June 11, 2018 |Gideon Hanekom

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There is so much great relationship advice for couples out there today, that I thought to bring some of them together under one roof. I’ve never done a “best relationship advice for couples” post before, so this is my first crack at it. I’m sure the list will expand over time, but these are 16 of the best relationship advice tips I’ve come across in my life so far.

relationship advice for couples

1. No amount of therapy can overcome the wrong choice in partner

When I read this the first time, it really stayed with me because of how profound it is.

I’ve seen many couples and individuals in relationships over the years, where I quietly thought their biggest problem wasn’t the lack of any relationship skills, but rather the fact that they are in a relationship with the wrong person.

Now, I need to clarify that being in a relationship with the “wrong person” does NOT make that person bad or unworthy.

That’s not what it means that all.

What it does mean, however, is that some people simply should not be in a relationship with each other.

Their outlook on life, values, beliefs, goals, needs, behaviour, social circles, etc. is simply too different from each other to make it possible to lay any form of foundation for a healthy relationship.

That of course also doesn’t mean that people who are vastly different from one another can’t be attracted or experience some chemistry, but there is a question to be asked about the chances for a long-term healthy relationship when people are too diverse.

If you’re experiencing any form of relationship problems right now, I would suggest that you consider this as a possibility at least.

The fact that you’re struggling to connect and grow together, might have very little to do with your lack of good relationship skills and more to do with the fact that you’re in a relationship with the wrong person.

I would, however, ask you to be cautious at this point, as all differences of opinion or viewpoints aren’t necessarily a sign of incompatibility.

We are all different, which means differences of opinion are bound to happen.

But, what I’m referring to here is a deep realisation that you got together with the wrong person and no amount of therapy will fix that.

And make your next move based on that truth.

Suggested Read: How to End an Unsatisfying Relationship

2. Be together for the right reasons

This one flows on from the previous relationship advice tip.

Not only is it important to make very sure that you’re in a relationship with the right person, but also that you are together for the right reasons.

Ask yourself quickly:

  • Why are you with your partner?
  • Why did you marry the person you’re with?
  • Where there any external pressures or expectations put on you by your culture, religion, situation, or family? Or anything else?
  • Can you list at least five crucially important reasons to you, why you are with your current spouse or partner? Do they still form the foundation of your relationship?
  • And if not, what does that say?

The reason many people struggle to make the relationship work, I found, is oftentimes because they got together for the wrong reasons.

I have seen couples in coaching before, who have come to me for ” relationship advice for couples,” only to find out that their relationship started as an affair.

They got together because both, or just one of them, cheated on their original partner(s) and started a relationship.

In my experience, it is extremely difficult to “save” such a relationship that has now run into issues but was started on a foundation of deceit.

It is also very difficult to grow a relationship when people are together for other wrong reasons.

relationship advice for couples

Another classic example is a couple being together because they fell pregnant very early on while dating.

In some cultures, religions, and definitely in years gone by, there was almost an unspoken expectation put on couples to get married when they fell pregnant out of wedlock.

But, I have seen numerous marriages fall apart later on because two people got together for the sole reason of an unexpected pregnancy early on in their relationship. Something that should never have been.

Now, I’m not saying that some relationships haven’t worked out. Many probably have.

But, I’ve also seen quite a few divorces and breakups once a couple realised that the only thing keeping them together was an unexpected baby.

The moment they faced that truth, they could actually move on to better and healthier relationships, and by doing so, create a healthier future for their child.

I am not a believer in staying together because you fell pregnant.

If that results in you ending up with the wrong person, you’re potentially laying a foundation for a lot of heartache in the future – for both yourself and your child.

As long as you’re with someone in a love relationship, make sure you got together for the right reasons.

Suggested Read: 6 Myths About Relationship Commitment You Need to Know

3. Have healthy and realistic expectations of your partner

Something I’ve learned that can really tear couples apart is unhealthy and unrealistic expectations.

