Good relationships don’t just happen, they require work from both ends. It’s not easy to establish and maintain a good relationship. People are complex, and your needs and expectations change over time. But there are steps you can take-and benefits you can reap-when you take the time to improve your relationship.
1. Take Responsibility for Yourself– This is the most important choice you can make to improve your relationship. This means that you learn how to take responsibility for your own feelings and needs versus blaming your partner for how you feel. Instead of trying to get your partner to make you feel happy and secure, you learn how to do this for yourself through your own thoughts and actions. This means treating yourself with kindness, caring, compassion, and acceptance instead of self-judgment.
2. Kindness and Compassion – Treat your partner the way you want to be treated is a great reminder to improve your relationship. We all yearn to be treated lovingly with kindness. We need to treat ourselves this way, and we need to treat our partner and others this way. Relationships flourish when both people treat each other with kindness by remembering that we are all going through something tough. While there are no guarantees, often treating others with kindness brings kindness in return.
3. Learning Instead of Controlling- When conflict occurs, it’s easy to become defensive. The desire to “win” an argument becomes all too tempting. But when one partner loses, both lose. It’s important to communicate your feelings in a neutral manner (not with high emotions) and listen to understand, not rebuttal.
4. Create Dates– When people first fall in love, they make time for each other. As you grow more comfortable with each other, life seems to get in the way. It’s easy to forget to set aside time for each other. But a relationship cannot last if you do not spend time together. Improve your relationship by investing time and learning even more about your partner.
5. Gratitude Instead of Complaints- Positive energy flows between two people when there is an attitude of gratitude. Constant complaints create a heavy, negative energy, which is not fun to be around. And if you do have a complaint, which is normal, make sure to lead with a compliment rather than dive right into the negatives.
5. Fun and Play- We all know that work without play drains us of all our energy and makes for dull relationships. Relationships flourish when people laugh together, play together, and when humor is a part of everyday life. Stop taking everything so seriously and learn to see the funny side of life. Improve your relationship by bringing in light moments. Heaviness, though sometimes unavoidable, can be hard to maintain on regular basis.
7. Service- A wonderful way to improve your relationship is to do service projects together. Giving to others fills the heart and creates deep satisfaction in the soul. Doing service moves you out of yourself and your own problems and supports a broader, more spiritual view of life. Or do an act of service for your partner. Massage their feet, cook them dinner, paint that wall for them.
8. Acceptance-Accepting your partner as they are, versus trying to change them into who you want them to be, creates love, connection, and trust in relationships. Acceptance means showing respect for the other person and honoring their feelings, needs, choices, and preferences without judgment or criticism.
Struggling to improve your relationship?
Marriage counseling can be a helpful way to work through your problems and strengthen your relationship. Couples’ counselors are trained to listen, understand, and challenge you both to change behaviors that might be destructive.
Knot Counseling wants you to feel empowered by identifying a problem, understanding it better, and finding ways to solve it. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.