5 Tips Towards Ensuring Relationship Bliss
Don’t rely on mind-reading
Have you ever found that you get annoyed with your partner because they SHOULD have done something or said something that they didn’t? Or they asked you ‘what’s wrong?’ And you’re thinking ‘You should know what’s wrong!’? Then you’ve been expecting your partner to mind-read and you need to stop!
Or have you ever looked at your partner and thought ‘Oh I know what you really mean.’ or ‘I know why you did that’? If so then you were mind-reading and you need to stop that too!
As individuals we are all shaped by our experiences, the things we’ve been taught growing up or the things we’ve seen. This is going to affect the way that you think. So there is no reason to think that the way you view a situation is going to be the same way your partner views it because their experiences will never be identical to yours. If you want him to know that you didn’t like the way he behaved around your friends or you want her to know that you need a bit of quiet time without having to engage in a long conversation about your day, you need to tell them.
Expecting your partner to know what your thinking or what you need, or thinking you know what they are thinking or what they need is a common cause of relationship dysfunction. Of course over time you get to know the way your partner reacts to things and they way they think, but sometimes it’s necessary to check in to see if you are indeed on the same page.
Talking is key to forming and maintaining a healthy and happy relationship. When you first meet someone you are both full of questions about the other . You spend time getting to know all about them and their life and sharing information about yourself. This shouldn’t stop once you’ve been in a relationship for a while. People grow and change all the time and to make sure you don’t feel that the person you are with now is not the person you first met, continuing to communicate your likes and dislikes and opinion on things is key.
Pick your battles wisely
You should feel comfortable enough to tell your partner when they have done something that annoys or upsets you but it is important that you think about when you’re going to do this. A good question to ask yourself is ‘Will this matter in an hour? A week? A month? A year? If the answer is yes, then it is probably something worth bringing up. But if the answer is no, then perhaps you are just annoyed and starting an argument will make you feel better in the moment… but could have a damaging effect on your relationship in the future.
Think before you speak and ask ‘Am I saying this to for the betterment of my relationship or to get back at them because of how I feel?’ Separating your feelings from the facts of the situation can help you make this decision. Has he apologised for not doing the dishes as he said he would and then jumped up
to do them but you still feel angry and want to list to him all the other things he didn’t do when he said he would? If you focus on the feeling of anger then you are likely to follow him into the kitchen and scream at him about all his wrongs. But if you focus on the fact that he apologised and is now doing what he said maybe you’ll decided that the issue can be put to rest.
Laugh and have fun together
With many things to think about like work and kids and other commitments it can sometimes be hard to stay connected to your partner and this is the area of life that can easily get neglected. Things can become dull, routine and predictable. While it is great if your partner is someone who is a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and a sounding board for your complaints about all that is wrong with the world it is important to remember that another aspect of the relationship is laughter and fun.
It has been said that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ for many things and this is definitely true for maintaining a happy relationship. Laughter can keep your relationship alive through good or hard times. Laugh together when you do something silly, share funny anecdotes you’ve heard. A great deal of intimacy and connection can be felt when laughing together and it can help you to overcome many minor conflicts and disagreements.
Doing something fun and new can give you reason to laugh and help to keep your relationship feeling like new. Try breaking out of the routine and doing something spontaneous like having a games night or teaching each other something new or playing hide and seek!
Do nice things for your partner, just because!
Most people love the feeling of receiving a present or phone call or some kind of nice gesture for birthdays and anniversaries. But what if you received these niceties out of the blue for no reason other than the fact that your partner saw something they thought you would like or wanted to do something nice for you? How do you think you would feel? Well, perhaps after getting over any shock and surprise that may be present, you’d probably feel any of a whole host of nice emotions! So why not do this for the one you love? Surprise them with a gift or a text or a letter. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to cost money. Write them a poem, let them watch their favourite show on TV one night even though you normally watch yours then. Show them that they are valued and special to you.
Another thing you can do is to sit with your partner and both write a list of things you would like the other to do for you. For example, ‘bring me breakfast in bed’ or ‘give me a foot massage’. Stick the items of each list in a jar, one for you and one for your partner, and then each week pick out one thing from the jar and do that for your partner while they pick one for you. You may need to agree some boundaries as to what can be requested first! but this way you both know your partner is going to do something nice for you. You won’t know which of your requests it will be, so you’ll enjoy a nice sense of anticipation waiting to see what happens!
Blockbuster movies would have us thinking that for a relationship to be the ‘right’ and ‘perfect’ relationship then your partner should ‘complete you’ and that when you find them they will be ‘the other half of you’. The problem with this is that you may find it has you believing that your partner will be a male/female version or carbon copy of you. You may have heard people say ‘we’re so alike, we like all the same things!’ and think that that is the pinnacle of relationship perfection.
The reality is that more often than not, though you may have things in common with your partner you won’t agree on EVERYTHING. Sometimes you will disagree on how to spend you time or how to approach a certain situation and if you are both dead set on having things your way, that is when difficulty arises. And if that happens does that mean that your partner is not the perfect one for you? That you have to search for your soulmate once more? The GOOD NEWS is no. It is very rare that any two people will want the same things all the time. This is where COMPROMISE is needed.
Relationships always require a bit of give and take to make them work. Yes, you should state what you want but be sure to listen to your partners wants too. Only through COMMUNICATION can you reach compromise. Compromise doesn’t mean giving in to your partners needs all the time and neglecting your own or visa versa. COMPROMISE means that no one gets neglected as you try to find a middle ground where both can be happy. You might find you need to take one for the team and miss out sometimes but just make sure that your partner sometimes does that for you too.
‘But doesn’t compromising mean I’m settling?’ you might ask. It is important that in any relationship each party feels respected and valued. If you and your partner both want to make sure you both feel this way then you’ll both be willing to reach a compromise. And if neither of you cares to do this…well perhaps it isn’t the right relationship after all!
If you are struggling to reach a common ground in your relationship you may find it useful to work with a therapist to help you both get better at compromising.