We can probably add unclear expectations to that as well.

It is a fact of life that when we enter a relationship with someone else, both people bring their own “baggage” into that relationship.

And it shapes how we see the world – our “model of the world” so to speak.

How we see the world, feel about things, needs and expectations, our habits, dreams and goals, fears and anxieties, family and friends, work colleagues, etc. don’t simply fall away when we enter a relationship.

All those things become part of our relationship, and can oftentimes make things quite tricky.

If we don’t understand our partner’s “model of the world,” we are potentially setting ourselves up for much heartache down the track.

relationship advice for couples

It’s impossible to meet our partner’s needs and expectations, soothe their fears and support them in their goals and dreams when we don’t even know what they are.

But, in saying that, it’s even more difficult to create a healthy, happy, and intimate relationship when we have unrealistic and unreasonable expectations of each other in a relationship.

Initially, we might make a huge attempt to meet our partner’s expectations, but once we have failed enough times, we will lose motivation and interest to keep doing so.

Consequently, it will only lead to frustration, unhappiness, and resentment.

Conversely, one of the fastest ways to improve your relationship is to make sure that you have realistic and healthy expectations of your partner.

That way you make it easy for them to meet your expectations, and by doing so, positively reinforce them to keep doing that.

This is especially important for men.

One of our biggest fears is that we are inadequate in making our partners happy.

We are extremely worried that we might fail or be found wanting as men.

As a woman, if you have unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of your man, and he keeps falling short (or it feels that way), you are setting him up for even bigger feelings of shame and inadequacy which will only push him away.

A man who feels he cannot live up to your expectations will try initially but withdraw eventually (stonewalling, fleeing, silence, hobby, mates, anger, etc.).

And given enough time and disappointment of living up to your expectations, he might even end up seeking solace somewhere else (break-up or affair).

Suggested Read: 8 unrealistic expectations you should avoid as a couple

4. Don’t work on communication alone – build a strong connection more than anything else

I read a very good book recently, called “How to Save Your Marriage without Talking About It.”

The authors made an interesting point that many couples don’t have a “communication” problem, but rather a “connection” problem.

I tend to agree with them, as good communication flows naturally between two people who have a great connection.

Even when one, or both, partners struggle to” talk.”

When we have a healthy connection with our partner, communication tends to happen more naturally, freely, and openly.

Just think back to the start of your relationship.

Very few couples found it difficult to “communicate” well during the early years.

In fact, they even dealt with difficulties pretty competently, even when it was by hook or by crook at times.

But they get through it.

And the reason for that is because their connection was solid.

relationship advice for couples

It’s important to understand that men and women are fundamentally different biochemically.

One of the main differences, that causes a lack of connection over time, is the fact that women, in general, are driven by the need to feel connected and safe in a relationship which also leads to their biggest fear of losing connection and feeling isolated.

Men, in general, are driven by the need to feel adequate and competent, which also leads to their biggest fear of being found wanting or falling short, and thereby being shamed.

The way this plays out in most relationship problems (between men and women), is that the more a woman talks to her a man about the disconnect she is feeling, the more inadequate he feels which triggers shame in him.

Consequently, he tries to avoid any “let’s talk topics” as such, as they simply function as a trigger or reminder that he isn’t doing a good enough job of satisfying her needs.

In other words, he is failing. In his mind.

What some experts are saying is that “talking” about your relationship problems won’t fix it.

Talking for a man is simply a constant reminder that he is failing her.

Now, that doesn’t mean a woman shouldn’t talk to her man about what she’s feeling – but she needs to have different expectations from that conversation.

A man doesn’t necessarily need to respond verbally to acknowledge what she is saying.

He deals with whatever she is saying differently than most women do.

The problem is, many women expect their men to respond the same way another woman would – because that creates the highest levels of connectedness within her.

But he is not a woman.

Biochemically he is different. As is she.

