A good relationship generally involves two people who can communicate, respect each other and have equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities.
To meet these challenges, and to keep your relationship happy and healthy, you need to work at it. Relationships are like bank accounts – you will run into difficulties if there are fewer deposits than withdrawals.
Tips that may help you be better prepared to meet the challenges along the way and improve your relationship include:
- Don’t wait for your partner to try to guess what is going on with you – talk to each other and communicate your needs.
- Listen to each other – often we are so busy making our own point or defending ourselves, that we don’t hear what our partner is saying.
- Think carefully before criticizing, one critical comment needs five positive comments to counteract its effect.
- Make repair attempts – try not to let the situation become even more negative, such as ignoring the other person’s attempts or not talking for extended periods.
- Make your relationship a priority and make time for each other, spend some more time together.
- Accept and value differences in others, including your partner.
- Make plans – plan for your future and set goals for your relationship. This is sign that you are both in the relationship for the long term.
- Try not to criticize, judge or blame each other, be supportive – we are all human. Remind yourself that you are a team and we need each other to be successful.
- In arguments, we sometimes become overwhelmed and this often leads to behaviours that harm our relationship. Accept that arguments will happen, and try to resolve them with respect, learn from arguments.
- Taking an ‘us’ perspective that prioritises the relationship rather than a ‘you’ and ‘me’ perspective can be very useful.
- Stay calm during disagreements – or if this is not possible, take time out.
- Rather than focusing only on your partner’s contribution, look at your part in the conflict. If you acknowledge your contribution, your partner is more likely to do the same.
- Be sexually considerate – be affectionate, sometimes a warm hug or a lingering kiss are just as important.
- Demonstrate your commitment to the relationship, be attentive. It is what you do for someone that tells them that you love them.
- Have fun and celebrate your life together, enjoy yourself.
- Rituals can enhance your relationship, also It’s important to try new things as a couple.
- Be flexible – let your relationship adapt and grow as you both change.
- Share power – ensure that each of you feels that your opinion counts, relationships where the female partner feels that she can influence her partner are the most successful.
Seeking help for relationship problems
If there is something in your relationship that is difficult or painful to talk about to each other, contact Family Kickstart Georgia (FKSG). A counsellor at FKSG can be of great value to help you talk things through, particularly if you are going over old terrain and each of you is feeling isolated, disappointed or hurt by the lack of progress.