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If you have found yourself settling into a routine, and taking your partner or relationship for granted, then it’s time for you and your spouse to shake things up a bit. Make time to try something different — go to a place you haven’t been to before, try an activity a friend recommends, slow down or speed up your pace of doing things. And don’t assume that you already know everything there is to know about your partner. Consider areas of discovery, and set aside time to uncover them.

Go for separate-togetherness. Some couples are threatened when their partner has an active social life, or has invested a significant part of himself or herself in a career. But, as long as time for the family isn’t sacrificed, there is nothing wrong with each partner continuing to develop as individuals — and indeed, having a life outside marriage. In fact, affirming your partner’s individuality and asserting your own are necessary in a marriage; not just for both of you to grow, but for your marriage to thrive. Marriage should be a secure base to explore yourself and what you can be, not a prison that stifles your personality.

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Contrary to popular opinion, a healthy marriage is not based on knowing your spouse’s every move — both of you are entitled to keep things to yourself.  As long as there is trust, respect and commitment, it’s okay to fully develop yourself and your marriage.

These basic principles can help many of us set the stage for a healthier relationship – both in the short and long term. With an open mind and heart, as well as the willingness to learn and adapt over the course of a relationship, couples who take advantage of counseling and its principles often find they’re able to overcome even the most formidable of relationship issues.

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Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating Anxiety and Depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Brooklyn. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, email rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com or call 646-428-4723.