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Ways to Enhance the Bonding with your Partner

You might associate bonding with your spouse in the early stages of your relationship. But whether you are 6 months or 6 years in, there are always numerous opportunities to grow closer with your partner says Shivani. Learning methods to bond in a relationship could be a lifelong pursuit, but it certainly does not have to be difficult.

Couples Therapist Shivani says there is a difference between struggling and putting effort into your relationship. With bonding, at times it will simply take a little bit of conscious effort. “Bonding with your spouse takes effort. Sometimes ‘bonding work’ feels simple and at times it feels difficult. Bonding with your partner seems easy when it flows out of shared interests, hobbies, and experiences. So if you can recognize what small ways you are already sharing with your partner, you might be a step closer to bonding even more, and potentially growing your love and bonding.

You do not have to ask each other the endless questions that lead to love, or do any kind of forced activity or bonding, simply to get to know your partner better. At times simply expressing your interest will do the magic. And professionals who work with couples have identified some brilliant ways to bond a little bit more with your partner — methods that you may even already be doing to some extent.

This blog by Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo shares some ways to enhance the bonding in your relationship.

Express Interest and Curiosity

When you have been together for a considerable time, or even live together, you and your partner might fall into the pattern of asking fewer open-ended questions: questions that start with “how” or “why,” and normally do not have a “yes” or “no” answer.

“It appears so simple, but it is easy for couples to end initiating open-ended questions since they fall into a habit of taking each other for granted. The reality is that you and your partner will change over a period and that you need to constantly update your knowledge of your partner. Asking open-ended questions helps boost emotional link and friendship within the relationship.” Being aware of how you ask your questions will help you develop this bonding as a habit.

Verbally Express Your Appreciation

Saying “thank you” to your loved one may seem more like an act of politeness, instead of an act of bonding, but appreciation is a lot more nuanced than that.

This too looks simple and you are perhaps doing it to a certain extent, but appreciation gives huge benefits,”. When you show appreciation towards your partner you create a protective shield surrounding your relationship [since] appreciation counteracts contempt — which is one of the major destructive forces in a relationship. Learning to show your appreciation regularly will assist you two grow even closer than ever before.

Give Priority to your Partner’s Emotional Calls

While you might know your partner better than anybody else, it can still become easy over some time to not always see when they are reaching out to you emotionally. Paying attention to “emotional calls,” and responding to them is an integral form of bonding.

Emotional calls are all small attempts to bond with your partner throughout the day, If, you wish to improve the health of your relationship, make it a priority to see your partner’s attempts to connect with you. Respond to their calls by lovingly responding and meeting their needs and communicating to your partner that you are there and care for them.” It is worth finding avenues to respond or pay attention to your partner, even when they are communicating non-verbally, to show your bond.

Make an Effort at Eye Contact

When you and your partner have been staying together for quite some time, the realities of everyday life as a couple might mean that you are not staring lovingly into each other’s eyes as much as you once used to. But working towards more eye contact could be a major boost in terms of bonding.

Partners can bond with each other by maintaining eye contact regularly, while they communicate, specifically, if discussing important topics such as their feelings, experiences, or needs. So even if you are not in your honeymoon stage anymore, at least you will be opening the windows towards more honest and vulnerable communication.

Keep your Phone Down

While there is something to be said regarding a connection so deep that you can sit in silence on a couch, scrolling through social media, and not feeling awkward about it, there is still a certain thing to be said about dedicated phones and gadget-free time for couples.

“A truly vital task you should do to make your partner feel worthy and appreciated of your time is to put the phones down while communicating, which also enhances bonding. Whether it means actively following a no phones at the dinner table or bedroom policy, or simply leading by example, you might find that these moments are good opportunities to bond.

Initiate Physical Touch

Having or maintaining a strong sexual connection with your partner is great, but physical touch does not have to be saved for moments of sexual intimacy between you and your partner only. Making physical touch a more common, regular habit in your relationship could be quite beneficial.

A simple task you can do to facilitate bonding is through physical touch when you are in the same space such as watching TV, cooking together, or getting ready to go out. Sometimes, a simple and gentle touch is good enough to create a substantial emotional association. Not all touch has to lead to anything, and practising it more can support grow the bond between you and your partner.

Make Rituals Together

Creating rituals or traditions as a couple could give you two something to look forward to daily, and be able to make sure that you and your partner are continuously building your connection — even if you have hectic daily life schedules.

Creating a ritual of bonding — like going on a walk post-dinner, or having coffee ready for your spouse after putting the kids to bed or in the morning so that you can talk about your day, could be something you both look forward to as well. Whether you decide you wish to build in daily, weekly, or monthly rituals, there is something about the continuation of these simple acts of bonding that could help actually, level up your existing connection.

Whichever method you decide to grow your bond with your partner, probabilities are — you are already likely well on your way. Bonding has no concrete targets to get as it is something a couple does and keeps on doing, for the course of a relationship. And making even the smallest of changes in your daily interactions could assist blossom your love even further.


Reasons Your First Year of Marriage is So Important

Besides the newlywed bliss, there come some ups and downs. It is pretty normal to hit rough patches in the first two years of marriage says Shivani Misri Sadhoo, but do not panic. By understanding certain changes and roadblocks you might experience in early marriage, you and your partner can still work together to lay a strong foundation for the years to come.

This article by Couples Therapist Shivani Misri Sadhoo highlights the reasons why your first year of marriage is so important.