For him to expect her not to talk about what she’s feeling, and dealing with it “like a man,” is equally unfair and unrealistic.

She will eventually find ways to connect with someone, even if that means it’s not him.

So the question becomes, how do we create higher levels of “connection?”

Here is a shortcut to help your thinking in the matter.

Men need the following for increased connection:

  • Touch (physical – the moment a woman withholds her physical affection, he starts worrying that there is something wrong with him)
  • Trust (he needs to feel that she trusts him completely in that he is doing the best he can – even when he can improve in reality)
  • Appreciation (he needs to feel that he is doing a good job – even when he can actually do more. Criticism won’t get him to do more, quite the opposite in fact)
  • Admiration (he needs to feel that she thinks he is great, he’s doing the best he can, and that he doesn’t fall short in her eyes. He is competent in getting things done – even when that’s only 10%)

Women need the following for increased connection:

  • Time (she needs his physical presence as well as mental attention. She needs to feel important in his life, as time spent with her increases connection)
  • Caring (she needs to feel being cared for – his emotional and physical presence, support, and time with her eases her fear that she is not lovable or alone. She needs to feel she can rely on him)
  • Understanding (she needs to feel that he understands what she is feeling. This doesn’t mean he has all the answers or the best solutions to her challenges. Quite the opposite. Any solutions offered by him actually prove to her that he does NOT understand her. She needs his attention, nearness, presence, and a listening ear – validating that he’s in her corner and he’s got her back. He loves her, no matter what)
  • Respect (she needs to feel that he respects her as an equal and loves her for who she is. She needs to feel his respect for her as a human being and partner. How he communicates, how he treats her, how he acknowledges her, how he involves her – all communicates respect. This soothes her fear that she’s alone or worthless.)

The issue here is not just about learning to talk about your feelings more.

relationship advice for couples

It’s about understanding that men and women function differently, and have different needs biochemically, which either leads to an increase or decrease of connection.

And this connection, in turn, impacts the level of communication a couple has.

Suggested Read: Communication isn’t all verbal.

5. Talk about everything – even the stuff that sucks

The previous point about ‘connection’ is vitally important for creating a healthy relationship.

But, you obviously have to talk about some stuff.

Just because men are not prone to talking like women, in general, doesn’t mean they don’t want to or should not talk about stuff.

For a relationship to grow, couples need to talk about things.

In fact, I believe, as a couple we should be able to talk about everything – even the stuff that sucks.

There is no point avoiding the hard issues simply to create a false sense of stability or certainty.

If there are issues that need to be talked about, they need to be talked about.

If the way he spends money isn’t serving the wealth of the relationship, it needs to be discussed.

If the way she has withdrawn from the world while becoming overly focused on the children, and it’s hurting the romance of the relationship, it needs to be discussed.

I love the way Tony Robbins puts it when he says,

I don’t believe in positive thinking. There is no point in saying “there are no weeds, there are no weeds” when the garden has weeds.

I agree with that.

If there are “weeds” in your relationship, and it’s suffocating the growth of all the good stuff, it needs to be talked about.

In my experience, it’s usually easier to deal with weeds when they are small than when they’ve been allowed to grow into treelike size.

Avoiding the uncomfortable issues won’t make them go away.

They will most likely only fester and grow.

If a relationship is important enough for a couple, then learning to talk about the stuff that sucks is an important skill to learn.

But, again, one simply need to keep in mind that men and women communicate differently.

There shouldn’t be an expectation that a man should deal with challenges the same way a woman does, and vice versa.

That space to be different needs to be allowed in a relationship.

Suggested Read: Talking is NOT communication.

6. Learn to listen and hear well, and you won’t have to talk that much

What I have observed with many couples so far, is that there is oftentimes not a lack of talking.

In fact, there is oftentimes a lot of talking.

The problem is, listening and hearing properly that lack at times.

What exactly do I mean by that?

