Updated: Mar 15
The holiday period is a great time to reflect on your relationship. This is because during the season, we often take time to look back on the previous or past years. Sometimes couples get so caught up during the year with financial, work, or family stress related issues that arise that they forget that the foundation of the family is built on the connection of the couple. If you are looking for ways to improve your relationship, the good news is that it is very possible to enhance the quality of your relationship with your partner simply by taking the time to do so together. While this may seem a bit difficult for some, the first practical step is simply to acknowledge where you are now and be entirely honest about it. Without blaming anyone, even if this sounds scary.
The holidays can be an emotional rollercoaster, but a perfect time to tune into the ups and downs that may be coming up. For many, it’s the ghosts of Christmas past, reminiscing the shared moments with loved ones who are no longer with us. For others, it may be the joy of that memorable holiday gift or the stress brought on by family reunions or holiday shopping. Since the holiday period stirs up old emotions from both past childhood experiences and more recent ones, now is a good time to be vulnerable with your partner to talk about how you might be feeling.
Relationships are one of the things that matters most, but the most difficult relationships are often for those who are romantically involved. On the emotional side, an intimate relationship requires a solid foundation of love for one another, but one that includes communication, trust, integrity and compassion. It should bring awareness to their relationship itself and grow closer over time. On the physical side, it should embrace touch and comfort in each other’s sexuality in order to deepen the relationship.
At the root of all this is the awareness into your relationship. In order for your relationship to deepen, strengthen and become more loving you must realize that love is choice. Most of us are not aware how our daily actions and engagements are affecting and relating to our partners. It’s not until we bring it to awareness that we can consciously understand the choices that we make and the ones we allow.
In order to be aware in our relationship we need to talk about the things we often hide from each other. This means having the courage to confront our fears. Without these conversations, the relationship will remain mostly a façade for who we really are. The naked truth deepens the connection with your partner. It begins the process of authenticity in it and it sheds the internal struggles that often lead to infidelities, addictions, and even disease. The best way to begin to have these talks is to let your partner know your intentions. Let them know that you would like to create a stronger, deeper, more authentic relationship. Let them know that the process will take courage and time, but will eventually allow you both to fully connect in ways you probably never have. Agree to be non-judgmental and to create a safe space with one another. Allow yourselves to be yourselves and start talking about what may be on your mind or on theirs. Practice, deeper conversations take time to evolve and understand. Sometimes couples need professional help to learn to create the safe non-judgmental space. However one of the exercises you can do to create a space is start by facing each other telling each other 3 things that you like about the time you’ve spent together, this decreases the defense system from coming up which blocks listening interaction to happen which we know tends to be an important part of communication. Spiritual guru Ram Dass describes the ultimate transparency. Imagine your partner knowing everything about you including all the things you do not like about yourself. Imagine them knowing all of the things you’ve ever been ashamed of, but they can still love you unconditionally. Accepting yourself as well as allowing someone to truly know you and accept you can be true eroticism and an unbelievable ride.
Here are some techniques that strengthen our connection and deepen our intimacy:
Schedule time for you and your partner.
With all the hustle of the holiday period, most couples are stressed, overwhelmed, and pulled in all directions. It is easy to forget the importance of balancing your relationship during this harsh and demanding period of the year. Ensure that you create time for your relationship. Disconnect from social media and give your relationship some quality time without needing to report it on Facebook. Share three things you like about the time you’ve spent together.
Share with your partner whatever comes up for you when you think of the things you like. This can be about anything, so it can be silly, fun or serious. This exercise is more about creating space for the relationship to grow and deepen on what is already exist. Honor your partner and relationship by voicing what’s already there.
Have an open conversation about what this year has been like for you.
Discuss important points, such as how both might be feeling and ensure that you share and appreciate your feelings about each other. Check in with your partner and self on what the biggest worries or challenge’s you’ve had this past year. Ask yourselves how you’re doing in life, and what’s important for each of you in this moment in life.
Make out time to be alone with your partner.
Spending time alone with your partner has a way of recharging your mental, physical and emotional battery. It can freshen your appearance and boost your energy. Waking up early to have a brisk walk with your partner or go evening star gazing to reflect on the your place in the universe.
Do not allow this holiday to just be “just another holiday”. Put aside the overwhelming to-do lists, events and financial value behind gifts and reflect on your relationship. Take your time and make necessary efforts to improve on your relationship during the holiday and set the precedence to connect to your relationship throughout the New Year. The efforts you make today will enhance your communication and intimacy both in unimaginable ways. More than any gift you can buy to show your partner love, it will bring you and your partner growth, authenticity, happiness and love.
Co-founder of the Love Discovery Institute, Dr. Carolina Pataky is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Certified Sex Therapist . Recognized as one of South Florida’s leading authorities on intimacy, relationships and self-discovery. Her focus is to give individuals and couples of any sexual preference the tools to learn how to love themselves unconditionally, receive love, and create fulfilling and joyful relationships that will last a lifetime. Through private sessions, couples intensives and luxury retreats, she provides individual and couples coaching sessions, sex therapy, and psychotherapy practices that support clients through the journey of finding the right path to healthy love.Visit her website: www.lovediscovery.org