Ways to Make Your Relationship Stronger.
Let me get real for a second, having a healthy relationship isn’t always easy. Whether you are married or just dating, here are 9 things I’ve learned that will help improve your relationship.
1. Say How You Feel
Every relationship goes through rough patches, mine definitely hasn’t always been easy. Speaking up is probably the MOST important thing I’ve learned. Some of us, including me at one point, expect our partners to know us. With that we expect them to “know” when something is bothering us. Then we expect them to make it better without us having to TALK about it. This would be great, but it will most likely NEVER happen that way.
Sometimes it’s hard to bring up feelings and emotions because it makes us vulnerable. In a relationship you HAVE to be vulnerable or it’s just not going to work.
There may be times when you might think something is not a big deal and decide to let it go. However, over time, that little insignificant thing can grow into a big thing. Holding things in can lead to resentment and anger against your partner. Sometimes you will hold something in for so long that you forget where your resentment even derived from. This will only lead to further problems.
My husband probably explained it best when we were in the beginning stages of our relationship. We had gotten into an argument because of something small that I hadn’t said anything about initially and just let it build up. By the time we got into an argument it all came out and became way more escalated than it needed to be.
He told me that he can’t read my mind and if I want or need something from him then I have to tell him. He explained that even if he knows something is bothering me, he doesn’t know what it is or how to fix it UNLESS I tell him. I realized I was angry and holding things against him that he never even KNEW about.
After that conversation, I have forced myself to communicate how I’m feeling and what I’m needing and he does the same. Sometimes I have to work myself up to it because again, communicating how I feel makes me feel vulnerable. Once I learned to speak up, it made our relationship so much stronger.
2. Pay Attention to Your Partner’s Needs
Another way to improve your relationship is prioritizing your partner’s needs. A relationship is a partnership that takes two people putting in effort. If you only spend time thinking about what you need and not what you’re giving, things aren’t going to go very well. Communicate and pay attention to what makes your partner feel loved.
Then, focus on doing those things that you know will make them feel happier. If your partner feels happy and loved, they are more likely to want to do things to make you feel happy and loved too. It’s a win-win!
3. Have a Supportive Relationship
Talk and learn about your partner’s goals. Then, do whatever you can to support those goals. Don’t dismiss them or tell them they can’t do it. They need to know you’re rooting for them and they can talk to you. Talk to them about their decisions and what you can do to help them get there.
This also means to support them behind their back too. Don’t say one thing to their face but feel differently or say anything differently to other people. You need to truly be on board or else they’re likely to feel the disconnect from you. This will only make reaching their goals more difficult. Even if one of their goals makes life more challenging for you, make sure to discuss that with them then. Find a way for you to get on board and be comfortable with a solution that you can both agree on.
For example, say your partner has a job in mind that they want but it causes you to have to move somewhere for an extended amount of time. This move doesn’t disrupt anything that you are currently doing and you tell them you support them. You also make comments that you’ll do it but you really aren’t looking forward to it or that you wish you didn’t have to move.
What you’re saying and what you’re partner is hearing are two different things. Instead say things like, “I really want you to reach your goals and I will do whatever it takes to make that happen!” Or, “I’m really excited about this new chapter and we can figure it out together.” If you’re unsure about the move, talk to them about it. Ask them questions and find ways to make it positive for both of you. If you’re really not on board with it then be open and talk about other possible options. Communication is key.
Your partner should also do the same for you. If you don’t feel supported, TALK to them about it and tell them how you feel and how they can make you feel more supported.
4. Make Time for Each Other
Life happens and it’s easy for people to get caught up in the day-to-day and let the relationships around them fall on the back burner. A great way to keep this from happening is to schedule time together! Whether it be once a week or a couple times a month, put it down on a schedule if you have to! That way when the time comes, it’s not a surprise and you each know it’s coming.
You can schedule other things that come up around it to make sure you actually spend that time together. A relationship can’t grow if love, effort and time aren’t put into it. You’d be surprised at how much spending time together or being able to relax together can improve your bond.
5. Don’t Criticize Partner in Front of Others
Another really important thing to remember is not to argue or put your partner down in front of other people. Most things going on in your relationship should stay private. Arguing or criticizing your partner can be awkward for the people around you. If you have an issue with something your partner did, you should speak to THEM about it. Even if you think it’s not a big deal to bring up in front of other people, your partner or others may perceive it differently. Complaining or criticizing your partner can make them feel inferior or frustrated and it’s just not beneficial for anyone. Be respectful of each other and wait until you’re alone to bring up any issues you have.
6. Challenge Each Other
A relationship where the couple challenges each other will grow stronger. You want someone that pushes you and makes you want to be the best version of yourself and vice versa. A couple should speak up to each other about their opinions, wants and needs. This helps each of you grow and understand the other and thus helps you to become a better person and partner.
7. Spend Some Time Apart
Having separate hobbies or spending time separately with friends can be great and healthy for a relationship. Being together ALL the time can cause irritability and arguments. Having the space to refuel and do something you enjoy without feeling guilty can make you happier. This feeling will then overflow into your relationship with your partner. Sometimes being able to miss each other is a great way to build a stronger relationship and make you WANT to spend time together.
It’s also important to be supportive of your partner’s hobbies and not make them feel guilty if they make plans without you every now and then. Use it as an opportunity to get some alone time or go do something else that you love! Just because you are in a relationship doesn’t mean that the rest of your life has to or should come to a halt.
8. Be Thankful in Your Relationship
One of THE most important things in a relationship is being thankful; thankful for your partner and thankful for your relationship. If your partner treats you respectfully, be thankful. Is your partner there for you? Be thankful. If your partner puts in the time and effort, be thankful. If your partner tries, be thankful.
Sure there will be habits that your partner has that you could live without, but when you focus on those things only, you only make yourself more unhappy. Instead, turn it around and think about the things you love and that they do that make you happy. You’ll quickly realize that there is so much you have to be thankful for. Try not to take for granted the great traits they have to offer! There are so many relationships that can be destructive or controlling. Even if you feel your relationship is lacking in some areas, be thankful for what you DO have. Situations could ALWAYS be worse.
9. Realize the Grass Isn’t Always Greener
The grass is greener where you water it; looking elsewhere is one of the quickest ways to ruin a relationship. It’s important to realize that EVERY relationship will have its own trials and tribulations. NO relationship will be perfect. In the beginning it might be exciting from the mystery and fun from meeting someone new, having a connection and getting to know them. In time that will fade, in EVERY relationship.
The glimpse you see of a person at the beginning is just that, a GLIMPSE. Once you get into an ACTUAL relationship you’ll probably realize it’s not all butterflies and roses like it seemed. By then it’s usually too late and the damage to the original relationship has been done. Take my word for it when I say, focus your effort on the relationship you’ve built, communicate with your partner and don’t look elsewhere for your happiness.
Thanks for reading! If you have any relationship experience or advice you’d like to share, tell us about them in the comments below!