational and less emotional moments. Reminding yourself that this is someone that you love and who loves you and that even though their opinion differs from yours is deserving of your empathy can go along way. This keeps you emotionally connected even through a disagreement. The absence of this sows the seeds of resentment if empathy is ignored and this will cause difficulty as time goes on.

Balanced communication consists of the give and take in the exchange of ideas and opportunities to speak in a disagreement or everyday communication. This is similar to the balance that must exist in getting wants and needs met in a relationship. That is why we so frequently talk about really listening to your partner and giving them the opportunity to express their thoughts and then advocating for you to have the same opportunities and courtesy and engagement of active listening. Frequently overheard in a discussion about couples’ difficulties are points such as “they don’t listen to me”, “they don’t respect me”, and “they are not as thoughtful of me as I am of them”. Increasing balanced communication with your partner can address all three of these common complaints.

The other key area to start with in trying to heal a couple’s discord is something that does not appear regarded as much in our current society. The acceptance of differences in our partner and of their personality even if there are parts of them that you find that you do not like is crucial to maintaining your relationship. If you determine that these are deficits that you can live with and are not harmful, it is best to remember that this someone that you love, that is imperfect like everyone, and deserves love. None of us can control our partner or anyone else for that matter. However, you chose them for a reason, you are considering the option of fixing the relationship for a reason, so summon your grace and forgiveness skills to love them in spite of these differences.

It would be a mistake to not value accountability, though. Ensure that you maintain your accountability to your partner and that they maintain accountability to you. This shows that you are willing to look inward while also maintaining this expectation from your partner. Disagreements can not be healed (and become resentments if they’re not) if there is not some accountability taken. This does not mean taking the blame for the entire disagreement but owning your part in the hurt or miscommunication.

If you are trying to improve your relationship, are starting a relationship or you’re trying to take a new outlook for yourself to prepare for future relationships, start with exploration of these two concepts: the empathetic and balanced communication that you want to make sure is present and being accepting of your partner, their differences and personality, along with maintaining accountability.

Katie Wenger is a licensed psychotherapist working with individuals and couples in the areas of personality disorders, anxiety, and unhealthy relationship patterns in her office in North Wales, PA, online and by phone. She has also expanded outside of her role as a therapist to offer Relationship Consulting services to provide information and resources to improve relationship satisfaction and individual health. She has created an assessment tool called the Love Scan where individuals can submit videos in response to selected prompts about their relationship to receive feedback.

She can be found at:

katiewengerlcsw.com

myrelationshipconsultant.com

https://www.facebook.com/KatieWengerPA/

https://www.instagram.com/therelationshipconsultant/

Originally published at https://katiewengerlcsw.com on March 9, 2020.

--

--