Five important relationship rules
- July 27, 2013
SEX and relationship expert Gabrielle Morrissey reminds us how to stay happy and strong with these relationship reminders.Sometimes we can be nicer to strangers or colleagues than a partner of many years. And that's not okay! It's not alright to be wonderful at work, sweet to friends, and then take all your frustrations and stress out on your partner.
Your relationship doesn't just require hard work at maintaining the passion it also needs attention to focus on staying lovely to one another, year in, year out. People can underestimate just how powerful this is.
Ask any couple who has been happily married for multiple decades and they will say they are great friends first, then lovers. So, as a reminder to be kind to your coupledom, here's some advice on how to stay happy in love and in friendship too.
1. Speak in the right tone
It may seem like a small thing, but the way you speak to your partner will have a big effect on how they react to the conversation. People respond well to a soft tone and immediately get hostile or defensive towards a harsh one. Be aware not just what you say to your partner in a daily way, but how you say it. A sweet tone as well as a sweet approach will minimise any clashes between you and make the daily grind less difficult and more pleasant.
2. Listen with both ears
As important as it is to communicate your own needs, hopes and expectations in your relationship it's equally crucial to hear your partner out too. When tensions are high, couples find it more difficult to hear what their partner is saying. When couples are disconnected, bickering or outright hostile, the tendency to listen is at a low point. But when you choose to "lay down your guns", stop arguing and just hear their point of view, it's a fast way to open up happy, healthy and connected communication. If your negative mind is clouding your listening ability, it's a good strategy to paraphrase what your partner is saying so you can hear it in your own voice and better absorb it.
3. Remember to smile
Even in the heat of the moment it's important to show your partner kindness. If you're in an argument, make an arrangement to talk it through sooner rather than later. If there are small squabbles between you make every effort to live as positively as possible. Scowling through your day only magnifies issues and difficulties and improves nothing. Regardless of how your partner is behaving, if you are nice it will rub off. It's hard to be mean, unkind or abrasive to someone who is being genuinely caring and kind, even when they are still mad! Fix what you can from your end, be the partner you want to have, and watch the positive effect that has, without a single argument.
4. Walk a mile in their shoes
Remember to have empathy for your partner too. Before becoming deeply engaged in arguments and conflict, try to pause for a moment to see what their perspective is. True partners are always doing the best they can, and if it's falling short of your needs and expectations, try to see why before criticising. And if there is a legitimate reason to complain, do it in a productive way rather than a fight provoking one. That means acknowledging where they are coming from so they feel understood, and then expressing what your need or expectation is. For example: "I know you're tired in the evening after a long day at work and an early start, and I'm tired too, but I could really use a little more help at night with the chores and organising the children". Rather than attack for lack of helpfulness, acknowledge why they might not be helping as much and point out why you need an adjustment to your established routine.
5. Keep the big picture in mind
Choose your battles and remember what's most important. Life isn't perfect and neither are relationships. If you want a harmonious relationship, remember why you chose your partner. Remind yourself that every day you choose to be with them and they choose you too. Let go of some of the smaller issues. Would you divorce them over the dishwasher? Not every fight needs to be a five-alarm fire. Simmer down if you're butting heads a lot and remember that being happy together is the most important detail to focus on.