Build healthy relationships
One of our most popular services is to help couples and families enhance their relationships.
All relationships take work, but military life can create some additional challenges. There is a chance you might have experienced:
- time spent away from your partner and family while on training or deployment
- reconnecting after postings and adjusting to living together
- exposure to situations that would be unusual for civilians.
Tips for strong relationships
Make time for your relationship - life can be very hectic and sometimes we take the people closest to us for granted. It’s important to prioritise your relationship, even when it’s hard to find the time.
Keep communication lines open - keep talking. It doesn’t matter if it’s about the big issues or ordinary day-to-day stuff. Sharing your thoughts, feelings and problems with those close to you helps keep relationships strong and shows your support for each other.
Plan healthy and rewarding activities - sharing important and meaningful activities can help relationships stick together. Use the Enjoyable and Rewarding Activities tool to identify appealing activities and plan how to engage in them.
Stay connected even when separated by distance - think about some gestures, thoughts or rituals you can complete together even if you are apart.
Prioritise - if you're stressed and overwhelmed, re-evaluating what’s really important to you in the short term might allow you to take some pressure off. Talking through what’s important and what can wait gives you breathing room and a sense that you’re working together.
Identify triggers and stress - if there are common triggers in your relationships that lead to tension, it is worth noting these down and setting time aside to work on them. See our guide on how to manage stress.
Practice good listening skills
One of the hardest things about communication is being good listener.
As a good listener you should aim to avoid:
- interrupting the other person
- giving advice
- telling them why they shouldn’t feel that way
- trying to solve their problem for them.
See Better Health Victoria’s Guide to effective communication
Useful resources for strong relationships
- Gottman Card Decks
- Relationship Australia partner guide (PDF)
- You and your family and the Australian Defence Force (PDF)
- Social Connections tool
Let us help
If you need some support to help get your relationships back on track, call Open Arms on 1800 011 046.
Open Arms can provide individual, couple and family counselling to help improve your resilience, as well as enhance your mental health and wellbeing. Call 1800-011-046 for free and confidential 24/7 support.
A program to help you rediscover what's important in your relationship and to rebuild a relationship with your partner.
A 5 day residential program to help improve wellbeing and enhance relationships.