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Creating Shared Meaning: 3 Ideas To Help You Connect With Your Partner

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As a marriage counselor and couples therapist, I have come to discover that a healthy marriage includes various elements:

  • If you have kids, it involves working together to parent and guide your children.

  • A thriving partnership is also built on frequent date nights, intentional sex, and strategic communication.

  • A marriage also means you're working with your partner to manage paying bills and completing chores to ensure the household is running well.

All of these things are important. What is also necessary for a good marriage is the creation of shared meaning.

According to renowned marriage therapist and couples counselor, John Gottman, shared meaning refers to all the ways a couple discovers purpose and depth in their relationship.

Every couple creates this shared meaning through the various practices, rituals, roles, goals and symbols in the relationship.

Without shared meaning, a couple is not able to experience the richness and joy that is possible in a relationship

Three Ideas To Help Establish Shared Meaning

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As a couples therapist, I often share ideas that with the couples I work with in couples therapy. Many of these ideas are self generated. Others I have learned from the couples that I work with in what they have done to establish shared meaning as a couple.

Below are some ideas that can help you establish shared meaning:

1. Daily Rituals of Connection

Rituals of connection are small, intentional moments of connecting with your partner. You can have rituals of connection when you first see your spouse in the morning or right before you go to bed.

A few ideas include:

  • Have a meal with your partner without any screens.

  • Go on a walk with your partner around the neighborhood

  • Schedule a date and go do something fun!

2. Explore Goals and Symbols Together

Humans are symbolic creatures. Unlike other animals, we make complex associations and imbue ordinary things with extraordinary significance.

Sit down with your partner and explore the various symbols in your relationship. Here are a few questions to explore together:

  • What does "money" mean to you?

  • How has your understanding of "home" evolved over the years?

  • What do you mean by "intimacy"?

  • How do you understand "spirituality"?

3. Share Your Dreams

We all have dreams for the future. One way to create shared meaning is to explore your hopes and dreams with your partner.

Sharing your dreams can be a way to escape the banality of the everyday and connect your identity to a future where things are more exciting.

Here are a few ideas on how to share and support dreams in a relationship:

  • Find out the "story" behind the dream. Where does it come from? How does it connect with other values and priorities?

  • Extend empathy for the dream. Even when you don't share the same dream as your partner, let them know you understand why that dream is important to them.

  • Support the dream. If the dream is years from the making, find little ways of supporting your partner in taking baby steps towards the dream. Offer to watch the kids or provide financial support to help make the dream come true.

Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy Can Help Encourage Shared Meaning

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A couple's therapist can help you clarify what your hopes and aspirations are for your relationship. A marriage counselor can work with you and your partner to help you express what is important and how you're going to get there.

When there are competing dreams in a marriage, a marriage therapist can help you find common ground or successfully navigate the conflict.

Begin Marriage Counseling or Couples Therapy at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Katy, Tx & Houston

At Katy Teen & Family Counseling, our marriage therapists and couples counselors can help. Marriage counseling or couples therapy can help not only resolve conflict or tension in marriages or relationships but also help build strength and capitalize on the power of the relationship you already have.

Our Katy, Tx location of Katy Teen and Family Counseling, is conveniently located off of I-10 and 99. We are about 4-5 blocks behind the Academy Sports in Katy, Tx.

If you are ready to start your journey with one of our couples therapist or marriage counselors, Katy Teen & Family Counseling can help. It's as simple as following these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Katy Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Speak with one of our marriage counselors or couples therapists

  3. Star your journey in repairing your relationship or taking it to the next level!

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Katy Teen & Family Counseling: Serving Katy, Tx & Houston

Below are a few of the other counseling services we provide for teens, families, and young adults in Katy, Tx and Houston:

Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy

Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)

Peak performance (optimal athletic brain performance)

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

About the Author

Man standing in front of a tan, brick wall, wearing a blue pinstripe dress shirt, tan sports coat, smiling. He is a couples therapist katy, tx and provides couples counseling and couples therapy katy, tx 77494.

Quique Autrey is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and an experienced couples therapist and marriage counselor.

He views each individual through the lens of the family system. Through this lens he provides: teen therapy, young adult counseling, family counseling, marriage counseling & couples therapy.

Quique has helped those who experience depression, anxiety, panic attacks, social anxiety, ADHD/ADD, and is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Quique also has a passion for helping teens, young adults, and adults who may be on the Autism Spectrum. He has a talent for connecting with and helping people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

If you're ready to start your healing journey in marriage counseling or couples therapy, you can call us at 346-202-4662 or email us at

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