Welcome to the second installment of my “Ten Tips For An Awesome Relationship” blog. As a registered psychologist and relationship coach, I have coached many people through “okay” relationships; helping them to develop the skills required for a truly “AWESOME” one. You may recall that in part 1 of this blog I shared the first five relationship tips with you. (Please refer to my blog posted on 16th February 2017, to refresh your memory). In this second blog, I’m going to share the remaining five tips with you. Tips that I have found to help build an awesome relationship!
(Tip 6) Learn To Respect Yourself And Your Partner
Mutual respect is a crucial part of all relationships. In order to respect others you first need to respect yourself. Become aware of your values: the things that are important to you; and where your boundaries lie. Boundaries determine what we are comfortable with others saying or doing to us, and they communicate to people that we are deserving of respect.
Respect is also about giving of course. So how do you show respect to your partner? A good starting point is by listening to them and accepting that some of their values and opinions may be different from your own. Reflect back what you hear them say, and it can be especially to tell them that you respect their right to have a different opinion. Ask yourself this: in a disagreement do you really believe that your partner is entitled to a different opinion? If you answered “no”, then you may find this tip helpful. Many couples tell me that it makes a big difference to their relationship.
(Tip 7) Work On Your Friendship With Your Partner
I apologies if this sounds obvious, but I often hear couples say that they have never really been friends. And that they can’t really remember what they liked about each other! But without friendship it’s significantly more difficult to develop love, trust and intimacy.
An easy place to start is by showing some interest in the things that your partner enjoys. Spare a couple of hours and go shopping with them, or to the football, or the movies. And be curious; ask them questions and show a genuine interest in finding out more. You don’t have to like their interest of course, but it is helpful to resist any urge to criticize or ridicule something that is important to them. And they may even reciprocate!
(Tip 8) Accept That Some Conflicts Are Not Resolvable
In my experience, couples are able to resolve most conflicts with good communication skills, empathy and some willingness to make compromises. However there are some arguments that just seem unresolvable, no matter how many hours, days, sometimes even years you try. I call these “gridlocked” issues; they just don’t have a solution that is acceptable to both partners.
If you have such an issue I suggest that you consider trying acceptance. “But how can I accept something that I don’t like?” I hear you ask. Put simply acceptance means acknowledging that this is something we can’t agree on, and that our attempts to resolve it aren’t working. (In fact many couples find that their ongoing attempts to resolve gridlocked issues take up a lot of their time, and lead to frustration, conflict and ultimately disconnection.
In reality, acceptance is a process. It takes some time and many of us find it very difficult to accept things that we can’t change. The first step in this process is making the decision to accept! And it can help to remind yourself that by choosing to accept you’re NOT saying that you approve.
(Tip 9) Take Some Time Outs When Arguments Escalate
We all hate conflict and most of us try to avoid it when we can. However conflict is a part of all relationships and being able to manage it in helpful ways goes a long way to building an awesome connection. It’s a complex issue of course, and I could dedicate an entire blog to this alone, but if I had to offer you one tip, it is this: If you’re in the midst of an argument with your partner, and you begin to feel those emotions rising within yourself, take a time-out! Let your partner know that you need a break from the conversation, walk away and find a place to calm yourself down.
This can be hard to do at first, but many couples tell me that without time-outs things can escalate quickly and get nasty. Escalation is almost always unproductive as it’s the most common time that partners say things they later regret. And it is rare for issues to be resolved in these circumstances! However it is important to resume the conversation when you both feel calm, as unresolved issues lead to resentment.
(Tip 10) Celebrate Your Uniqueness
Okay I confess, I don’t have a tenth tip. Or at least not a specific one! The truth is all people are different and therefore each couple is unique. One of a kind. This means that what has worked for your parents, your friends, or your siblings relationship’s may not work for yours. So tip 10 is simply to work out with your partner what it is that you already do, (or have done in the past) that makes you both feel loved, cherished and valued by each other. And do more of that!
Enjoy Building An Awesome Relationship
Hopefully some of these tips will help you and your partner to start the process of making your “okay” relationship “awesome”. If you would like further relationship information please visit the “Couples Counselling” and “Relationship Advice” pages on our website, www.tgpsychology.com.au . (They are under the “Issues We Help With” tab)
I hope that you find my blogs helpful and I appreciate the time that you take to read them. If any of the content has brought up any concerns about your mental health, please seek professional help right away.
Author: Joclyn Stanley