I’ve sat and observed dialogues between many couples, only to notice that even though they were using a lot of words to express how they were feeling, they were actually talking past each other.

They were not hearing each other at all, and consequently, created ample opportunity for conflict.

But, the moment I could help them slow down, and interpret what the other was saying, the conversation started moving forward.

They could resolve the issues.

relationship advice for couples

Now, that’s not to say that this is always the case.

Sometimes a couple simply doesn’t want to hear each other.

They are so angry or sad, and the limbic brain is fully engaged, that they simply cannot hear each other.

They are choosing to “communicate” from a certain unhelpful emotional state, which makes hearing each other virtually impossible.

However, if you can learn how to keep your emotions in check, put your pride to the side for the moment, stay on point, and work together for a workable outcome or resolution – you will find that conflict all but disappears.

But, part of this process is adopting the attitude and desire to WANT to hear and understand your partner.

If you’re only in it for your own needs and desires, you won’t be able to practice empathy and hear what your partner is saying.

I’ve learned in my marriage that understanding my wife is as much about me WANTING to hear her, as it is about the skill of listening.

Suggested Read: The Art of Loving Communication.

7. A healthy relationship benefits from two healthy individuals

I don’t know who started this idea, but I grew up learning that a healthy relationship demands a 50-50 approach.

I’ve since learned that this is absolute rubbish.

A healthy relationship demands a 100-100 approach.

In order to create a healthy relationship, you typically need two healthy individuals.

Now, of course, there are times when one partner isn’t 100% and the other one picks up the slack, but that’s not the rule.

It’s an exception.

In order for a relationship to be balanced, healthy, happy, and intimate, both partners need to work extremely hard on their own well-being.

People who say otherwise typically are either single or struggle to stay in relationships long-term.

The reason for that, in my experience since I’ve done both, is that when you’re not enough without it, you cannot be enough with it.

And the idea that a relationship is a place where you can work things out later is true to some extent, but there are limits, I’ve learned. Especially if one of the two partners have a higher level of personal development.

When one partner has to make up for the other over any lengthy period of time, it becomes simply too taxing on that person and relationship.

Something that’s quite common here in New Zealand, is the reality of certain mental health challenges, like depression.

If one partner struggles with something like depression, and it’s left untreated, that reality will eventually wear both partners down and start tearing the relationship apart.

I’ve seen it happen over and over again.

The same can be said for other issues such as low self-esteem, poor health, addictions etc.

Whenever one partner is using the other as a crutch, so to speak, over a period of time, it can only harm that relationship, even when that was never the intention.

Love cannot, and will not, flow naturally and freely between two people when the one functions as a crutch or Band-Aid for the other.

Not long term.

That becomes a relationship of dependency rather than mutual and equal respect and love.

Suggested Read: Are you in a co-dependent relationship?

8. Space is a good thing

Living in each other’s pockets might seem like a very romantic thing to do, but you would be wrong.

Just because we are in a relationship with another person, doesn’t mean we have become the same individual.

We are still individuals.

And we need to be allowed space to express, nurture, and grow our individuality.

When a relationship starts demanding a couple to essentially become the same person while ignoring their own individual needs and personalities, it is setting itself up for failure.

Of course, the goal is to grow closer together.

That goes without saying.

But, a couple needs to realise that growing as individuals, is essential for the growth of the relationship.

relationship advice for couples

It comes back to the previous relationship advice for couples tip, that a healthy relationship demands two (somewhat) emotionally healthy individuals.

The only logical way that can happen, is when there is enough trust in the relationship for each partner to allow the other enough space to express their individuality.

When we restrict or limit our partners to be who they truly are, it’s actually all about us as individuals and our insecurities, rather than the benefit of the relationship.

Even when we say otherwise.

It is, of course, important to understand that that “space” we are talking about here, isn’t about “escape.”

When we need space to escape the demands, responsibilities, and expectations of our relationship, we are onto something else.

