Couples come to me with all sorts of relationship issues but they can always be sorted into two categories: prevention or improvement!
Some examples of issues that fall under the prevention category are solving excessive arguments, eliminating unnecessary jealousy and dealing with frustration towards a romantic partner’s changeable behaviour.
Some examples that fall under the improvement category are couples looking for more intimacy, understanding or romance in their relationship.
The thing with any of the above is that the people coming to me for relationship advice are not always concise about their particular issue and how it developed. It is so easy to settle into a relationship and become blissfully unaware of the value of continually working on and enriching certain aspects of it, until things start to go downhill that is.
Below is an exercise that will start to highlight areas of your relationship that might require some extra effort or attention. Even if you currently feel perfectly happy in your relationship, you will be surprised at how easy it is to further enrich it still.
As a result of doing this exercise, you are also likely to reveal exactly how fulfilling your relationship and indeed your partner really is for you…
A 10 minute exercise to improve your relationship:
This exercise is an adaptation of a popular writer’s technique called free writing. A lot of authors purportedly use free writing to coax ideas and thoughts out of their minds. It is a great tool for dipping into your subconscious thoughts; thoughts that would normally not be given much attention or rationalisation.
1) Open up a blank document on your computer (or use a pen and paper if you are faster at handwriting than typing).
2) Set a timer for ten minutes. You can do this exercise beyond ten minutes if you find that you are on a roll but make sure you continue for at least ten minutes.
3) Title the page “My Relationship”. The topic is anything and everything to do with your relationship. This includes things such as any positives and negatives or perhaps describing how you or your partner have changed over time. Anything related to your thoughts and feelings as well as practical aspects of the relationship should be written about.
It is important that you don’t prepare or think too much about what you are going to write prior to starting.
4) Write for 10 minutes without pausing. Don’t worry about any spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or indeed how it will even read. Leave everything you write as a continuous flow of thoughts and try not to glance back at previous sentences, even if it results in you repeating points.
To do this exercise properly you must write or type as fast as possible, without ever pausing. This may feel like an awkward thing to do but the key is to not give the logical part of your brain time to edit or overanalyse what you are writing.
If you sense you are approaching a blank, just write ANYTHING you can think of that will lead you into your next sentence, even if it sounds like nonsense. It is vital that you don’t pause to think about what you will write next.
5) Leave it 24 hours before you reread what you have written. You will have far greater epiphanies if you delay reviewing what you have written. This exercise works best if you have completely forgotten what you have written before going back over it.
Another recommended detail to decide beforehand is to not share what you write with anyone else, at least not at first. This refers specifically to sharing what you produce with your partner. If you think that what you write is going to be read by your partner, it will severely affect the honesty and detail that you go into, whether intentionally or not.
Do you have a spare 10 minutes right now? Then what are you waiting for! The rest of this article will be waiting for you when you return.
What this exercise will achieve:
You may well find that everything you have written is blissfully reassuring and does indeed reflect the perfect relationship for you.
However, if you were brutally honest while doing the above exercise, you are likely to reveal at least a few areas in your relationship worthy of improvement or attention.
One thing to notice is if you have written any excuses or justifications for certain aspects of the relationship that are perhaps not as fulfilling as they could be. This is a common technique used in real life to validate the relationships we are in, both romantically and socially. This is especially revealing if any excuses or justifications are directly related to your partner’s behaviour or actions.
What the above exercise will ultimately achieve is a more vivid idea of how fulfilling your relationship currently is and where it may be heading, as well as highlighting any key areas to focus your efforts.
I’ll leave any further details for you to discover by doing the exercise yourself. Of course, please return and let me know what you found out. 🙂
If you haven’t started already… give it a go now!