She Said, He Said: Good time to look at key elements to make your relationship the best it can be |

She Said, He Said: Good time to look at key elements to make your relationship the best it can be

Lori Ann Kret and Jeff Cole
She Said, He Said

A letter to our readers:

We know, firsthand, how easy it is to be swept up in the magic of the new year with festivities, friends and fresh starts. But we’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to sink a little deeper into what this joyous time really provides — opportunities for reflection and reconnection.

Much of our work focuses on trying to understand what makes great relationships crumble. Time and time again, we observed complacency as a silent source of erosion. We could write chapters on why: fears, vulnerabilities, resentments, comfort and taking each other for granted are just a few.

But for all of us in an intimate relationship, being able to recognize complacency and choosing to love a little more actively is a powerful game changer.

We’d like to help you kickstart 2019 with a stronger bond with your partner. Our work with couples centers on what we assert to be the five key elements of healthy, fulfilling and sustainable relationships. Below are a few questions related to each element with the hope of inspiring you to love with a little more conviction.

Trust and Emotional Safety

• Are there things, big or small, that I’m withholding from my partner?

• When my partner shows vulnerability or expresses insecurity, how do I react?

Mindful Communication

• Am I willing to own my feelings and the stories I create, or do I blame my partner for our challenges?

• When my partner shares, am I really listening or am I checked out or preparing my response?


• Do I know how my partner likes to receive love and affection?

• Am I connected to my own sensuality and sexuality, or does this facet of me need attention?

• Is there anything getting in the way of initiating intimacy?

Individuality and Interdependence

• Am I still connected to my own passions and interests?

• Do I have a solid foundation of my self-esteem and worth, or do I rely too heavily on my partner to help me feel good about myself?

Partnership and Roles

• Have I clearly shared my expectations with my partner?

• Do I regularly express gratitude for what he/ she contributes to my life and the relationship?

• Am I showing up for my partner regularly and upholding my share of responsibilities?

If any of your answers indicate room for growth, take some time on your own and/or with your partner to explore what you want to do differently in this new year.

It’s never too late to start down a new road. As Robert Frost said, when given the choice between two paths: “I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.”

Lori and Jeff are married, licensed psychotherapists and couple-to-couple coaches at Aspen Relationship Institute. Submit your relationship questions to and your query may be selected for a future column.

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