I’m not suggesting the need for space as a way to escape your relationship, but rather space as a tool for growth – individually and collectively.

When you catch yourself using space to run away from your partner, something else might be going on.

So allow your partner space to be themselves, grow, and be who they are.

That’s why you fell in love with them in the first place.

Suggested Read: 8 Things happy couples do

9. Keep growing together and separately

If I wasn’t a big fan before, I’m definitely one now.

I don’t know if you saw the video (watch below) by Will Smith and his inspirational relationship advice for couples a while back.

It is really profound.

The point he is making is the same point this ninth-best relationship advice for couples tip is getting at.

Even though we are in a relationship with someone else, we, as individuals, are responsible for our own growth and everything that entails.

Will Smith talks about happiness, but it also extends to all other parts of our lives and well-being.

You and I, as individuals, are responsible for our own joy, happiness, well-being, inner peace, mindset, habits, growth, etc.

We cannot give any of those necessary elements to our well-being away to someone else.

Or like he put it – we cannot turn up at our partners with an empty cup expecting them to fill it up.

It is unfair and unrealistic.

It is also not sustainable.

In my opinion, if you want to serve your relationship well, make sure that you don’t rely on your relationship for your personal well-being and growth as a person.

Whether that be spiritual, mental, emotional, or physical.

Set your life up in such a way that you have more “wells” to tap into.

Take responsibility for your own personal growth and development, and by extension happiness, joy, inner peace, etc. and feed all of that back into your relationship.

Don’t be a beggar in your relationship while seeing and treating your partner like someone who is supposed to give handouts to you.

Now, even though growing separately, growing together is also extremely important for the well-being and health of your relationship long-term.

Yes, it is important to make sure that you keep growing as an individual, but it is also beneficial that you grow together as a couple.

Making it a goal to experience and learn new things together will only serve your relationship well.

After all, the fact that we are in a relationship indicates that we actually want to do stuff together.

So make sure that you put things in place for that to happen.

Remember how things were in the beginning?

You wanted to do everything together and were even willing to try things you were unsure of because you wanted to impress the other one.

That changes over time, however, as the novelty wears off.

But, that doesn’t mean it should.

You have to make it your focus to keep growing together also, otherwise growing separately only could lead to growing apart.

10. HOW you disagree is more important than THAt you disagree

Some people believe that the key to relationship success is a lack of conflict, but is that really true?

Not exactly.

Relationship scientists have actually found that the mere presence of conflict does not necessarily indicate that the relationship is in trouble.

Rather, what is important for relationship success is HOW couples manage the conflicts that do inevitably arise.

The reality is that in any relationship, disagreement and conflict are almost inevitable.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The issue is not that we fight or disagree, but rather how we fight or disagree.

What we know about conflict and relationships, has taught us that conflict is fine and won’t destroy the relationship as long as a couple keeps positivity at the heart of their relationship, remain compassionate towards one another, fight fair and even with a little bit of humour.

Humour, empathy, compassion, and demonstrating listening are all helpful and positive conflict tactics.

Conversely, criticism and showing contempt and disgust, are particularly negative.

Relationship experts also tell us that a pattern of conflict where one person continually demands or nags, while the other one responds by avoiding or withdrawing (stonewalling), is a particularly toxic way of interacting and dealing with conflict.

relationship advice for couples

Having disagreements and conflicts in your relationship is not a problem.

It really comes down to HOW you deal with them.

Work very hard to remain positive in your relationship, stay turned towards your partner (i.e. remain compassionate, forgiving, and gracious – remembering you are fallible also), and avoid sweating the small stuff.

This also goes for some perpetual problems in your relationship.

Many relationships have very particular problems that are perpetual and difficult to overcome.

For example, one partner not getting along with the in-laws.

One way of dealing with this difficulty is making it the source of perpetual conflict.

Another way of dealing with it is remaining positive towards your partner and even finding a way to see the humour in the situation.

In this way, a perpetual problem cannot become a source of poison for your relationship.

