Basics to keeping a relationship happy
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate!!!
I always tell couples that they need to talk to each like they are four years old. By this I do not mean in a condescending manner but rather assume that our partner knows nothing about our feelings or needs. We as individual have a tendency to assume that our partners know what we want. "We have been married for 20 years he should know what I want.” Not true. If they knew what we wanted then they would have done it. Sending “signals or messages” is not a productive why of communicating, you cannot assume they understand a secret look or a kick on the foot. The only way to communicate is DIRECT COMMUNICATION. This is where the "talk to them like they are four” comes in, explain everything to your partner, do not leave out a detail. There is no purpose in testing our partners, that is just setting our partners up for failure and it does not feel good to be disappointment. You are both on the same team! Direct communication only helps the team win. "I feel like we have not been spending enough time together”. That is an example of a vague statement that we may use for code that we want our partner to plan a date. A month passes no date, your mad, your partner is confused why your mad, and you both are feeling unhappy in the relationship because of the arguing. Rewind a month, “I feel like we have not really been spending enough time together. I would really like to have the opportunity to reconnect, I love when you plan dates, would you come up with something within the next month?” No confusion, no misunderstanding, no disappointment, no guilty, no failure, just a happy couple.
Do you have realistic expectations?
Self reflection is a necessity for a happy health relationship. Do you self evaluate to make sure you have realist expectations of your partner? Your partner is who they are, do you have expectations that maybe unrealistic? “They will change if they love me?” If they did not like ice cream when you met them, there is a pretty good chance they will not like ice cream until they decide it is time to like ice cream. A lot of behaviors are certainly learned, but your partner has to want to learn the new behaviors. Perhaps your partner has never been romantic, or a big talker? Sure they are able to learn these new behaviors, but do you have the expectations that they will change? Sharing you expectations with your partner is a vital part to a successful relationship and then working as a team to find a compromise that both people feel is reasonable. Remember to keep in mind if you have expectations of your partner it is fair that they have expectations of you. Make sure to listen to your partner and work to improve on their expectations of you, even if it does not feel natural at first. Practice makes perfect.
Spending time together… not in the rat race…..not in front of the television
Be present, be in the moment, be with your partner. Make your partner a priority. Yes, we have to work, run the kids around, see the in-laws, walk the dog, and the list goes on and on. All I hear is excuse! In happy relationships, your relationship is the foundation to the madness. When life gets crazy you know you have a safe, supportive place to turn into, your best friend, your soul mate, your partner in crime. So why are you making excuses to NOT spend time with partner? No more excuses, make it happen. Schedule time if needed, put it in the shared calendar app. “Time together.” Talk for 20 minutes minimum daily. Plan date nights, fInd a hobby you both can enjoy, take a walk, have sex… be with each other. Allow your partner to understand that your are truly interested in their life, giving them your attention and focus is a priceless gift only you can give.
Appreciate your partner
Humans at times can be simple creatures. We like positive reinforcement for our actions. We like to be recognized for our hard work. Show your partner appreciation. To show appreciation it is important to understand your partners Love language. Does your partner like to hear thank you? Or does your partner respond to acts of service? Does your partner enjoy receiving a gift of appreciation? Or does your partner feel you appreciation by you giving your partner some of your quality time? It is important that we understand how our partners feel appreciated. When need to make sure we are doing this daily. Your partner deserves to be appreciated and you should want to make them happy and feel good.
Make sure you are listening
Let your partner talk. Just listen to them. Clarify and summarize what you heard your partner say. We may not also agree with our partners but it is important that we feel understood. At times we are so focused on our own thoughts we are not even listening to what the other person is saying. Make sure to be present in the conversation. This shows your partner that you care and value their opinion. By listening it shows that you respect your partner and respect is essential for a lasting happy relationship. When you are listening to your partner you are acting as a team, and when you are a team there is no problem that is to big to be resolved or figured out.
Laughter is a must
Life can be stressful and overwhelming at times. We don't want to add more stress to our partner’s life. Making sure that we are both making laughter a must is important. Remind yourselves that you are each others best friends. Be the comedic relief for each other . Include humor in your daily lives. You had a bad day or your partner had a bad day, lighten it up! Why does everything have to be so serious all the time? We get it, were adults! The car breaks down on the way to work, you spill coffee on your brand new sweater, or boss did like your final report? How important are these things in the big picture? No one got hurt, you still have your health, life will go on, laugh about it together and then work as a team to solve the stressor.