Nurture your relationship-garden this month!

23/3/17: So, I was having a bit of a re-read of my blog on relationship maintenance that I wrote last year ... and honestly it sucks! I mean really? "Give several compliments a day"? WHAT WAS I THINKING? Sorry about that!

So, I'm going to do a bit of a revamp:

1. LISTEN: - Ok I'll stick by this tip. Listening to your partner is SO important. It reaches deep down into an individual and makes them feel valued and special: their soul SHINES. What more could you want than to be around a person who's soul is shining?If you find that you're not listening to your partner - ask yourself "why?" "What's going on inside me that makes me not listen to my partner". You may have, in fact, lost touch of something inside of yourself that CAN listen. Sometimes when we're too busy with life, we get stuck in our heads and this can be when we lose touch with our listening self. Listening can therefore be a gift to yourself as well as to your partner, and reconnect you with your heart: your 'feeling' state.If you find that you're really unable to listen to your partner... hmm then maybe you could seek some counselling around that. Because that's a clear sign that something's not quite right.

2. Give several compliments a day.... OMG! Really? did I write that? Noooo! In a healthy relationship, compliments come easily! However... I guess that again, when we're so busy with work and having our heads buried in computers and thinking a lot, we can lose touch with our 'feeling' state and become completely immersed in our 'rational-brain' state. Although, I get it, when we're in the rational-brain/head-state it's sometimes easy to forget to appreciate our partner, and forget to compliment.

Take a moment to feel what it is you appreciate about your partner. Again this immediately takes you out of your head and into your heart and creates a space for harmony.

IF, you struggle with giving compliments easily. Or if you're finding that you can only make negative comments... I again invite you to ask yourself "why"? If you find yourself saying "it's because he/she is....", then, my friend, you're shifting into the BLAMING arena. Blaming others is a recipe for relationship breakdown, and you may benefit from exploring this in counselling.

3. Devote time to yourself: YES! SUPER IMPORTANT. You know when you're on an aeroplane and the air-hosties do their little presentation with the drop-down air-masks? The first thing they demonstrate is placing the air-mask on yourself before placing it on the child, right? I use this analogy all the time in my therapy sessions because same goes for the relationship. You're not able to be fully in a relationship without getting your needs met first. If you're living a life dissatisfied because all you've done is everything for everyone else... then, I ask how you can be REALLY happy in your relationship...? How can there be DEEP JOY?

4. So I'm going to combine my last 3 points into one point: BOUNDARIES: heard of these? They are THE ANSWER to healthy and perfect relationships.... and involves:

- knowing what your absolute bottom line is and sticking to it

- with everything. This means knowing your values and what's important to you.

- when you stick to your boundaries, it means to act on them by: speaking up and communicating; or taking some other kind of action.

- it's about understanding that everyone has boundaries and respecting them. So the art here is to negotiate so that you don't feel left with nothing and they don't feel left with nothing.

Note: as I write this... I'm aware that in a domestic violence (DV) situation, these tips may not apply... and needs a whole different approach.

However, if you are struggling with any of these aspects in your relationship, I would encourage you to take some reflection, and/or speak with a professional. If you want support on creating a healthy, loving and equal relationship... get in touch with me at…


It’s easy to live a day to day existence and forget to nurture our roles as partner, husband, wife etc. Sometimes we need to stop and reflect on our relationships: are we listening to our partner as much as we could be? Do we feel listened-to ourselves? Are we getting our own needs met? Are we criticising our loved ones a little too much? Are we nurturing our relationship-garden?

First, let’s be real: even the most perfect of relationships are not devoid of negative aspects. They’re the weeds. After-all, you are two uniquely different individuals with different values and beliefs that can clash at times. The important thing to know here is that this is normal! However, if the weeds go left unattended, there’s always the risk they can overgrow, fester or worse, cause chasms. It’s therefore important to do a bit of maintenance.

Just as gardens need weeding, watering and fertilising, so do our relationships; for them to continue being lush, colourful and full of life. Follow these guidelines to help your relationship-garden grow and flourish:

  • Listen wholeheartedly! How good does it feel to be heard and listened to? Take time to really hear what your partner has to say. Check-in with them and ask how their day was and ‘listen’ with your undivided attention. Your partner will feel valued and validated.

  • Give several compliments a day. Foster positivity by finding something genuine that you appreciate about your partner and tell them eg “That was really thoughtful of you to do x” “You’re really talented at y”. Pay attention to your partner’s positive qualities and ensure to outweigh the number of negative comments with positive ones!

  • Devote time to your-‘self’. Pursue any personal hobbies/interests; or connect with friends and family. When our focus is on other pleasurable areas of our lives, our awareness is less fixated on any negative qualities within the relationship. Not to mention we feel more nourished and happier having had some ‘me’-time.

  • Keep your side of the street clean – in other words acknowledge your part in any conflict. Or acknowledge your mistakes and… apologise. This tells our partner that “our relationship matters”. That they matter.

  • Fulfil your commitments and promises – eg if you promised to be on time – be on time. If you promised to pick your undies up off the floor, pick ‘em up! Again fulfilling our commitments not only keeps our side of the street clean, but shows our partner that we value and respect them.

  • Beware of mind-reading - communicate! Your partner may not actually know what you expect or want. This is where communication breakdown often happens… when we believe our partners “should know”. It’s our responsibility to clearly communicate our needs, desires, expectations, to ensure we’re all on the same page. Having said that, be willing to…

  • Negotiate. Our partners have needs, wants and desires too – so be sure to explore options for both of you.

When you fertilise your relationship-garden by bringing in these principles, you’re on your way to creating a peaceful and harmonious environment. Your partner will feel appreciated and if all goes to plan, will reciprocate in a harmonious way.

If you’re struggling with any of these (or other) aspects, perhaps you might book a session with Katrina to gain skills, clarity, support, and/or resolution.

#relationships #needs

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