But, you will have to adopt the attitude that creating happiness in your relationship is more important than overcoming every single perpetual problem.

11. Learn to let stuff go, in other words, stop sweating the small stuff

This one leads on from the last.

And it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Your happiness in your relationship is in direct proportion to your ability to let things go.

The more you hold on to stuff, which then causes frustration, resentment, negativity, and contempt, the more your relationship will hurt in the end.

No relationship can survive with an overwhelming sense of negativity.

And a few things create that as holding onto stuff does.

I like how one author put it,

Often in our relationships, we use our minds in self-defeating or negative ways that encourage our love to drift away. – Richard Carlson

the cool thing about this statement is that as we use our minds in self-defeating and negative ways that cause our love to drift away, we can also change that by adopting different mindsets.

I like what William James once said,

The greatest discovery of my generation is that human being can alter his life by altering his attitude.

Our tendency as human beings is to overreact, blow things out of proportion, and hold on to stuff as we continue to focus on the negative aspects of life and our relationships.

Once we fall into the habit of doing that, negativity sets in.

And like I said earlier, no relationship can survive on negativity.

When we lose faith in our partners, or at least that’s the perception they get, it puts a chokehold on the relationship and its growth.

Learning to change your mindset and focus on what’s positive, and letting stuff go quickly, will make it far easier for you to create an environment of positivity in your relationship.

Become aware of the small things you sweat too easily and too often.

Then make every attempt to change this.

12. Sweat some small stuff because they can add up

Have you ever had the experience of thinking you had a certain amount of money in your bank account, only to discover at some stage there is far less in it than you thought?

And perhaps, initially, you had a knee-jerk reaction or even an outburst, until you actually looked at a statement.

Once you started going through the statement, you realised how each small transaction over time chipped away at your bank balance.

That’s very much how a relationship works as well.

Everything small thing we do either makes a deposit or withdrawal.

Nothing is neutral.

It all matters.

But, it’s not the big stuff that matters so much.

They do matter, but they tend to be few and far between.

The stuff that really matters in the long run, are the small things that either contribute or take away from the growth of your relationship.

When you show compassion, understanding, love, and presence in small amounts on a consistent daily basis, your relationship benefits in the long run.

These small things make a big difference over time.

But, conversely, when you neglect to show compassion, understanding, love and presence in small dosages when it matters most on a consistent daily basis, your relationship pays the price in the long run.

Small things do matter.

Small things are what matters most.

Positive or negative – either way, they make a difference.

So, make sure that you pay attention to the small things on a consistent daily basis to end up with a healthy relationship balance rather than in insolvency.

13. Sex matters – a lot!

Before we talk about WHY sex (or the lack thereof) matters a lot in a relationship, let’s look at a few general facts first.

Firstly, when you have sex, like when you have chocolate, the pleasure centres of your brain are stimulated in much the same way that partaking in other pleasurable experiences do.

Experiencing high levels of pleasure and having those anchored (or associated with) to your relationship goes a long way in establishing high levels of positivity between you and your partner.

All good stuff.

relationship advice for couples

But, sex can be a powerful source of pleasure or a powerful source of pain.

In fact, sex always makes the top-four list of subjects that couples fight about.

Even in the free survey, I’ve been running on my site (see sidebar) since July 2017, lack of intimacy and poor communication/conflict are leading as the #1 biggest obstacles in relationships.

Studies show that, when things are going well, sex contributes only 15% to the overall satisfaction of a relationship.

But if things aren’t going well, it contributes 85% to the dissatisfaction!

The reality is, you can destroy your relationship without talking just as you can improve your relationship without talking, by ignoring certain important factors like sex.

Ignoring the importance of sex in a relationship is a very effective way to build resentment and destroy love in the long run.

And it doesn’t matter whether you agree with this or not, or even like it or not – the facts speak for themselves.

Sex is important, especially if one person in a couple values it.

