A great relationship is something that is sought by almost everybody. Those who are married or in a relationship want that partnership to be as perfect as possible. Everyone wants to feel close to their partner and to feel that there is mutual love and respect.
But not everyone achieves this level of happiness. With divorce on the increase then relationship success is obviously not being achieved by all. Anyone who reads ‘an agony aunt’ column will read tales of jealousy, betrayal and relationships falling apart, whilst soap operas are popular precisely because they enact dramas that people can relate to in their real lives.
So how can we create a closer bond with our partner? How can we try to ensure that our relationship will be a success and that our marriage will be a happy and long-lasting one?
Listen to Your Partner
My first tip to improve your relationship would be to listen to your partner. Your partner gives you messages all the time, verbally and non-verbally so try to listen to these. If they seem quiet or grumpy, try and find out what’s wrong. It’s easy to assume that your partner is annoyed with you and take umbrage if they seem in an irritable mood, but it could be that they are tired, have had an awful day at work, or are worried about something. So don’t make assumptions, but try and find out what is responsible for their feelings.
Take an Interest
Secondly take an interest in your partner. If your other half is desperate to tell you about their day, then do them the courtesy of listening. If they have had a success or a failure, have taken up a new hobby, or have a story to tell you about work, then take an interest in what they have to say. They will be pleased and it will help you to know them better and to feel close to them. It helps if you have shared interests but even if their plane spotting hobby bores you to tears, it’s good for your relationship to take a polite interest (just don’t feel you have to participate!)
Don’t Be Possessive
If your partner occasionally wants to go out with friends or go to a hobby night, then let him or her. If you feel jealous then try to understand that you don’t need to. If they didn’t love you then they wouldn’t be in a relationship with you, but you don’t need to be with each other 100% of the time. If you are confident within yourself and trust your partner, then this will strengthen your relationship. Jealousy causes friction within relationships because it indicates a lack of trust and this is corrosive. (Although if your partner is never at home then this is not a good sign!)
If there is a bone of contention between you then you must talk about it openly but diplomatically. We’ve all observed couples where there’s an underlying hostility, and who snipe at each other continually. This is not a desirable state of affairs in a relationship, in fact it could be the kiss of death! If you are annoyed at something that you partner has said or done, then first of all THINK. Are you being over-sensitive, or misunderstanding their intention? If you re-assess the incident and genuinely believe that your partner has said or done something inappropriate or hurtful then it’s important to talk to them about it and tell them how you feel.
But remember, it’s very important not to have this discussion when either of you is feeling angry, stressed, or have been drinking alcohol. Otherwise it is more likely to turn into an argument. Instead wait until you and your partner are in a calm, relaxed frame of mind and you have time for a proper discussion. Then tactfully tell them that they’ve hurt your feelings. Tell them exactly what they said or did which upset you and ask them to behave differently in the future. If this is done diplomatically enough when your partner is in a good frame of mind, then they are more likely to take this on board and try to amend their behaviour in the future.
Shouting at them in anger, or sniping at them with vague accusations will cause resentment and resistance. Everyone feels defensive when they are criticized, so this is why it must be tackled sensitively. Certain behaviour should never be tolerated and this includes verbal abuse, physical violence, or total neglect. However minor annoyances are probably not worth arguing about; after all, you’re not perfect either.
Appreciate Their Good Points
Everyone has their good points, but many couples only focus on the negative. Particularly when you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to take your partner’s positive aspects for granted but to notice all of their inadequacies! It may be helpful to take a sheet of paper and draw up a list of ‘positive’ aspects of your partner. This can include practical things like they rustle up a great spaghetti bolognese, to being able to make you laugh. Most people will find that the positives far outweigh the negatives and this will help them to feel more kindly towards their partner.
Going Into the Future
Remember the person you fell in love with? Your partner is still that person. They will have grown and developed as a person and so have you. The trick is to be adaptable and to be positive in your outlook towards them. No one can guarantee that your relationship will last forever, even if you follow these tips. After all, you may just have married the wrong person; someone whose values and beliefs are very different to your own. But if your relationship was once good but is struggling a bit, then these tips may help you to get back on track.