We have a tendency to put others first. But in doing so, we can sometimes neglect our relationship with ourselves in a relationship.
A relationship is something we all desire and want to enjoy. We are surprised when things show up that can take us off course, and we honestly don’t know what to do. The great news is that it is not as complicated as it may feel at the moment!
Constant awareness of the relationship is key. Keeping in mind love and respect can set the pace for all future challenges as it builds trust in conversations. Establishing a foundation moving forward allows us to speak about the issues at hand in a completely safe environment.
1. Be grateful for the relationship
We tend to take those close to us for granted.We stop doing or saying the things that originally created the relationship we now have. Remembering to be grateful keeps the relationship in a state of high care and attention in your mind and heart and will keep the relationship constantly feeling moments of “I am so glad to be here.” That energy is felt and grown from. A grateful lens sees the best of the relationship when you need it most and builds in solution-based thinking rather than an “I’ll show them” way of thinking.
2. Do not allow other’s actions or opinions to influence how you feel about each other
This is an understanding that exists between two souls who are connected as a discussion, not a put-down, accusation, or even something to pull you apart. Things are seen objectively, and this alone allows for greater conversations and truths. Others may try for reasons all their own to bring to your attention things they may not like about your partner and come to you in a roundabout way.
If they are clear that you are committed, and you are happy, and the two of you address things fairly, they are less apt to pry in the first place. This is one of the greatest reasons couples do not like to bring up issues with others. When you are struggling already, they may add their opinion and say how they really feel about your partner, and they can never take it back, and you will not forget how they really feel.
So couples try to solve things on their own, and that is part of the isolation during times of issues. Building awareness, such as reading up on resolutions or ways to communicate better, gives us a chance to build in a template that we can draw from without hurting each other further and solving the issues at hand.
3. Do not use each other as an outlet for your anger
Using each other as moving targets is not fair to either person in the relationship. If you are upset already, better remind yourself that you are already upset and have nothing to do with the other person. You can start a conversation by saying, “I am really upset about…so I may need some time to catch up to myself today.” That’s it, warning set, and the other person knows to give you the space you need. This alone instills great trust between you.
We are learning that it is not a great time to push ourselves when we are not ready when we are already upset. This kind of patience and restraint is rarely drawn from. However, it works really well. It gives you time to think through what you need to think through so that, at the very least, you know what you are talking about. Otherwise, it is premature to speak when you are angry and have not yet figured out why.
4. In bed, at night, thank the other for sharing their lives with you
Sharing how you feel about your partner being in your life reminds you both how special it is to share your life with them. It is a win-win and definitely a warm way to fall asleep. It is also important for you individually to remind yourself that this relationship is one of the best decisions you have ever made. We sometimes forget how big it is to find another person we want to spend our time with within our lives. This is a choice; never let go of why they never get old; they get better with time.
5. Remind yourself that you are one as a couple, but you are individual to each other
This is a huge reminder that you both bring something new and refreshing to each other. You don’t have to be the same to be happy. This keeps the door open for each of you to try new things, be different, even to yourself, and not put each other in a box. Individuality is something we struggle with throughout our lives on our own, so to try to lose that part of us brings about a struggle in itself. Hold on to your individuality as it strengthens you, and as a result, you are a stronger partner and a more well-rounded partner.
Related: 6C’s of A Happy Relationship
6. Fight for the relationship first, then your role in your actions
Objectivity is a lifesaver in relationships. Pointing fingers makes you hide from each other everything you think and believe your partner will be upset with, so then the hiding begins, so if you can say, “I feel hurt” instead of “You hurt me,” you just opened the door to discussion. Pointing fingers are why arguments get defensive. Defense is a sign that you do not trust. Explanations are a sign that you don’t feel worth what you have done and need approval, and screaming at each other is a sign that some emotional work needs attention.
If you find yourself doing these things, you may feel you need to be right at any cost, even at the cost of upsetting your partner. If that is OK with you, that is not a good sign for the relationship. The way to keep the relationship in the forefront for both of you is to say, “Is this in the best interest of our relationship?”
If it is not in the best interest of the relationship, then you both will see that and will work on it together. That is a bonding experience in itself and trust-building too.
7. Listen when the other person speaks
When you listen, you hear, and when you hear, you can do something about what you hear. If the other person does not feel heard in a partnership, they find that it is not useful or any give and take will happen, so they start to pull back and not waste their time. They don’t think about it that way; it just happens. If you find that you are not talking as much, look back and see where the judgments lie. If you feel hurt and judged, you need to say you are hurt. Silence is hard to keep up with, yet not hard when you are in deep thought.
Listening to the other person allows you to see that they are a person too. That you both deserve to be heard and not just told you are being heard, however, to really listen to what you are hearing. This one is the easiest to abuse since we all want to jump in because we think we already know what the other person is going to say, and we either talk over them or yell them down to say what we think is more important than what they have to say.
8. Never say ANYTHING you would not want to be said to you
No one wants to feel bad, especially with their partners. So why do we say things we know we will regret, sometimes even as we are saying them? Remind yourself that when you are upset, you may not react well. Literally, walk out of the room and come back when you can speak from a constructive place. Saying, “I need a minute, is that OK with you?” It gives the other person a chance to catch up too. Some things can never be said enough, and this is one of them!
9. Keep respect, honor, and integrity high
No brainer, yet is it? We know it, and when we do it, the results are refreshing and surprising how little it takes to keep peace and focus on the best of the two of you separately and together. Respect can make a relationship fun and livable in times of crisis, and lack of respect is hard to get back.
Honoring the person you are with, understanding what is important to them and why allows the other person to feel seen, heard, and felt, and that gives them wings, just like you feel when you are supported with respect. At the end of it all, it makes the relationship a relationship that also has a friendship aspect to it, and that means more fun time spent together.
10. Keep your environment clean and eat well
Helping ourselves start in a clean slate environment and argument over who did what or left something out or who takes the trash out are off the table. Eating well as well keeps us feeling good about ourselves and also about each other. Cleanliness inside and out is something that once you figure out your plan and your way, there is no turning back. This one, I would say, is a sign of the times.
The connection between inner feelings and our surroundings is starting to be seen as one reflecting the other. Ask yourself, “Am I doing my best in this part of my life?” Your answers will most likely be, I could be doing a little better. Doing better today, doing better together, puts another feather in the cap of bonding experiences and the enjoyment of spending time together even when you do not have to. All because the house is in order and your eating better.
11. Do not enable each other’s bad habits
Hard to do. It may come off as criticism so tread lightly here. You can say, “I know this is not in my best interest, and I am trying to do better.” That acknowledgment of yourself gives direction to your partner as well as your recognition that you are in this together. No judgments, simply wanting to be better because it makes you feel better. This one saves a lot of argument time for sure. The “YOU ALWAYS” arguments now become we can grow through each other conversations. No one is perfect, so why does your partner have to be? Their intentions may be pure, and yet their issues may override that at times. Or that may be you in the relationship.
Be honest with yourself so that you can be honest with your partner that you both can do your best and that it can be a team effort to try.
- The Eleven Golden Rules of Relationships by Nadia Khalil - June 23, 2021