Relationships with our significant others is more important than ever. We are able to better get through the uncertainties of life TOGETHER than we are alone. We are wired for connection and thrive when our needs for it are adequately met.
This is why I challenge you to spend some time really investing in your relationship. Many relationships weaken over time not because of a lack of love but a lack of attention. Over the years we become complacent and ‘busy’ – and we stop doing small, meaningful and positive things that strengthen our relationship. Our partner is easy to put on the back burner.
There is no better time than now to get back on track and begin tending to your relationship. Here are three ways to start.
1) Increase the positive
This sounds simple, but common sense is not always common practice. Think about doing small positive things for your partner throughout the day, such as giving them a hug before they leave for the day or putting the ketchup out because you know they like it on their French fries. These small displays of affection will add up before you know it.
2) Make deposits in the right accounts
If you invest in a stock, you would want to choose the one that gets the best return, right? Make sure you are clear on what goes the furthest with your partner. Do they love when you give them a massage or would they rather have you get the oil changed in their car? Both are very kind gestures but one may hold more value than the other. I challenge you to get clear on what their *Love Language* is and if you are not sure, take the free quiz at www.5lovelanguages.com.
3) Listen with the same intensity that you would like to be heard
Most of us have not been taught how to really listen but all of us want to feel heard and understood. Listening and conveying empathy are skills, they can be learned and strengthened over time. The key is being able to convey to your partner what they are saying and slowing down your own response. We aren’t really listening if all we are doing is crafting the next thing we want to say.
One common misconception is that we need to agree with what the other person is saying. That is absolutely not true – we can understand AND disagree. The difference is when we convey understanding the other person is more likely to take the time to try to understand where we are coming from. We are also more willing to work on a solution if we feel heard.
I challenge you to listen to your partner for five minutes without any agenda or thinking about your response. Reflect back what they are saying and show curiosity with questions and statements. See how they respond. You don’t have to actively listen all the time but it is so important to take the time to sharpen this skill.
There is a lot more to keeping a relationship healthy, but these three steps are a great start. If you feel there is more work to be done or you need some assistance on sharpening your relationship skills, please reach out and set up your FREE initial appointment today at www.newawarenesscounseling.com.