All marriages and partnerships have rough patches, it’s a natural occurrence. No matter how much we may love someone, if we don’t take time to work on improving and maintaining our relationships, we might find that the little annoyances start piling up, leading to resentments. A strong relationship, one that has been given the attention it deserves, can easily maneuver these difficult times. If you feel your relationship is not as healthy or strong as it could be, check out these helpful tips and see if you can get it back on track!
- Be appreciative. You may tell your partner that you love him or her quite often but showing appreciation is actually not the same as saying those three little words. Expressing gratitude towards your partner for their actions, time and presence is equally important. Thank them for the little things as well as the bigger ones. Don’t settle into a routine, believing that they know how much you appreciate them. Say it and show it. Remember gratitude begets gratitude!
- Don’t keep score. This is something we did as children but as healthy adults, we should no longer find it necessary to keep a scorecard. Try not to leverage the work you’ve done around the house to coerce your partner to pick up the slack elsewhere. Little things like this can cause you to keep score about bigger things, like who has made more sacrifices for whom. This behavior breeds resentment and hurt feelings that undermine the health and state of your entire relationship.
- Be honest. Trust is the bedrock of all healthy and lasting relationships. Many a great relationship has been made unhealthy by keeping little secrets or by not dealing with the small problems as they arise. If you’re upset by something your partner said or did, find a time to discuss it with them. It’s alright to tell him that the way he leaves the wet towel on the carpet annoys you— he probably didn’t even realize he was doing it, the way you might not even realize that he thinks the blanket you put on the bed is itchy.
- Be careful about phrasing. Choosing your words is just as important as being honest. Steer clear from using words like “always” and “never”. These two are ‘all or nothing’ terms that breed conflict and defensiveness. When you say that your partner “always” does this and “never” does that, you are essentially breaking down communication to finger pointing. Healthy communication is key to fostering your relationship and staying connected to your partner!