If you’ve got the basics covered – like being faithful, remembering to talk to each other and having great sex – you might be wondering what else you can do to make it through the years. Here are seven lesser known ways to keep the spark alive that have worked for me and my husband for over twenty years.
Relationships Are Hard Work—But These Tips Aren’t!
Your partner might be saying, I need you to do this. You may be wondering, yeah, but what do I get in return. It can become a vicious cycle. However, rather than continuously making these rounds, here are seven unexpected tips to take you one step closer tosaving your relationship.
Tip #1: Praise in the Same Way You Criticize
Couples are more apt to speak in detail about their complaints than their compliments. What can I say, humans are passionate about their dissatisfaction with life. However,when it comes to relationships, you need to keep emotions balanced at a rate of about four compliments per one criticism, and your compliments should be detailed. It is not enough to just say “I love you,” or “You are wonderful,” especially after you went into detail about why you are mad at your partner for not replacing the toilet paper, screwing the toothpaste cap on tight or turning off the lights when they leave the kitchen. If you put the same level of detail in your praise as you do your criticism your partner will become more accepting of your occasional critique.
Tip #2: Put Some “Oomph” Into Your Arguments
It’s common when couples fight for the person who is being yelled at to shut down. They could be doing this in order to keep their cool or to prevent the fighting from escalating, but they just look like a wart on a toad’s back. Their partner is going to interpret their aloofness as them not caring. But, frustration and love can work hand in hand, especially when you are both listening and learning. Healthy arguing can accomplish positive change and compromise, while unwelcome silence will only invite resentment and disconnection.
If you are dissatisfied with an area of your relationship, don’t wait for resentment to build, even if it is a dreaded topic, like sex, money or chores. It is best to talk to your partner when you feel connected to them, rather than waiting until you lose your temper and say something you’ll regret.
Tip #4:Define Yourself; Not Your Partner
Your relationships should be defined by your own inner worth, and not by how your partner fits into that formula. The first thing that happens when you try to define your partner this way is you begin to realize the differences that exist. You start to obsess over the changes that need to take place to make you more compatible. Instead, cherish your differences, as it is these that challenge you to grow spiritually and emotionally until you eventually find each other somewhere in the middle.
Tip #5: Focus on the Good
In life, when a problem comes up, we often focus on it and find a way to solve it. This may work with your career and fitness goals. However, in relationships, you have a better chance of creating positive change when you focus on what’s good about your partner, rather than what needs to be fixed. The rest will fall into place.
Tip #6:Follow Your Instincts
Sometimes we rely on others to tell us the answers to our problems. However, being seated on the sidelines is not the same as being in the action. You know your partner better than anyone else, and probably know of at least three things that will make them happy right now. Sometimes improving your relationship is as simple as letting go of resentment and rediscovering the simple pleasure of making each other happy.
Tip #7:Lead by Example
Many unhappy couples think their partner is responsible for their happiness. Let’s get one things straight: You hold the most responsibility for making yourself happy. Let’s say your partner is late coming home. Rather than sitting on the couch and stewing over their lateness, go do something for yourself. Partners learn from each others actions. If you’re patient with your lover, they will be patient with you. Also, if your partner seems to have given up on the relationship, by putting extra attention in places where they aren’t (commitment, support), it may help them rediscover their way back to you. This may not always work. However, it is more effective than detaching from a partner just because they seem to have detached from you.
Of course, if none of these tips makes sense, or seem too difficult, perhaps you are not meant to be. Relationships take work, risk and sacrifice. If a relationship is worth it, these will be acceptable terms. If it isn’t, then I’ve got a much more appropriate article for you to read.