There are some relatively simple things that we can do to improve how we relate to our partners. Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship:
- Approach your partner with curiosity. When we are curious about someone, we want to learn more. We approach them with energy, openness, and a lack of preconceived judgement. We don’t take them for granted and we try to connect with their interests. Put effort into discovering who your partner is again.
- Lean in, not out. Hurt, anger, apathy, and the stress of day-to-day life can erode a relationship, pushing partners farther and farther apart. Instead of allowing yourself to become more emotionally disconnected, refocus your attention on problem-solving and reconnecting.
- Pause before you react. Human beings are emotionally reactive by nature and it’s difficult to take a deep breath before we react. Pausing is important. It allows us to better assess and understand what’s upsetting us, clarify any potential misunderstandings, and be more thoughtful in how we respond.
- Think about what’s driving your partner’s behavior. When our partner does something to upset us it’s important that we think about what may be behind it. Sometimes we may feel that their intent is to purposely be difficult, but perhaps it isn’t. Is our partner feeling anxious, insecure, or misinterpreting something about us? What exactly is making them tick in that moment?
- Accept what won’t change if it’s not a deal-breaker. There is no such thing as a perfect partner or a perfect relationship. We all have our quirks and annoying habits. Focus on everything your partner is doing right, not all the little things that drive you crazy that will probably never change.