Tips For A Better Relationship
I found some wonderful tips on how to save a relationship on the Huffington Post site.
These were written by a relationship coach, who starts off by saying we are very quick to find our partner inadequate and even quicker about deciding to dump them.
But most of us who do this will then go on to find a new partner who has exactly the same emotional issues as the previous one, so that we are not in a better situation after the relationship has broken up and we have moved on…..
Video – How to survive a break up
If you take the view that your partner has been given to you “by” the universe so that you can learn something essential for your well-being and growth – and perhaps their well-being – then in a way it’s your duty to stay together and work on the relationship so you help each other grow and develop emotionally.
And of course this is a philosophical point of view which suggests any relationship worth keeping involves emotional work – and the payoff can be very rewarding, because you will find you have a depth of connection which is probably unimaginable at the moment. And that is profoundly affirming and rewarding.
But What Does It Mean To Me?
Starting from the idea that you can “sort through” people until you find somebody who is absolutely ideal for you is simply naive – there is no such person.
Even when you think you’ve found your ideal soulmate, living together or being in relationship together will very quickly dispel that illusion – as you may well already know!
And trying one relationship after another, without taking any relationship advice, or indeed any breakup advice, is just going to lead you into disappointment.
While it’s tempting to believe that your particular relationship is in some way different or special, the truth of the matter is that you are not different to anyone else, and you will not have stumbled into some kind of fairytale relationship….
… which means that if you find yourself on the verge of breaking up, you might wish to decide NOT to break up. Instead, you might make the decision that your relationship is worthwhile and deserves some work.
The idea purely random chance got you into relationship with somebody is extremely unlikely! So you can start by asking yourself what drew you to this person? What kind of qualities did they have that you found desirable?
Do you still find those qualities desirable? What qualities in your partner have you not previously appreciated?
You can open a dialogue together – if you’re willing to do so – to explore what you love about your partner and what your partner loves about you.
In the process, if you’re willing to hear it, you can receive constructive criticism, suggestions and information which can help you develop in areas of personality where you are currently weak.
And of course it’s inevitable that when partners try to communicate their fundamental truths about each other, things may go wrong – for none of us have learned how to communicate in the “right way” – that is to say, with LOVE.
And what that means is to Listen by Observing your partner, by Verifying that you’ve picked up their meaning, and Empathising with what they’re saying.
Good communication is probably mostly about silence and space – not “jumping in” to respond to your partner or, worse, reacting to your partner with an emotional response without really having heard what they’re trying to say.
The reason this happens, of course, is because we feel attacked and immediately respond to that sensation or perception with defensiveness. It can be very difficult indeed to open ourselves up and make ourselves vulnerable to criticism, particularly if you have sensitivities left over from childhood.
But to make this process easier, you can stay away from emotional conversations when you’re both stressed, particularly when you’re both tired and/or emotional – such as at the end of a long workday!
By putting the value of your partner’s feelings above the value of your ego, you’ll find that communication becomes much less contentious. And while these things are easy to say, they are not always so easy to do – which means practice is essential; perhaps getting help with having stressful conversations would be helpful.
A deep conversation can go to the roots of understanding the relationship in its most profound way, and certainly leads to a feeling of intimacy and connection.
It may be necessary to revisit the same subject many times before you fully understand each other, before you actually get down to the core of the matter.
But without doing this, you may never understand what your partner is trying to say, and if you don’t understand that, you may never understand your partner either.
3 Some relationships become mired in heavy communication
One way to get over this is to actually do light-hearted things together – visit special places, revisit those places you knew a long time ago, or perhaps simply take time for each other with a weekend away. Then, you can revisit or “practice” the skills of romance with your partner – just as you did when you first met.
It’s well worth doing things like this together because the excitement of a shared or new experience produces hormones which promote emotional bonding. And it doesn’t have to be anything major; simply sitting together in a park watching your children play can be very bonding and intimate, and produce a deep feeling of love for each other.
Here, action is necessary – it’s no use just talking about doing these things – you actually have to do them!
4 Sometimes outside influences affect our relationships and make them toxic. Avoid them.
Your primary responsibility and loyalty in a relationship is to yourself and your partner.
Any loyalty to your friends or family which betrays that loyalty is striking at heart of the relationship. In any event, unless somebody is actually standing in your shoes, how could they possibly know the answers to your problems?
(I draw distinction here between mentoring and counseling as a friend and the much more pernicious “advice giving” and “tittle tattle” which many people seem to indulge in.)
A much better way forward is for you to open the doorways to communication with your partner, and establish an emotionally connected relationship with them.
5 Forgiveness is everything.
Well…. in fact forgiveness is probably not everything, but it certainly is a great deal.
That’s why we’ve heard so much about it in recent years. Some people think it means putting yourself in a “one-down” position, but the truth of the matter is that forgiveness does not mean forgetting.
No, it means letting go of the emotional rage, anger and bitterness you hold towards your partner, for these are emotions which definitely stand between you and a wholesome relationship.
And yes, there needs to be some kind of emotional resolution for you about the wounds you feel you’ve suffered at the hands of your (ex) partner. You might find this helpful if you’re interested in the subject forgiveness.
6 Don’t keep secrets.
Of course you don’t need to divulge every minute aspect of your life to your partner – all of us have certain things we need to keep to ourselves to maintain our integrity to ourselves and in our relationship. But honesty is vital in any relationship, and living a life of authenticity and integrity can help too.
7 Have clear boundaries
If you don’t really know what boundaries are, then it’s worth getting some help and information from a counsellor or therapist.
Boundaries are about maturity, about being in the world in a safe way – safer for yourself, and safer for others.
You only have to walk down a street where people are drinking late at night to understand what a lack of boundaries means!
Over-rigid boundaries produce a rigid, very defensive personality, whereas loose boundaries produce somebody who is a pushover and exploitable by others.
Clear firm boundaries speak of self-respect, and establish that you know who you are and what you’re going to tolerate or accept in life. With clear boundaries, any relationship is more defined and healthier than without them, and it allows you to learn and grow by finding the place where your partner’s limits exist – and the same, of course, is true in reverse.
There are many other relationship tips we could give you, but in essence they all come down to one thing: tolerance and communication – and perhaps those qualities, as well as mutual respect, are the basis of true love that lasts a lifetime.
If you don’t really understand these concepts then please get some help and advice from somebody who is qualified to take you on a journey to a more loving place – counsellor, therapist, Minister…. Whatever suits your particular way of being.
*I found some wonderful tips on how to save a relationship here.