10 Tips For A More Balanced Relationship

We all know that one couple that seems to do everything together. You know the one. They share every leisure activity, and rarely, if ever, does one partner make plans that don’t involve the other. Maybe you see this in your best friend’s relationship, maybe in a relative’s relationship, or maybe in your own!

Maintaining a sense of emotional closeness with your partner is important; it is one of the major pillars of a healthy intimate relationship. That being said, you can have too much of a good thing.

Here are some tips for achieving a healthy balance of “I” and “We”:

  • Make new friends, and keep the old.
    Sometimes when people enter a serious relationship or get married, they let other friendships fall by the wayside. Just as it takes work to maintain a marriage, friendships also require an effort. Nurture existing friendships, and keep yourself open to making new connections.
  • Get to know yourself.
    Spend time by yourself—and try to relish it! Do things that you enjoy, whether that is jogging, going for a walk, reading, or watching your favorite TV show (maybe that one that your partner doesn’t like). Explore new places on your own. Reflect on what’s on your mind and record your thoughts in a journal.
  • Pick up an old hobby — or find a new one.
    Perhaps you used to be into crafting or photography or gardening, but life got busy, and you just can’t seem to find the time anymore. Make the time! You may have forgotten how much enjoyment or stress relief the activity provides you. Or discover a new hobby by taking a class, either alone or with friends.
  • Talk about it.
    In a previous blog post, we talked about the importance of assertive communication. If you or your partner are feeling unbalanced in terms of your time spent together and apart, talk to each other about how you feel and what kinds of adjustments you’d like to try to make.
  • Encourage and support each other.
    If either or both of you are are feeling hesitant to pursue time apart, let each other know that it’s okay. Acknowledge that spending time apart does not mean you are decreasing the overall closeness in your relationship. When a strong emotional connection already exists, you and your partner are able to pursue your own separate interests and endeavors to help each of you grow individually, while still feeling supported by your partner and confident in your relationship.

Now let’s take a look at the other side of this dynamic — when there is too much “I” and not enough “We.”

When maintaining a sense of closeness is not a priority, intimacy atrophies. It can happen gradually. One day you wake up and suddenly realize you just feel so… far away… from your partner. How did that happen? And how do you get back that sense of “we”?

Here are some practical tips for becoming more connected with your partner:

  • Just say no.
    • Sometimes we simply take on too many outside obligations and stretch ourselves too thin. Allow yourself to say “no” to activities that take too much time or energy away from your relationship.
  • Date your mate.
    • Start having a weekly date night. Mark it on the calendar, schedule the babysitter, and when the time arrives, relax and enjoy yourselves!
  • Make a bucket list together.
    • Mix it up with both short-term and long-term so that you can start crossing things off right away while still dreaming and planning for your future together.
  • Try something new – together.
    • Take a sushi-making or painting class, or try out the latest fitness craze. Even if you make fools of yourselves, you’ll share some laughs and feel closer in the process.
  • Have a daily “check-in”.
    • Set aside time each day, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, where you give each other your undivided attention—no smartphones! Use the following prompts (or create your own):
      • What was stressful/rewarding for you today?
      • What made you happy today?
      • Today you were a great partner because _____.
      • I felt confident in/when _____.
      • I felt insecure or vulnerable in/when _____.

Building that sense of intimacy and connection takes time and consistency, which is why small check-ins each day can help you increase your closeness even amidst the hectic pace of everyday life. Who knows? You might even get crazy and plan a whole day to spend together!

Research shows that a healthy relationship requires a balance of togetherness and separateness. Closeness is important, but so is maintaining your own sense of identity and independence. Strive for balance as your baseline, knowing that it’s normal to go through seasons of life when you are more or less connected.

Want to talk more about balancing “I’ and “we”?
Check out our Discussion Guide for Couples. It’s a great addition to your date night or daily check in, and it makes a great gift as well!

4 thoughts to “10 Tips For A More Balanced Relationship”

  1. In working with couples, I always talk about the 2 basic presoanlity types, Introverts and extroverts. Not that one is good and the other is bad, but they need to know what they are and what their partner is so that they can meet each other’s needs. I tell them that a lot of peolpe have the wrong idea of the introvert. They think that they are the person who does not like being around other people, which is very wrong. Most introverts love being around peolple, but when they are around people they are like a car with the engine turned off and the headlights turned on, When they are with others they give off energy and just like the car battery, it runs out of juice so they need to get away and recharge. While the extravert is like the care is running and the battery is being recharged by the alternater; they need to be around others to draw enegy off them. I once had a couple where the man was an introvert but worked in a very people job, so he was giving off energy all day long, so when he came home all he wanted to do was go down into the basement and play vidio games. The woman was an extrovert who had a job that did not provide much person to person contact, so when she came home, she was in need of a person to interact with to charge herself up. She would get really mad when he went down to the basement and was not hesitant to let him know. Therefore, he was afraid to come up which got her even madder. I told them this is what I want you to do. When he comes home, let him go down to the basement, but set a timmer for 1/2 hour. When it went off he was to come up. At our next meeting, I asked them how it was going and they said that it changed their world! He had time to charge up and she know that he would be up in 1/2 hour refressed and ready to meet her needs of person to person contact.
    As I said, they both needed to know the othese personality type and what each needed. When they tried it out it was like night and day.

  2. Can’t emphasize that “daily check-in” enough. It’s SO important to let the other person know that you’re in the same team, and that you want to know how he is doing. A relationship is only as strong as the weaker partner.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *