It takes a lot of effort to build a good friendship. “If I have to work at it, then it isn’t the proper relationship,” many of my clients have said. This isn’t true, any more than it isn’t true that you don’t have to work hard to maintain good physical health through exercise, proper nutrition, and stress management.
In my 35 years of counselling couples, I’ve discovered seven choices that can not only improve your relationship but also change a failed partnership into a successful one.
Take Personal Responsibility
The most crucial decision you can make to enhance your relationship is to do so. This entails learning how to be accountable for your own feelings and needs. This implies that rather than relying on your spouse to make you happy and secure, you teach yourself how to do so through your own thoughts and behaviours. Instead of self-judgment, learn to treat oneself with kindness, care, compassion, and acceptance. No matter how well your partner treats you, self-judgment will always make you feel sad and insecure.
Instead of getting angry at your spouse for your emotions of abandonment when he or she is late, preoccupied and not listening to you, not sexually turned on, and so on, you may investigate your own feelings of abandonment and figure out how you might be abandoning yourself.
You stop blaming your partner for your problems when you learn to take full, 100 percent responsibility for yourself. Because blaming one’s spouse for one’s own unhappiness is the leading cause of relationship difficulties, knowing how to take loving care of oneself is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship.
Acceptance, Compassion, And Kindness
Treat others as you would like to be treated. This is what it means to live a truly spiritual life. We all want to be loved and treated with compassion, understanding, and acceptance. We need to treat ourselves in this manner, as well as our partner and others. When both parties treat each other with kindness, relationships develop.
While there are no certainties, treating others with compassion often results in reciprocal kindness. If your partner is consistently furious, judgemental, indifferent, and cruel, instead of resorting to anger, blame, judgement, withdrawal, resistance, or compliance, focus on what would be loving to yourself.
Kindness to others does not imply self-sacrifice. Always remember that the most essential thing you can do is take responsibility for yourself rather than blaming others. If you constantly treat yourself and your partner with kindness, and your spouse is regularly angry, blaming, withdrawn, and unavailable, you must either accept a distant relationship or leave it. You can only change yourself; you can’t make your partner change.
Instead Of Controlling, Learning
When conflict arises, you have two options for dealing with it: you can be open to learning about yourself and your partner and uncovering the disagreement’s fundamental roots, or you can strive to win, or at the very least avoid losing, by some type of controlling behaviour.
Anger, blame, judgement, niceness, compliance, caretaking, resistance, withdrawal of love, explaining, teaching, defending, lying, denying, and so on are all examples of overt and subtle ways of trying to manipulate others into behaving the way we desire. All of our attempts to exert control result in more conflict. It’s critical to remember to learn instead of control when you work to improve your relationship.
The fear of abandonment – of losing the other – and the fear of engulfment – of losing oneself – are two fundamental fears that most people experience that become triggered in relationships.
When these fears are triggered, most people instantly use their controlling behaviour to defend themselves. Your fear would gradually heal if you choose to learn about your fears rather than attempting to control your partner. By learning instead of commanding, we can grow emotionally and spiritually.
Date Times Must Be Created
When people fall in love for the first time, they make time for each other. Then they get busy, especially after being married. Relationships require time to flourish. Setting aside certain times to be together – to chat, play, and make love – is critical. Without spending time together, intimacy cannot be maintained.
Instead Of Complaints, Express Grattitude
When two people have a “attitude of gratitude,” positive energy flows between them. Constant whining emits a heavy, negative aura that is unpleasant to be around. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, practise being grateful for what you do have. Complaints cause stress, whereas thankfulness brings inner serenity. As a result, thankfulness promotes not just emotional and relationship health, but also physical health.
Play And Have Pleasure
“Work without play makes Jack a dull boy,” as we all know. Work without play leads to stale relationships. When people laugh and play together, and when humour is a part of everyday life, relationships grow. Stop taking yourself too seriously and learn to laugh at yourself. When there is a sense of lightness in one’s being, intimacy blossoms, not when everything is weighty.
Availability Of Services
Doing volunteer projects together is a great approach to build intimacy. Giving to others warms the heart and brings great joy to the soul. Serving others helps you get out of your own head and into a broader, more spiritual perspective on life.
You’ll be shocked at how much better your relationship will be if you and your partner agree on these seven options!