If both don’t, then great, no worries.

But, if one person wants sex, and he or she doesn’t have sex – then the relationship has a real problem.

So, the first thing to figure out is where your partner stands on sex.

  • Is sex important for her or him?

Secondly, where do you stand on sex?

  • Is it important to you?

If there is a disconnect on this, chances are you will be experiencing some issues in this area of your relationship – and therefore ALL of your relationship.

So you need to find a way to address this.

To help you get started I would recommend you get these books on Amazon:

  • Why Women Talk and Men Walk: How to Improve Your Relationship Without Discussing It
  • Unleash the Power of the Female Brain: Supercharging Yours for better health, energy, mood, focus and sex
  • The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work

Also, if you want to work with a sexologist one-on-one, I would recommend you check out Isiah McKimmie (Australia) and contact her here today.

relationship advice for couples
Isiah McKimmie

I love her philosophy on sex and intimacy, and her clients rave about working with her and the result they were able to create.

Don’t overlook the importance of this very controversial and sensitive area of your relationship, PLEASE!

There is no need to be hurting in this area with all the available help out there.

14. Have clear and healthy boundaries

I wrote a whole article on this recently called Setting Boundaries: How to Do It The Right Way With These 8 Tips that looked at WHAT boundaries are as well as WHY they are important.

I referred to Melissa Sulkowski, a trained family mediator and divorce coach specializing in conflict work, who wrote on Goerie.com recently that simple things like setting boundaries can improve and even save your relationships at home and at work.

She makes the point that boundaries come in all shapes and sizes and show up in different areas of our lives and that they serve to protect us. 

The point I made in that article is that setting boundaries are important for several reasons because they ultimately serve as barriers to protect YOU.

They are also tools for establishing limits with others and communicating that you won’t tolerate certain behaviours.

It is also usually those without personal boundaries that commonly end up in less than ideal situations and relationships.

The reality is that without limits, of any kind, you’re opening yourself up to become a victim to the whims of those around you.

So, what is a personal boundary exactly?

Melissa defined it as,

A boundary is anything that indicates a limit. Consider boundaries as the fence between your personal core values and the needs of others. Boundaries are created to mark our tolerance of how others behave towards us.

Psychology Today wrote,

Boundaries can be thought of as imaginary lines between you and others that distinguish what belongs to you from what doesn’t, and applies not only to your possessions, money, and body, but also to your thoughts, feelings, and needs. It can be helpful to think of your boundaries as a bottom line of sorts. Our boundaries are the limits we set and adhere to in our relationships that define what we are willing to accept and what we are willing to do. 

For me personally, setting boundaries are about RESPECT.

I added the definition,

Personal boundaries are about respecting yourself and demanding respect from others. Setting boundaries is therefore a safeguard against disrespect and abuse of any kind, and ensuring that you are treated the way you truly deserve. 

The point is this – if you’re in any kind of relationship at the moment where you feel you are being exploited, disrespected, or even abused, I encourage you to consider setting boundaries for yourself.

The article I wrote gives you a pretty good start, but first, you need to see the need for it.

If you are being exploited or abused at the moment, perhaps it’s time to look at your personal boundaries.

No or very flexible boundaries are not helpful, and you might want to consider putting some in place in your life as soon as possible.

People who have clear and healthy boundaries in place, find it much easier negotiating their needs and expectations in their relationship than those without.

Letting your partner walk all over you, or manipulate you every chance they get, are not love – it’s toxic to your personal wellbeing, as well as your future.

15. Prevention is better than cure

This is extremely important relationship advice for couples to keep in mind – WHEN you decide to seek help to improve your relationship is probably more crucial than the help itself.

Relationship experts tell us that marital or couples therapy can be effective, and some forms of therapy have data to show this, but TIMING is probably more important than the type of therapy.

When it comes to improving your relationship, prevention does seem to be better than cure.

