Around Valentine’s Day, couples often think about how to grow in their relationship. Flowers and chocolates are a well-appreciated classic; however, the small moments that are most impactful in relationships cannot be bought. If you and your partner are facing relationship stressors, simply taking time to learn about relationships is beneficial. A 2013 literature review of relationship education interventions found that learning more about strengthening relationships consistently increases relationship satisfaction .
Techniques from couples therapy can easily be applied to everyday life. Many individuals think that the activities from couples therapy are only for those who are in strained relationships, but these practices should also be done in healthy relationships to maintain the emotional bond.
Why are Therapeutic Exercises Important for Couples?
Enacting therapeutic exercises has been shown to reliably bolster relationships. A 2016 review found that cognitive behavioral couples therapy (CBCT) interventions consistently improve relationship quality . Another form of therapy, solution focused couples therapy (SFCT), has also been found to be effective. A randomized clinical trial found that couples receiving a solution focused couples therapy intervention were significantly more likely to report lower levels of relationship burnout than a control group . The success of both CBCT and SFCT rely on consistently practicing therapeutic exercises between sessions. Even if you and your partner aren’t in couples therapy, these therapeutic activities are easy to incorporate into your daily routine, deepen your relationship, and decrease conflicts.
3 Therapeutic Practices to do with your Partner
- Activity Scheduling
Activity scheduling involves intentionally planning a future event or action, such as taking time for exercising or self-care. In romantic relationships, activity scheduling usually means planning a date night. A recent review from the University of Virginia found that setting aside “couples time” once a week was related to increased perceptions of happiness, higher levels of communication, improved reports of physical intimacy, and decreased stress levels . The report also found that scheduling date nights increases relationship novelty as couples work together to find something fun to do each week. Additionally, a survey of 83 couples shows that engaging in shared activities is significantly correlated with healthy relationship maintenance .
Gary Chapman, author of the 5 Love Languages, designates quality time as a core method for showing love to one’s partner . A 2020 survey of over 900 individuals in relationships found that quality time was rated the most important love language . By reserving specific dates for time together, couples nonverbally communicate that they cherish each other’s company. Furthermore, intentionally scheduling date night makes couples less likely to forget about spending time together when life is stressful. With Adhere.ly, couples can schedule activities and receive reminders directly to their phone. Just look in the “activity scheduling” section and select “relationships.”
2. Words of Affirmation
In the business of everyday life, it is easy to forget to take a moment and affirm your partner. Words of affirmation are statements complementing one’s partner or validating the love one love one feel’s for their partner. A simple “I love you” or “I really appreciate you” is highly effective in maintaining a healthy relationship.
A qualitative analysis of 12 same-sex couples found that sending words of affirmation was a consistent theme in quality relationships . The study also found that sending text messages with affirmations was an effective way to maintain harmony when couples were physically distant during COVID-19. Therefore, couples should use consistent words of affirmation when one partner is away on a work trip or if the relationship is long distance.
Taking time to lower stress levels with your partner can lay the foundation for a healthier relationship. Meditation using deep breathing and guided imagery centers are commonly used to develop mindfulness, improving relationship quality. A systematic review of 16 studies found that mindfulness interventions are associated with increased relationship satisfaction and well-being .
In many relationships where both partners work, stress and business can diminish relationship quality. The benefits from mindful meditation are applicable to the workplace as well. A study examining a mindfulness intervention at workplaces found the intervention significantly improved the relationship quality of dual-earner couples . Meditation can be easily incorporated into one’s daily routine since they take only a couple minutes and can be done anywhere. Adhere.ly offers several guided meditations and deep breathing exercises to foster relaxation. Check them out in the “Relaxation” section.
Growing closer in relationships requires intentional work. However, these three therapeutic exercises make connecting easier. The activities are brief, easily fit into a busy schedule, and are enjoyable to complete. When it comes to fostering mental and social well-being, prevention is key. Meaning, it’s better to practice activity scheduling, words of affirmation, and meditation while relationships are stable. Once these healthy habits become ingrained, you and your partner will be more prepared to handle stressors and conflicts in a healthy way. You can find even more therapeutic exercises to try with your partner at Adhere.ly. Sign up for free today!
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