Strengthening your relationship
Relationships change. The “honeymoon” period does not last forever, which can leave couples floundering as they become unsure of how to maintain and strengthen their emotional bonds. Here are simple steps you can take to help strengthen your relationship with the person you love.
Be kind, always
Try to be kind to each other, even if you are feeling grumpy about something. Remember that you are responsible for your behaviour and your mood, so do not expect your partner to “fix” you. Every once in a while, write down all the lovely things your partner has done for you. This could be taking on one of your chores when you were feeling unwell, bringing you flowers “just because” or buying you a favourite treat whilst out shopping for something else. Showing your written list to your partner shows them that you do appreciate all they do for you.
You can strengthen your relationship by marking special days in the year. From birthdays to your anniversary to public holidays, making an effort to find Valentine’s day gifts, for example, will show that you understand the importance of these days and the chance it offers for you to create a special treat for your partner and yourself.
Agree to disagree
Find ways to express yourself and your needs without criticism or blame towards your loved one. There will be disagreements between you, but arguments can escalate rapidly with a critical or contemptuous remark. Disagreements should not always mean conflict.
Learn to stop before an argument gets completely out of control. Back down if the argument is going nowhere and is not important in the larger scheme of things. If there is something difficult you want to discuss, go for a walk together. Being outside and moving together in the same direction minimises the chance of confrontation since you are walking side by side, heading in the same direction.
An appreciation of your partner’s feelings will help resolve any issue, and if an argument becomes too heated, take a break for 20 minutes and try writing down the details from a neutral standpoint. This may highlight something you missed in the heat of the moment.
It is not all about you!
Being flexible within a relationship, making sacrifices for your partner without fuss, are what makes a relationship happy and long-lasting. If your partner asks you to change your plans for a particular reason, do so. Your support will show that you consider your relationship to be a true partnership. If you have an important decision to make about work or home, first ask yourself if it is good for your relationship. If you don’t want to mention something you have planned, it is not good for your marriage.
A happy relationship has five times as many positive experiences as negative ones. Nurture this positivity, by having fun together, laughing, going on adventures or a romantic getaway. Positivity comes from security as a couple. Create intimate moments without expectation of long lovemaking sessions. Extend your hugs and kisses longer than you normally would. When going out for a meal, sit next to each other rather than across from each other. This is a much friendlier position and allows for more intimacy, from a whispered comment to a hand on the knee. These actions will all maintain a feeling of a strong connection.
Make your relationship your top priority, accept that your expectations will not always match your partners, but this need not lead to disappointment, but rather an opportunity for you to strengthen the foundations of your relationship for years to come.
If you are experiencing relationship problems, seek help early on. Find someone you can talk with honestly as soon as problems arise. Many people will wait a long time before seeking help, but this may make difficulties mount up, building resentment which left unchecked will inevitably lead to further problems.
Be mindful who you ask for help, as you do not want to be the latest source of gossip. There are several professional counselling services for couples where you can speak in confidence as a couple, or you can speak with someone as an individual.
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