Many of us are experiencing the return to routine as our children return to school, playgroup and nursery following the summer holiday break. After what is often a very enjoyable summer, the routine can put us back into bad habits for family life.
As a family lawyer, working with couples both dealing with breakdowns of the relationship and protecting relationships, I have seen a number of situations where relationships deteriorate over what appears to have been simple issues that have become unresolvable. Over this period of time, I have learnt a lot about why relationships fail and often see the practical consequences of not taking care of your relationship.
I thought now would be a good to share with you what I think is the top 10 tips for maintaining a good relationship with your partner.
1. Date Night
Although life is always busy, particularly when we have young children, making time together is a priority. Ensuring this is precious time where chores, tasks and admin are put to one side and time is spent talking to each other is treated as a priority. Although this can often be hard to find time to do, the value of this can be tremendous to maintaining communication particularly at stressful or busy times in your life.
I regularly see couples who have faced issues in their relationship based on financial difficulties, personal difficulties or parenting difficulties. In all of these situations the ability to communicate and talk those issues through massively improves the ability couples have to resolve conflict which maintains a good healthy relationship between them and shows good communication styles and skills for their children.
3. The Perfect Marriage
Try to remember there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. We all strive to have the best possible relationship we can, but often what we see on social media, in the general press and what is portrayed by those we meet is not as it appears and as the old age saying “what goes on behind closed doors” refers to is often that what appears perfect really is not what we would define as perfect. In an age of social media, it is often difficult not to compare our own relationship and life with those of others, which have been filtered to perfection. Keep in mind what you want from your relationship as your focus, rather than what others want from theirs.
4. Secrets and lies
Don’t keep secrets and don’t lie. Often the breakdown of a relationship can be traced back to a secret or a lie which unravels and can lead to a complete breakdown of trust. It is often difficult to undo this and rebuild that trust.
5. Think back
Try to remember what it is about your partner that made you fall in love with him or her. Often when the madness of family life takes over, remembering this helps us to remember why we continue to do the things we do and focus on what it is important in life.
6. Turn off your mobile!
Mobile phones in this day and age are often a cause of marital dispute particularly when we find ourselves attached to our phones for work, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all social medial demands. Making sure that we have “phone free” time whilst together and appreciating our spouse more than our phone is important.
Laughter is a key part of any positive relationship. Find it as often as you can.
8. Don’t put your marriage on hold
There can be a tendency to look to the next goal or milestone before making time to spend as a couple but much can happen to delay that putting the relationship on hold repeatedly. Often this means that there is resentment and in these situations if the time never comes, the marriage or relationship is not given a chance to prosper.
9. Be patient
It is often easy to express frustration and criticism of those that we are closest to. Try to encourage and be patient with your other half, to nurture the relationship rather than criticise it. The support from your spouse is often the things that helps us through the most difficult times.
10. Say sorry
We encourage our children to always say sorry but often this is the thing that we forget. It is not an easy thing to say and saying it has great value to those we love.
There is no right or wrong way to conduct a relationship but I genuinely believe these tips are ones that have shone through in my years as a family lawyer as reasons why relationships fail and how the situation can be very difficult if as much care were taken with our relationship as it is with many other parts of our lives.
Have a great week,
Claire Colbert: Mediator and Family Partner with Freeths
Claire has advised clients for over 16 years on all aspects of family law including dealing with disputes between couples and family members. Claire can help couples protecting themselves from financial claims and assist with agreeing arrangements for children.
Claire has experience in dealing with Child Maintenance Service appeals (formerly CSA). She assists parents dealing with school appeals for primary and secondary school places.
Claire is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an accredited specialist of Resolution and Law Society Family Law Panel member. Claire was awarded Family Law Associate of the year at the Jordan's family law awards in 2013.
What separates Claire from other expert lawyers is that she works hard to resolve issues amicably without the need for a court intervention, aiming to achieve constructive legal solutions quickly and cost effectively.
DDI: 01865 781182