Dealing with relationship challenges or problems with well-timed therapy early on, or anticipating them in the first place (with preventative enhancement programs) seems to beat trying to fix things after they go wrong.

Once things start going wrong in a relationship and are allowed to fester and grow, turning the tide becomes increasingly difficult.

If you, therefore, find yourself constantly having a conflict on certain topics, as in the case with certain perpetual problems referred to earlier, dealing with them NOW rather than later might be a good idea.

It is not that curing issues is impossible, but rather far more difficult once problems have taken root.

World-renowned life coach, Tony Robbins, puts it best when he says,

Kill the monster while it is a baby.

Don’t allow any issues in your relationship to take root and become out of control weeds that suffocate the life out of your relationship.

Prevention is better than cure in this instance.

And if you have the time, make use of it.

16. Constantly aim to do what you did at the start of your relationships, and there won’t be an end to your relationship

There are so much truth and power in this relationship advice for couples tip.

I have tested this with many couples now, as well as in my marriage and it always ends up being an eye-opener.

We all know from experience that there is a period close to the beginning of most long-term relationships when we’re so swept up in the excitement of the chemistry of being in love that we don’t mind or just overlook so many things about our partners.

This is ironic because these same things oftentimes become ingredients for stress and frustration later on.

But, this is where we need to take control of our minds and attitudes to prevent this from happening.

This process of remembering who you fell for in the beginning, starts with you.

Think back and remember the details of your partner at the beginning – their personality, appearance, habits, preferences, favourite things to do, smile, focus, drive, etc.

Remember the things you found attractive.

In fact, remember the things you found so appealing that you couldn’t live without him or her.

In the early days of any romance, couples usually share some extremely powerful emotions, connection and exciting times.

And recalling them together can bring them back into focus and even spark new life in your relationship in the here and now.

This isn’t about recreating the past but using it to feed a richer experience in the here and now.

relationship advice for couples

But this last relationship advice tip is about more than just remembering and talking about it.

This is about remembering how YOU thought, acted, and reacted differently from now.

When negativity of any kind moves into a relationship, the things we used to do in the beginning tend to move out.

And as we already mentioned, it is the small things done over time that makes a big difference in the long run.

Use this relationship advice tip to remember how you used to approach your partner and your relationship differently, which played a huge role in creating a different experience being with your partner.

Chances are both you and your partner are essentially still the same people as you were before.

Yes, we all get older, gain weight, start new jobs, etc, but we are essentially still the same people at our core.

It is your job to keep your focus on that person, and remind yourself that he or she is still “in there,” rather than focus on all the negativity, resentment, and frustration.

That will make you blind for who your partner really is on the inside.

  • Remember how you use to treat your partner when they were upset or frustrated.
  • Remember how you use to talk to your partner, even when you had a long day.
  • Remember how you used to make a huge effort in treating them or showing them your love for them through small gestures like love notes.
  • Remember how you used to listen to them patiently, and make them a priority no matter what.
  • Remember how you would drop everything in an instant if they needed you, and you would come running.

These things tend to change over time.

Not because we can’t do them anymore, but because we have stopped “seeing” our partners – or at least, how we used to in the beginning.

But you can change that.

And it starts with remembering.

Last Thoughts

I hope you enjoyed this post on the 16 best relationship advice for couples tips I have ever come across.

There is a lot of other great relationship advice for couples I did not mention, but these ones I like particularly.

Hopefully, they will get you to start thinking about your relationship more.

But, I also hope that they will help you start thinking about the role YOU can play in changing the quality of your relationship if it struggling right now.

Don’t wait till it’s too late.

As the old saying goes,

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

I truly hope that this served you, and I would love to hear from you.

Please leave any comments or questions in the comments section below if you want me to personally respond.

Remember, live and love fully.

GideonHanekom relationship advice for couples

About the author

Gideon Hanekom

Gideon Hanekom is the creator of TheRelationshipGuy.com, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as Marriage.com and The Good Men Project.

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