Having a successful relationship is not as difficult as many think and even the most damaged relationships can be repaired with simple acts. However, it takes the ability to be able to recognize our own faults and shortcomings and the desire to grow beyond them to become the best person we can be. I think one of the reasons many of us get stuck in relationships is because we are afraid to grow, both on an individual level and as a couple. We think that what worked for us when we first got together is what we have to stick with but nothing evolves if all of the circumstances, ideas and behaviors don’t change.
These 5 steps will help you start that journey to bringing more love and patience into your relationship. Keep it simple.
1. Be Kind
I heard this advice from an older couple and it made perfect since to me. Sometimes we make things more complicated than they have to be and the act of kindness is so simple and effortless. Being nice to your partner can be something as easy as surprising them with their favorite meal or offering a compliment.
My second grade teacher would often say to the class, “You hear me but are you listening to me?” It’s so easy to get distracted nowadays so it’s important that when your partner begins speaking that you give them your undivided attention. This is something my husband and I have been practicing as we are both guilty of not always listening to the other. As much as possible, try to put your phone down or turn the music down and really get interested in what they are saying to you. Being engaged in your partner’s thoughts, concerns or ideas helps to bring you closer to one another and re-build that intimacy!
When you’ve been in a long term relationship the arguments can get really petty! They’re usually due to stress of the day, finances or something that’s just got us in a tizzy and unfortunately we sometimes take it out on our partners. Then, there are times when we have really serious concerns that can lead to tense moments but regardless of the cause, learning to say “I’m sorry” is crucial to maintaining a loving relationship. Apologizing requires you to step out of your ego and recognize your partner’s unease and it also allows you to practice empathy. You don’t have to admit fault to anything to apologize but your apology should be genuine and sincere. Nothing is more distasteful than someone saying I’m sorry just to end a conversation and to move on. Saying those words are only the first part. The second part is for you both to really get to the meat of the issue and work on solutions rather than trying to define fault.
4. Make Time
We don’t always have time for a romantic dinner or a night out at the movies but we make it a point to have a “date” as often as we can. Some weeks our dates are just trips to the grocery store but once we declare it a date, we treat it as such. We hold hands, we flirt and we make it fun as we’re picking out the best cut of steak or the freshest fruit. Don’t focus on what you do on your date, instead make the time that you have together all about you two. Take trips down memory lane to remind yourself of why you picked him/her in the first place. Focus on the good times and share dreams and desires of what you both want for the future.
5. Repeat Steps 1-4
So, it really is simple to have a loving relationship and this could also work with friendships too. Be nice to one another, give your undivided attention to your partner, apologize when it’s needed and work on solutions and make time with one another and be in the moment when together. After 19 years together, my husband and I have learned these simple steps that helped to transform our relationship from one filled with resentment and indifference to intimate and trust.