We have all heard time and time again in the home, at school and in the work place that first impressions count. Whether that’s our mothers trying to get us to polish our shoes, wear something we don’t like or advice given for a job interview. Having helped saved thousands of marriages now, either through my online programs or in person in couple counselling in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, UAE. I have come to learn that First Interactions count massively and something I always discuss in my approach to marriage counselling. Let me share a story of a couple I recently helped, who sought marriage counseling to stop arguing. Names changed to protect confidentiality.

Ann had just returned from a long vacation away with her 2 children and was looking forward to the family being together again and starting the new school term. Eric had missed them deeply while they were away and he stayed in Dubai. He was excited to see them and even though they had talked about marriage counseling in the past, he thought they wouldn’t need it, as communication was positive when apart. BUT as they settled back into the school and work routine again they found the same stresses, tensions, and arguments; soon resurfaced.

Ann found Eric’s daily habits irritating. The way Eric just came home from work, switched on the TV and zoned out as soon as he got in. She felt unseen, unimportant and unappreciated. “It’s like having another child in the house Nicola, no support, no communication and sulking as soon as I ask him to do something. He is a grumpy old man again. Everything is always up to me to do and I often wonder why am I bothering.”

Eric needed to unwind after a draining day at work, the last thing he wanted to listen to when he got in was a list of problems, stresses, and complaints. Yet this is what he felt like he got. He couldn’t understand why Ann always greeted him with a “face like thunder”, why was she always so moody and aggressive, when he was working so hard for the family? He couldn’t believe that she had a problem with him watching TV either, as she was always on facebook and Instagram. The evening interaction started badly and continued that way. A bad start to their evening set the tone for more bickering, whether that was at the dinner table, the kid’s bath time or before bed. They sought marriage counselling because they felt like they just couldn’t get along anymore. After an icy cold evening, they barely gave each other a nod good bye in the morning.

Like many couples I work with, they didn’t realise how key first interactions are. Get the first interaction right at the start of your evening together, you will set the tone for a close, connected, and engaging time. Evenings that start hostile continue that way and the same goes for the weekend.

Ann and Eric explained during the couple counselling session that their weekends were never very positive. This too was because they often started the weekend off on the wrong foot. Eric would come home have a few drinks and want to relax and do nothing the next day. Ann wanted to go out and do something different, to mix with friends and fill the weekend with family activities. They tried talking about their differences but because they only did this when they were already feeling disappointed, stressed, annoyed and frustrated their conversations didn’t resolve anything. Only a few weeks into the new term and they were clashing on everything again, just like before and wondered if it was best they lived apart.

When we began the marriage counselling in Dubai I explained the importance of “first interactions ” and gave them this only to focus on. Ann said “I cannot believe what a difference it has made to our relationship Nicola, this simple exercise has turned the coldness into closeness. I will share now with you the main points I covered in the marriage counseling:

Take Charge of Your First Interactions

Morning – be loving, kind and connect first
Make sure you start the day positive. What couples choose is always different, it is important to pick what works for you. This could be acts of kindness in the morning like: making each other a cup of coffee or tea, working out together, kissing/hugging each other, avoiding being on your phones.

Coming in from work – be loving, kind and connect first
For this one, you ideally need to share the way you would love to be greeted when you enter the house or when your partner arrives home.

For example some people love to be left alone to shower, lie down, meditate or absorb in something brain numbing to unwind. Other people love a hug, conversation and want to interact with the family. Some people love to be greeted with a tidy house or dinner ready and need to eat straight away, some like to go for a walk or be in nature. Some people just need a caring “how was your day?”

It’s important to discuss this ideal and work out a win win and compromise. If you like opposite things, take it in turns to please each other and find a happy medium.

Before bed – be loving, kind and connect first
Our interactions before bed, can often set how we sleep and wake up feeling. Whether you go to sleep at the same time in the same bed or not, saying a good night and checking on how each other feel is something that really helps a deep connection develop.

Think about how your, mornings, evenings and weekends start. What needs changing? What would help you to move forward and get along better perhaps? Or if you are already getting on well, what would make life more enjoyable or easier for you?

Having worked with 1000’s of couples now all over the world to strengthen or save marriages this really works to avoid arguments or icy silences.

This is just one of the many ways I help couples to become closer through forward focused discussions. Another major way is through the empowered love formula. If you liked this then you will really like the free marriage masterclass I created it’s a video jam packed of life-changing relationship advice for women and men which you can watch here for free right now: https://loveformula.nicolabeer.com/masterclass-registration

Have a great week ahead, from my heart to yours, Nicola

Nicola Beer

P.S All you need to do to register for more relationship advice for men and women is visit https://loveformula.nicolabeer.com/masterclass-registration

Sign in and you will be given special access to the video. Places are limited because I have a very special offer that the end which I can only give to a certain amount of people.
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Author's Bio: 

Nicola Beer is an International Relationship & Divorce Coach who helps her clients find peace and create a new beginning after Marriage Breakdown and Divorce. This includes helping couples on the verge of a breakup to resolve their relationship issues once and for all so that they can revive the love, passion, respect, and fun that's been missing.

As well as helping clients during and after Divorce to manage stress, create more income and adjust to new financial realities, redefine who they are, create a new social life, and when they are ready to attract someone great. Nicola also runs 2 parenting programs that support children through and after divorce

Nicola has combined 11 years' experience helping people with emotional issues. This comprises 7 years private coaching and 4 years as a volunteer for the Samaritans where she supported callers dealing with any emotional distress. She is UK certified in Coaching, Grief Recovery for Adults and Children, NLP, Time Line Therapy, Hypnosis.

Nicola's passion for supporting people before, during and after divorce comes from her own childhood, where due to the stress of divorce her mother suffered a mental breakdown. As 1 of 5 children the divorce was devastating for her family and affected each of her family in different ways. More recently Nicola's older sister with 4 children is going through a difficult divorce. Having experienced and seen the pain and stress associated with divorce Nicola is focused on proving solutions. She knows divorce doesn't have to mean disaster and takes her clients and their children from surviving to thriving. She is equally passionate about saving marriages, so has a program to overcome relationship problems.

Nicola works with expats and locals, Muslims and Non-Muslims from all over the world, mainly from Dubai, London, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, either in person for a 2 day intensive package or further afield US, Australia via video conference and phone.