Let’s face it, with everything else going on in our lives, and constant information overload, who wants to “work” on their relationship? Sure, everyone wants to improve their relationship, experience more intimacy, be appreciated more by their significant other, have more (and better) sex, feel more supported, have more time to themselves (without feeling guilty), but how do you get all that without having to work for it?
In an effort to help you get more of what you want more often and experience the connection you really want in your relationship, here are 5 simple steps that will help make yours last:
- Never Assume, Always Ask. I do not care if you have been together for over 20 years and believe you know what the other person’s response is going to be to everything. More feelings are hurt and more communications misunderstood because of a simple assumption. Cut it out. Do not assume that you know what your significant other wants or doesn’t want, what they need or how they are going to react to a situation. Respect them enough to be upfront and ask them. You may be surprised at their response.
- Practice ACTIVE Listening. Yes, this goes together with never assume, always ask. If you are going to ask, you must really listen to your partner’s response. When someone else is talking, let them finish talking completely. Do not interrupt them to insert your own response – when you are already thinking about what you are going to say next, before they have even finished talking, you cannot be present and fully aware of what they are saying. Think about how it feels to you when your partner actually hears what you are trying to communicate and give them the gift of listening actively.
- Use Your Words. Growing up in my family, one of our household rules was “No Whining.” We had to use real words and explain what we were feeling so that the rest of the family knew what you were experiencing and could provide the appropriate response or action. Sighing and rolling eyeballs (contrary to popular belief) are not, repeat NOT clear forms of communication. Nor does giving someone the evil eye mean that they are magically going to read your mind. Stop expecting them to. Express yourself clearly by using words and phrases that put you back in control of your communication and takes the guess work out of the translation for others.
- Leave the Skeletons in the Closet. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Those controversial moments in time you had long forgotten and thought you would never hear about again until that one disagreement or argument when any past hurt or misdeed rises up from the depths of the past as ammunition for the current moment. Stop holding on to past hurt, or do what you must to heal if you are using the past as an excuse for present situations. Keep current disagreements about current events. You will have more credibility and get more respect from your significant other.
- Celebrate Each Other. Male or female, we all want similar things in our relationships. To be appreciated, acknowledged, nurtured, supported, respected and loved. So, do one small thing each day to celebrate each other. Tell him he looks handsome in that new blue shirt, that she is beautiful and you’re the luckiest man in the world. Thank him for taking the trash out or putting the kids to bed. Tell her you appreciate everything she does for you. Leave love notes or send your significant other a card in the mail. It really is the little things that make such a big difference. Make the time to celebrate each other so you build a solid foundation of connection that will last the test of time.