Save Your Relationship and Your Sanity
Create Time To Share And Time On Your Own.
Establish time to spend together and time for yourself. Although you need the time together to nurture your relationship, it is important to have a good balance. You are not the Mini-Me of each other. You each have your own values, interests and needs. Make sure your couple time is about quality, not quantity. Set up boundaries so the family and friends know that this is your sacred time. Now, it's time to shift focus on you. Having shared perspectives and similar interests does not mean that you have to participate in all activities together. Creating personal time for yourself is important for your personal growth. However, don't use personal space as an excuse to not make time for each other. It is imperative that you articulate to each other the need for this time, so that no one feels neglected.
Be Patient with Each Other.
No one is perfect. It is important that you accept and love each other, quirks and all. Your relationship is a shared territory. It requires love, work and patience There is a learning curve in relationships and for some the learning never stop. There is a difference in how the two of you relate, interact and live. You come to realize each others' strengths and weaknesses. View each other's abilities and personality as a gift. Be more flexible in your viewpoints. Work on win/win methods, so that no one has to lose. It's more important to understand and value each other's viewpoint, rather than trying to agree or disagree with it.
Respect Each Other
Respect each other's values. Respect each other's time. Respect each other's space. Respect each other's privacy. Respect each other's weaknesses. Respect each other's point of view. Respect each other's faith. Respect each other's friends and family. Respect each other's job or career. Respect each other's culture. Respect each other's sense of humor. Respect each other's character. Respect each other's choices. Respect each other's belongings. Respect each other through love.
Highlight What's Right
Highlighting what's right builds up, rather than tears down. Constant criticism diminishes self-esteem. This is why verbal and emotional abuse can be so damaging. No one wants to start or end their day with a laundry list of complaints. Take time to appreciate what's going right in the relationship. Make it a habit of complimenting each other on something besides physical appearance. Build up each other's confidence. Point out noteworthy or small tokens of appreciation. Take the time to show gratitude. When people feel good, they want to share that feeling with others.
If we spoke less and listened more, it would eliminate many of our communication problems. However, humans are conditioned to listen with the intent to respond. When was the last time you listened attentively to your significant other? Do you listen and then try to solve a problem? Do you listen and then offer advice? Do you listen and then criticize or belittle? Do you listen and then self-reference? When you listen, it builds trust. Your significant other feels understood and will share more with you over time. The next time you see your significant other in a contemplative state, tell them you're available to listen.
Let Go Of Emotional Baggage
It's time to unpack your emotional baggage. You can not undo the past. Bringing past pain into a present relationship is like mixing dirty clothes with laundered clothes. The old emotions need to be resolved before you can be yourself in your current relationship. Emotional baggage contributes to insecurities, poor judgment, cynicism and indecisiveness. Trying to protect your feelings will hinder your freedom and growth. Think about why you continue to allow yourself to suffer with this pain? Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you carrying around resentment and guilt? Talk about the situation with your significant other, so they can have a better understanding of what you are going through. If the pain is too unbearable, seek professional help together or alone.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie Magdala Roker is an Academic and Personal Development Coach and Certified Breakthrough Parenting Instructor who works with moms, teens, and college students and helps them empower themselves to get from where they are to where they want to be in life.