Relationships, of all kinds, take work. They’re dynamic and so are subject to change over time, just as we are, as people. It doesn’t have to be hard work, in fact, it’s better to look at relationships as works in progress. The more effort you and your partner put into yours, the easier it becomes to work together and so it should be. Any relationship that is hard work or has one partner putting more effort in than the other, then it’s time to reassess what you both want from one another. This article looks at relationship dos and don’ts in the hope that you can decide whether yours is worth working on.
At the heart of any relationship is communication, and it takes many forms. You communicate physically, emotionally, verbally and even in writing. But so many of us in relationships miscommunicate. If this sounds like you, click here for some help to improve your communication. Bad communication can lead to frustration, anger and feeling disconnected from your partner. This connection can be for a number of reasons, including lack of trust, honesty or intimacy.
Regardless of the relationship between you and the person you communicate with, it all remains the same: effective communication is about actively listening and responding, using cues from the person to whom you’re talking to respond constructively. This requires you to put down your phone, stop looking at the TV menu and give your partner your full and undivided attention. When you do this, your partner knows they have your undivided attention and will appreciate that what they’re saying actually matters to you.
As the saying goes, trust takes years to build but can be destroyed in a heartbeat. If you’re living with someone then you should treat your loved one as you want to be treated, it’s only fair. You start building trust almost as soon as you start going out. If you’ve agreed to call or meet at a certain time, then make sure you’re as good as your word.
If one of you is unfaithful, then this action can shake the foundations of your relationship in an instant. The good news is it doesn’t mean the end of your relationship. But what it does mean is that you both need to be honest with one another, about where you are in the relationship and the direction you want it to take.
This is something that should be shown to your partner from the moment you first start going out and should continue to grow as your relationship develops and matures. You owe it to one another. Your both equals; one is not better than the other, just as one is not subservient to their partner.
Both of you should have your own life outside your relationship. You had this before you ended up together, so why should this be relinquished just because you’re now with someone? It’s not healthy to be in each other’s pockets 24/7, so visit your friends and plan activities with them, just don’t let your life outside your relationship take over your time with your partner.
Respect is shown throughout your time together, when going out, with people, during conflict and/or disagreement. Being able to respect your partner’s point of view and respect their difference of opinion is priceless to making a relationship work.
This is more than to do with sex. It’s also about sharing a closeness that you can only get with your partner once you connect with them. It’s about having regular date nights when you go out and spending time together at home. Date nights don’t exclusively have to be at night, so you could go to a museum during the day if one of you wants to, nor do they have to involve spending money. The purpose of this is to spend time together away from your home and other distractions to keep that connection between you stronger and make it even stronger.
You see, intimacy is about love, trust and support. It’s about understanding your partner’s feelings and supporting them. It’s also about trusting your partner enough with your feelings and allowing them to support you too. This is a vulnerability that allows for a deeper kind of relationship, one where you lay yourself open to your loved one, trusting that they’ll not take advantage of this vulnerability. It’s an unconditional love given by one to show another that they’re loved, flaws and all.
There is not one relationship that has not encountered a difference of opinion, and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The difference between how couples deal with this is what ultimately defines a disagreement, argument or conflict. We can disagree without any negative fall-out: we’re individuals, so it’s natural for us to have contrasting opinions. However, it’s how we react to hearing something we disagree with that can escalate issues.
If you’re both in a bad mood or feeling negative towards your partner, then all you’re going to do is project this negativity onto them and more than likely regret this later. Space and time away from one another is a good way to regroup and reassess how you got to this point and where you want to go from here. Taking the edge off your anger will help you both become rational and deal with the issue in a less emotive way.
As a rough guide, when you’re arguing with your partner don’t insult, shout, criticize, blame, judge, give the silent treatment or ever strike them in anger. Instead, try to think about the issue from your partner’s perspective, take responsibility for the part you played and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.
Keep a Sense of Self
Setting boundaries and ensuring you both keep to them will help you and your partner keep a sense of self. Making these boundaries clear from the start sets the foundations upon which to build your relationship on. Both of you know what each one will and won’t tolerate. This prevents one from taking advantage of the other.
These boundaries often come from values you have, which will often be what defines you as a person. This is no bad thing because, in essence, you know how you want to be treated and what you won’t stand for. However, many of us don’t think about our values in depth, nor about the type of person we need to be with to uphold these values. Thinking about these things will help us get the relationship we want with the person we want, rather than going with someone out of impulse.
It’s clear that many of these dos and don’ts overlap or follow on from one to the other. If you think you and your partner need to work on your relationship, remember your partner was attracted to you as a person, before you fell in love with one another. Don’t lose sight of who you are and don’t allow your partner to lose sight of themselves, either. By working on yourselves as individuals, you’ll be working together on your relationship.