GerryNorth-e1342602124661111111111Ten minutes has been found to be the average time long-term couples spend talking to each other in a day. Think about it and you might realise this estimate is about right given your domestic harmony and knowing so much about each other.

Maybe you feel you are missing out knowing you and your partner don’t talk enough about things that really matter any more? If your relationship is in a rut and needs opening up, there is no time like the present.

Firstly, give yourself a break knowing boredom is not all about you. Our brains are very lazy organs and once it knows the known it switches off or goes sleepy. Over time our brains even de-sex our partners. See our brains love novelty and new stimulation and when that happens we feel more alive. (Go on holiday and see how more attentive you are. Every day is a new day.)

So how about getting more creative in your relationship that might not even mean leaving home. What about doing some things differently at home like no TV on some nights. Listening to music, all your old favs, and reading together is a much more intimate feeling than watching TV every night. Invite some friends over for a simple meal. Go to the movies or theatre more. Try cheap meals out – see how cheap you can get it down to.

The following suggestion is really going to achieve better communication immediately: Ask each other this question on a regular basis. “How is our relationship going do you think?” That question always stirs up unspoken thoughts between you by giving the other permission to talk about things that really matter.

Also consider having a communication jar in the house where you place things you want discussed at a set time, especially if both of you seem very busy doing your own stuff. Once week go through the jar requests over a glass of wine or a cuppa and really talk about things you have been thinking about.

Good relationships contain three vital elements: trust, sharing vulnerabilities and having dreams – dreams for each other and for you both together. The latter meaning maybe getting a dog, buying a beach house, going on holiday or maybe dressing up one night for a night on the town. You know you both can be creative here. But first you have to talk about all of these things to maintain a sense of intimacy. (Having sex is being intimate. Intimacy is knowing some part of you is also part of the other.)

So if you are in a couple’s rut and realise that maybe 10 minutes is not enough there are things you can do to make your communication last longer. You might have a fight on your hands getting your brain out of a comfort zone but once you do it will love the new stimulation and you will love the new awareness. Start by turning off the TV.

Gerry North is a couple’s counsellor and can be contacted at [email protected] or

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