Top Tips for Couples from Lucy Beresford

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, author of ‘Happy Relationships at Home, Work and Play’, Psychologies agony aunt and psychotherapist, Lucy Beresford divulges her top tips for couples.

0077145917Lucy will be joining us on Tuesday 5th February at 7pm to talk about her new book with broadcaster, David Freeman. Tickets cost £3 and are available from our Customer Service Department, Blackwell’s Bookshop, 48-51 Broad Street, Oxford. Telephone: 01865 333623.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and so the thoughts of some of us turn to love and intimacy. Some of us will be in relationships, some of us are looking for a partner, but all of us need to be reminded that long-lasting love must be worked at, consciously, every day.

To begin with, we need to recognise that we often have unmet needs or hopes left over from childhood. Without realising it, we could be trying to repeat a childhood relationship in which we felt unloved or rejected or disrespected. By unconsciously repeating the same kind of relationship as grown-ups, we are trying to repair it. By taking responsibility for what needs we bring to our present-day relationships, we can stop blaming our partner for failing to meet that need.

We also need to pay attention to what happens in the bedroom. For example, porn is having a negative effect on relationships. Recent research has shown that women of all ages are feeling under increasing pressure to look a certain way in the bedroom, and that men speak of being bored by ‘ordinary’ sexual activity. As a result, couples are becoming increasing dissatisfied with their love lives.

But of course, porn is not an accurate representation of intimate relationships. So even if we are newly married, we need to find time to talk sensitively to each other about sex in general and our sex life in particular. Sex isn’t about recreating the same excitements which existed at the beginning of your relationship, but about maintaining a sexual journey, which fulfils and nourishes you and your partner.

beresfordCriticism corrodes relationships, so we need to keep cross words to a minimum. It’s helpful to bear in mind how we would feel if someone criticised us all the time. Even if we grew up being criticised in childhood and therefore believe we can’t help ourselves, we do possess the capacity to change. By catching ourselves about to criticise, we can make a choice about whether to carry on doing so. Instead of always looking for the negative, we can try competing with our partner to be the one to say positive, encouraging things, and do loving or helpful things.

Above all, whether we are currently in a relationship or looking for that someone special, remember that the more we put in, the more we put ourselves on the line in a relationship, the more rewarding our intimate relationships can be.

© Lucy Beresford, Happy Relationships

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