How well do you know your partner? Oftentimes we say we know them but find it difficult to buy them gifts or know what to do to help them on a daily basis. I often hear couples who have been together for a while, especially after the children leave the home, that they just don’t know each other anymore. The question is, did they ever know their partner?
We tend to start our relationships very much engaged with our partner, but after a while, and a short while at that, we tend to disengage as we become comfortable. We tend to settle in to being more about what we want and begin to focus on our own needs. Unfortunately, our partner does the same. One of the best ways to keep our joy up in the relationship is to spend time getting to know our partner. Intentionally spending time in conversation to find out their likes, dislikes, and what motivates them.
We did this in the beginning of the relationship when we were riding that high of the new relationship. The best way to connect is to find a ritual or routine that works for each of you where you can spend time getting to know each other. Have meaningful conversations that go deeper than simple likes or dislikes. The topic does not matter and can start out with “how was your day?” Then listen for queues to things that your partner liked and did not like and follow up with more questions with the goal of finding out what about that incident they liked or did not like.
I often use a simple example by asking my clients if they have a pet and continue with more probing questions. If they have a pet, I want to know what kind of pet, what is it about that kind of pet they like, what about that pet bothers them or they don’t like. If they do not have a pet, I want to know more about if they like pets and what is their underlying reasons for their likes and dislikes. By doing so, you find out more about who they are as a person wholly.
The goal is to learn more about your partner so that you can become more of a team member; a support system for them. You will find that gift-buying becomes much easier as well as being able to do little things for them that bring them joy or helping them to avoid things you know they will not like.
Charlie Bower, LPC Associate
My passion is relationships of all kinds. I have been working with people dealing with relationship issues, both professionally and personally, for several years and still see the potential in every relationship to not only survive, but to thrive. I also have experience with biblical and Christian counseling, which is also a passion of mine. However, I do not impose my beliefs on any client and have successfully navigated working with clients of varying world views and spiritual beliefs.