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  • Writer's pictureHenriette Johnsen

Enhance the emotional connection with your partner

Couples meeting each other with criticism, defensiveness, contempt, stone walling as well as lack of positive emotional connection face greater risk of divorce. Here are a few tips on how not to be part of that statistic:

To enhance the emotional connection and to avoid the traps of criticism, defensiveness and contempt between you and your partner, try the following:

Overall, aim to create positive communication in your relationship

  • Be willing to make and accept bids for connection and communication.

  • Nurture gratefulness and respect rather than resentment.

  • Accept influence from your partner.

  • Have fun and laugh; be silly together.

  • Have sex and great conversation together.

  • Cuddle.

  • Be mindful of how your respective love languages correspond ... or not!

  • Create shared meaning: fun, playfulness, learning together, sex, adventure, romance, passion, courtship.

How to create shared meaning in your life

  • Create daily, weekly, annual rituals involving you spending time together doing something you both enjoy.

  • Share a common dream or vision and implement it into your lives: For expats, the expat experience can be such a dream or vision. Make sure you tune into each other every now and them to check if you are still on the same page in relation to how you want your expat life to be.

  • Turn to each other with positive communication about your dreams and how to fulfill them. Support your partner in the pursuit in their dreams.

  • Have common goals for your relationship and life.

When solving a problem or a conflict:

  • Use softened start remarks when you approach your partner with a sensitive subject.

  • Let them know you would like to arrange a time, convenient to you both, to talk about such and such - this way, your partner is not caught off guard.

  • Take responsibility for your part of the problem.

  • Take a positive approach.

  • Keep the ball in your own court.

  • Don't blame or attack your partner, but gently tell them how it feels for you when they do/say such and such.

  • Accept influence from your partner.

  • Seek to be reparative in your communication rather than escalating - remember to accept such reparative attempts from your partner too.

  • Let them know you understand them and ask what they need from you.

  • Never stone wall your partner; if you need to, ask for a break and let your partner know that you will return to the discussion, when you have calmed down.

  • Try, when appropriate, to use humour to lessen the conflict.

Couple with warm drinks and dog

Originally posted Jan 2021; revised Jan 2023



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