There is no doubt the pressures of the last year have affected our romantic relationships. Lockdown has brought some of us closer together while for others, long periods of time cooped up at home have understandably created areas of conflict.
Ahead of our couples retreat at Green Farm this October, psychodynamic therapist Gabriel Facchini and his partner, experienced yoga teacher, Alex Hanly are sharing their top five tips for a healthy relationship:
1. Prioritise time for connecting
Part of this is making sure that you aren't always exhausted when you come together. If you have children, this can be difficult. Consider eating with your children so that when it comes to their bedtime, you are almost ready for bed as a couple. Talking (as well as the other types of intercourse) is given time without one or both parties thinking 'Bloody hell, I've got to get up in 6 hours!'
2. Notice the work your partner puts into maintaining the relationship
This can be anything from house cleaning, cooking dinner, earning money, or nagging you to get to bed on time for a snuggle. Express your gratitude for the efforts in words and do your best to reciprocate. Sometimes changing the bed sheets means a lot more than buying flowers.
3. The power of touch
Our bodies talk through touch in a powerful way. Sometimes a one minute hug can be the thing that helps you feel together all day rather than separate. Give each other a few minutes a day to give and receive conscious loving touches. It could be a shoulder rub, a hand hold, or a cuddle. Whatever it is, see if you can allow yourself to be fully present to it for a set period of time.
4. Remember, it takes two to Tango!
If there is conflict, confusion, or bitterness between you, try and investigate what part you play in this. Generally, both parties could do something different to enable a shift in position.
5. Listen with an open heart
If you find yourself formulating a response before they have finished talking, stop, breathe, and tune back into what they have to say. Then before you respond take a moment to echo back what they have said so that you are both sure the communication has been accurately understood. Be patient; their words and your feelings may take time to digest.
Retreat Together takes place at Green Farm from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 October 2021. The weekend retreat is designed to help couples develop their listening, communication, and conflict resolution skills through a series of workshops, talks and discussions. Couples also have the option of a 50-minute talking therapy session with Gabriel Facchini.
The investment is £1390 per couple. Further details and booking information is available here. here.