Good relationships don’t just happen.

Over the years I have helped women get their marriages and relationships back on track, navigated women through the trauma of break ups and divorce (including the aftermath), helped heal the wounds of infidelity and the heartache of unrequited love, and I’ve championed women to find love – both with themselves, and with others.

I’ve learned a lot from their stories.

I’ve learned that there is no handbook or manual that comes with marriage and relationships, we learn from our experiences, and I’ve had an insight into some of that experience.

Feeling accepted, listened to, supported and connected are the firm foundations which will nurture and grow the healthy kind of love, and these are all things you can both work on, and you will need to keep working on as your relationships grows.

Here are the 4 key foundations to a healthy relationship – what to watch out for, and what you can do to strengthen them in your relationship.

Feeling accepted

Most relationship problems stem from our loved ones wanting us to ‘be’ or ‘act’ differently. That we are flawed or not good enough in some way. This creates a feeling of rejection & inadequacy and there is always a price to pay.

Sometimes that price is trust, intimacy, and/or connection but in my experience is always almost resentment – and resentment leads to contempt.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an eye rolling partner?

Or a partner who is constantly telling you through put downs to be ‘more like this’ and ‘less like that?’

It’s harmful in a relationship because of what it indicates – it’s a huge flashing sign that your partner doesn’t value or respect you.

Work on building that respect for each other and establish some healthy boundaries. Respect is what helps relationships grow, creating a sense of bond, of connection and of love.

Feeling listened to

Listening, and I mean really listening, is the single most way we feel loved – we need to be listened to and we need to be heard. One of the sincerest forms of respect is your loved one listening to what you have to say – not walking away, not simultaneously listening and doing something else, or hand gestures suggesting you should hurry up whilst talking.

Listening is such a vital and necessary skill needed in creating and maintaining a happy and strong relationship, yet it is so often neglected in so many relationships. When your loved one listens to you and you feel understood, you are much more likely to trust and therefore much more likely to want to be intimate.

Create some space and time to listen with your eyes and ears.

Remove the distractions.

Engineer opportunities to talk.

Make time for each other.

Feeling supported

The healthiest and strongest relationships are those where you feel like you are a team – you can take on the world together, you always have each other’s back and you encourage each other to be the best version you can possibly be of yourselves. A supportive loved one will challenge you, stand beside you when you need them, and will give you the space you need to grow as a person.

It’s ‘Team Us’ all the way.

Try and establish the areas in your marriage or relationship where you aren’t working as a team, and create plan together to get back on track.

Feeling connected

Intimacy, sex and connection are always the first things to take a hit when you’re not feeling accepted, listened to or supported, and more often than not, are the first things women disconnect from when they aren’t feeling accepted, listened to or supported.

And it’s not hard to understand why women withdraw.

Sex and intimacy is the by-product of connection. It’s the thing we want to do when we feel supported, accepted and listened to and most importantly, loved.

We need our souls to be fed.

Intimacy, sex and connection work on so many levels, and look different for everyone. It also changes and evolves over time, just as your relationship grows and evolves over time.

Connection goes hand in hand with acceptance, feeling listened to and feeling supported, so try and focus on improving those areas in your relationship as the route back to re-connection.

Catherine Asta

Award winning Psychotherapist and impassioned champion of women and their stories, with an unequivocal specialism in ‘Bringing Sparkle Back’.

I’ve transformed hundreds of women and have spent thousands and thousand of hours inside the minds of women.

I’m UK based, Yorkshire to be precise, but with a global client base, and a featured expert across the BBC and the media.

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