Relationships have a big impact on our health and happiness. Learn how to invest in your relationship during menopause from our friends at Coupleness.
Have you ever wondered about what has the biggest impact on our health and happiness? It’s an important question. Especially when going through menopause, which can be a time of challenges, reflection and transformation.
Here’s the thing: there’s no perfect way to live a happy life. No magic formula for absolute health, and no right way to move through menopause.
But now for the good news. There is one thing that a nearly 80-year research study at Harvard has shown to be the best predictor of our long-term health and happiness. More than money, fame, or even our genes, our close relationships are what make us happier and healthier throughout life.
It’s true! So when you and/or your partner are experiencing menopause, investing in your relationship can help you immensely in the short- and long-term.
Here are five ways you and your partner can help your relationship thrive during menopause.
1. Practice gratitude and appreciation
Feeling gratitude in general brings all sorts of benefits, like feeling less lonely and more optimistic. When it comes to your relationship, expressing your gratitude and appreciation for each other is a great way to boost each other up. It helps you both feel wanted, recognizing that your presence makes a difference.
Start a gratitude journal, either on your own or together with your partner. A few days a week, write down some things that you’re grateful for. It can be simple things, like your morning coffee or your cozy couch - although a gratitude practice is especially effective when you focus on people. So, be sure to include things you can thank each other for too.
This isn’t about rose-colored glasses. Gratitude isn’t meant to block out things that are painful or difficult. In addition to expressing and processing the tough stuff, gratitude can offer a balance. Finding the light, big or small, helps us move through darkness. And you might find that once you start looking for things to be thankful for, you’ll find more and more.
2. Share your feelings
We can have a lot of different feelings as we experience menopause. (Okay, let’s be honest: we can have a lot of feelings anytime in life.) Ideally, you won’t rely solely on your partner to help you manage them. It’s good to have a therapist, friend or journal to help you identify and process your feelings.
But sharing your feelings with your partner can have lots of benefits, and can strengthen your relationship. Sharing feelings builds trust and intimacy, and lets you understand each other more deeply. It can also help you improve communication and work through things together.
Did you know there are over 4,000 English words for feelings? Expand your vocabulary and capture those moments of serenity, anguish, fury, bliss, and anything else you might be feeling. The Coupleness app is a great tool for exploring and expressing how you’re feeling, and sharing your day with your partner.
3. Build healthy habits together
It’s easy to feel like you’re just getting by day-to-day. You might have busy schedules, health highs and lows, or other aspects of life that feel overwhelming. Sound about right?
There are little things you can do with your partner to build healthy habits together. Having routines can give you a stronger foundation, and help you manage daily life. They can even let you and your partner find time to focus on your relationship.
Relationship habits can be things like: saying “thank you” to each other for one thing every day, going on an evening walk without your phones, having a weekly-check in to discuss how things are going, or giving each other an extra long hug every morning. Choose little things that fit easily into your existing routines.
4. Stay curious
Even if you and your partner have been together for a long time, there is always more to discover about each other. Maintaining curiosity in your relationship brings excitement and novelty, and lets you show your interest in each other.
There are so many aspects of menopause to discover, and things can change all the time. Stay open and curious together about what you’re going through. Ask each other questions, and find new ways to express how things are feeling.
You can also have routine-breaking conversations, asking each other questions that lead to fun or meaningful discoveries. Ask things like, “What is your favorite way to be creative?” or “If your partner was a superhero, which one would they be?” Here are 100 questions for your relationship to get you started.
5. Go on dates
Whether menopause is making you want to curl up in bed or jump around and yell, there’s a date for that! Don’t think of “date night” as having to be a fancy dinner with high heels and sexual expectations.
Guess what? Taking a bath together counts as a date. Building a fort in your living room is a date. Going for an aimless walk in a new part of town is - you got it - a date. It’s about spending time just you and your partner, away from life’s responsibilities for as brief or as long of a time as you want.
Take turns planning dates, and try mixing things up. The comfortable, familiar dates are great for your relationship, but what has an even bigger positive impact is trying new things together. This is a time of transformation. You and your relationship can grow and evolve in wonderful ways.
Author: Maya Maria Brown, M.A. Counseling Psychology, is an international mental health professional. She is a full-time Relationship Expert at Coupleness, helping couples form healthy habits for their relationships.
Find out more about Coupleness on www.getcoupleness.com
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