BEING IN LOVE isn’t always smooth and easy. We asked Brittany Howell of Be Free Counseling Services in Wauwatosa for the relationship challenges she sees most often – and how couples can overcome them.
The Problem: Conflict management
The Strategy: Schedule regular talks
To cultivate a safe space for regular and healthy conversation, Howell coined “Talk About It Sundays.” “It can be about how the week is going, anything upcoming and yes, issues,” she says. Whatever day you and your partner choose, just be sure to cool off before discussing issues.
The Problem: Relationship monotony
The Strategy: Date nights every month
To break out of routine and spark romance in relationships, Howell recommends consistently scheduling date nights (or days) once a month. Make it a priority; if something else horns in on the date, postpone but don’t cancel altogether.
The Problem: Gender roles
The Strategy: Don’t be your grandparents
Assuming the gender roles of previous generations can create relationship conflict. Instead, talk openly about what each partner expects. “If we understand our partner’s perspective early on, we can make a decision on if we’re able, or even want, to live up to those expectations.”
The Problem: Miscommunication
The Strategy: Create a needs list
Instead of trying to decode your partner’s love language yourself, have an honest and direct discussion about how you both need and accept love. As a starting point, Howell encourages couples to create a list of things they need to feel fulfilled in a relationship.