The month of February often spurs discussion around heart health. Mental health providers are most familiar with emotion-based, “heart strings”.
If you feel your romantic relationships or close friendships could use a “fine tuning”, keep reading for some communication points to consider.
Famously known for their research and couples work, John and Julie Gottman provide poignant suggestions that could benefit all types of relationships:
Define what trust and commitment looks like in the relationship for each party. How can you help each other feel safe and comfortable within the relationship?
Openly discuss the level of intimacy you are comfortable with in the relationship.
Determine emotional, physical, sexual, and mental boundaries with one another.
Communicate how personal growth and spirituality impact your relationship. Do you share with each other or is this something you choose to keep private?
Consider whether you share your hopes and dreams with each other. How do you feel supported by each other when these discussions ensue?
Identify how money may impact the relationship. Honest communication of financial ability and preference within the relationship can help prevent unintentional resentments.
Reconcile your differences with a curious, rather than an accusatory approach. Consider which differences might be situational or perpetual in the relationship. How do you seek to understand each other’s perspective without being disrespectful?
If you find yourself in need of education or practice with relationship communications, consider contacting a mental health professional. Whether you need practice with boundary setting and enforcement, assertive communication strategies, or conflict resolution, it’s likely there’s a professional out there that’s right for you.
Robin S Archer Phd
is the founder of Mindful Paths Network, a group supporting counselors in their own private practice missions to provide counseling services for children, adolescents, adults, groups, couples, and families experiencing a wide variety of behavioral and mental health concerns. Mindful Paths Network's newsletter addresses a variety of mental health concerns. This blog is an extension of the newsletter which is not currently available by email request.