Why your First Year of Marriage Matters

Couples Therapist Shivani says the first year of your marriage is full of transitions and adjustments as you and your partner adapt to the new roles. Yet the way you handle and manage this period of adjustment is key to the longevity of your marriage, say researchers.

A decline in love, affection, respect, and responsiveness and a boost in ambivalence within the first couple of years of marriage can be an indicator for divorce after 13 years. This was as per a study in 2009 on the predictors of marital satisfaction and stressors.

The study also saw that couples who divorce during the first couple of years showed signs of disillusionment and were negative toward each other in the first two months of their marriage. Those couples who were still happily married were those who were able to have positive feelings about their spouses during this early period in their relationship.

Some other research shows that newlyweds could be more prone to dissatisfaction because of unrealistic expectations or the level of what they experience against what they expected in terms of marriage. Common unexpected adjustments include some of the following:

·       The “minor things”

·       Competing Loyalties

·       Letdowns

·       Serious Accountabilities

·       Relationship Roles

·       Sex

One more study recorded that newly married couples who look to estimate that their happiness levels will increase (or at least remain the same) within the first four years of marriage are more possible to experience a decline in happiness over time.

Divorce is also quite common within the early years of marriage because of the transition itself into marriage and parenthood, specifically among couples high in neuroticism who have been known to have reduced overall levels of satisfaction in their marriage.

Major Red Flags in Early Marriage

·       Addictions or substance abuse

·       Emotional or physical abuse

·       Fear of conflict

·       Incapability to have fun together

·       Lack of mutual respect

·       Lack of romance and intimacy

·       Married quite early or for the wrong reasons

·       Over-commitment of time and other things

·       Over-spending

·       Selfishness

·       Sexual issues

·       Excessive dependence on parents

·       Unrealistic expectations

Priorities during the First Year of Marriage

If you see yourself a bit depressed post your wedding, it is fine. Honeymoon blues are just normal. Both of you have been caught up in time-consuming wedding preparations.

It is a certain bet that once you do not have that stress or pressure to deal with, you will have a sense of loss. It is the same as the post-holiday letdown that various people experience. However, it is essential to not ignore this period of depression.

Besides this to keep the romance alive, there are other priorities a couple will have to face as well.

Decide how to Handle Money

Discuss clearly whether you wish to manage your finance and money separately, jointly, or having a combination of separate and joint accounts. Either way, do not speak lies, honesty is critical when it comes to avoiding conflicts because of money.

Find out Ways to Manage Chores

Splitting up household chores fairly helps eliminate stress in your home and ensures a happy marriage. Bear in mind that you will possibly have to re-evaluate the list from time to time.

Look for Ways to Spend Free Time

While together time is valuable, you also need quality time outside of your relationship for personal space, growth, and independence.

Make Time for Sex

Even when your lives are busy, keeping your sex life healthy has to remain a priority. While on average most couples generally get intimate once a week, it’s important to find out what works for you to maintain intimacy.

Set Boundaries with in-laws

Have a discussion with your spouse about what is fine and what is not as far as involvement from your in-laws. For instance, can they drop all unannounced or do you expect a phone call or text first?

Understand and Respect Differences

While your core values are possibly the same, your partner’s thoughts and beliefs might differ from your own. Understanding and respecting these differences will assist you to avoid judgment and improve your relationship.

Learn to Handle and Manage Conflict

While conflict is bound to happen, how you handle or manage conflict can make a difference in your marriage. Give your best to maintain a constructive attitude and mutual respect, and be ready to recognize your partner’s point of view.

Discuss Expectations

From household chores to physical intimacy, it is essential to discuss what you expect from your spouse. After all, unmet or unrealistic expectations could create significant stress in your relationship.

Sadly, several couples avoid topics that might become heated. But doing so will do a huge disservice to your union.

What to Do If You are Struggling

The ideal thing to do is hold an open and honest conversation with your partner, without blaming, about your issues. You may initiate by saying something such as, “I think we both are struggling to adjust while being married.”

From there, you might figure out what marriage assistance options might be a good fit for you both. It might be setting aside time to read and discuss self-help books, seeking guidance from a trusted source, or perhaps pursuing couples’ therapy. It is also important to:

Refrain from Blaming your Partner

The blame game will simply exacerbate any struggles you and your spouse are having. Rather, discuss what you feel is happening and ways you can work together as a couple to bridge the gap.

Have Realistic Expectations

Unfair expectations could get the better of your relationship, for instance, you expect your spouse to live up to what you see in romance movies.

Give yourself and your Spouse Time to Adapt

Marriage is new to both of you, so it is essential to have patience as you adjust and adapt to your new roles and responsibilities.

Remember you can Assist your Spouse Grow, but you cannot change who he/she is

While you cannot change your partner, you can alter your reactions and responses, which might prompt your partner to want to change theirs.

Value your Partner

Do not take them for granted. Making an effort to say thank you or I love you and showing appreciation can go a long way in making your partner feel good about themselves and your relationship.

Spend Quality Time Together

Enjoying few one-on-one times can support strengthen your bond, form intimacy, and create cherished memories in your marriage.

Even though the first couple of years of marriage are supposed to be the most difficult, they are mostly remembered as the most joyous. Those could be a great time of intimacy and discovery.

There is a lot more to learn about each other and so much to express to each other. During the newlywed stage, you can lay the foundation for a life-long, meaningful partnership. Thus, enjoy and romance one another.