Relationships are not easy, and maintaining one takes work from each person involved. There are ways to enhance the bond between a couple and it takes commitment, mutual respect and effort. Every relationship is different, and no relationship is perfect. However, you can use some strategies to keep your relationship healthy and positive.
When communicating with your partner, hold back any criticism, insults, or emphasizing what someone is not doing correctly. This creates a defensive partner and could eventually lead to the end of a relationship. Instead of being critical, focus on what they do well and give them constructive criticism instead.
Using “I” more often when speaking creates a way for you to take charge of your statements and have them be more powerful. For example, “I feel happy when you…”. When we take responsibility for our feelings, even if your significant other does not agree with you, he or she cannot discount how you feel about a situation or topic.
Communication is between two people, i.e. a two-way street. When we want our partner to listen to our side of a discussion, make sure you are ready to hear their side as well! It is important to express yourself, but equally important to understand your partner’s point of view.
Being present and participating in the discussion is important too. You do not always need to be thinking what you will say next, you can simply be engaged by listening! Example include eye contact and asking your partner if you understood everything completely or validating your partner’s feelings by telling them you understand how they feel.
Taking a break during a heated discussion is important also. Some conversations can be very intense and taking time to process what is going on is okay. The conversation can be revisited later, but make sure you express that you want to continue at a more appropriate time.
Interrupting or being condescending is another mistake we can make when having a conversation with our partners. Do not speak to others as you would not like to be spoken to; try to concentrate on how you are speaking with others during a discussion and see if you handle discussions in a way you might not have realized before.
Acknowledgement of things your partner does is important also. Valuing our partner for the things they do every day – whether it’s helping to make dinner or putting the baby to bed – goes a long way in making them feel special and appreciated.
Finally, remember to say I love you, I appreciate you, you are doing a great job, you are beautiful, or you are incredible, etc. During the honeymoon phase of a relationship we might be saying these things all the time but saying endearing statements after years or decades together might not happen as often! Expressing our love for one another is just as important for maintaining the relationship.
If you have any questions about improving your relationship or counseling, please contact us today to speak with one of our staff members.