Rosenthal: Deepening a relationship takes effort
Vail CO, Colorado
Editor’s note: This is the second of two-part series.
The following is a continuation of ideas about how to deepen a relationship. Take turns talking together about your feelings, concerns, wishes and expectations regarding:
– How much effort do you expect each person to give to the relationship? How should it be dealt with if one person feels the other isn’t making much of an effort?
– What’s fun to you? How could you expand your notion of what’s fun? What role should having fun or play have in your relationship on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
– What helps you to feel loved, valued and cared for? What assists you in feeling close and connected? What interferes?
– Of what priority are travel and vacations to you? The frequency of travel? Where you wish to travel to?
– How important is neatness, cleanliness, appearance and personal hygiene to you?
– What priority does work take in your life? What priority should it take? What happens when one person feels the other is too consumed by work ” or that the relationship is becoming subordinate to and less important than work?
– When you become crabby, irritable, short-tempered or hard to be around, what would you like your partner to say or do? What should he/she not say or do?
– If there are children/grandchildren in your life ” or if you’re wanting there to be children in your future ” what role would you like your significant other to play? How would you like disagreements to be resolved about how to parent or how to discipline?
– How trusting of other people is your partner? What behaviors in your relationship would violate trust? To what extent do you have to continually prove that you’re trustworthy to each other? What needs to happen if trust were ever to be ruptured in your relationship?
– How would you like holidays, birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions to be honored?
– What would you like to see happen if ever there was a breakdown in communication, or if the connection between the two of you were to become weaker?
– How important is daily non-sexual affection to you? What is the right balance between the giving and receiving of affection? How should it be handled if affection were to become strained or diminished?
– What role does spirituality play in your relationship? What role would you like to play?
– Have your previous intimate relationships had major trust issues? How about issues around control? Honesty? Fidelity? Integrity? Sex? Money? Children? Family? Common interests? Time spent together? Poor communication? Loss of connection? If any of these issues were to become important in this relationship, how would you like them to be handled?
– Who’s primarily responsible for household chores (cooking, dishes, laundry, childcare, keeping the house straightened up and clean, shopping, yard work, etc.)? How do you want these tasks to be allocated?
– What are your feelings about sex, including frequency, fidelity, what’s desirable, what’s undesirable and what’s forbidden?
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him from his Web site, http://www.heartrelationships.com.