10 Tips Your Relationship Might Be Needing More Than You Realize
Being in a long-term relationship can prove to be one of the hardest challenges in someone’s life. Having to live together with another person and merge your lives can be difficult at times, but if you want to make it work there are some things you need to do. It’s all about making sacrifices and understanding yourself and your partner. Nothing will ever work if you put your ego above the other person.
1. Try to stop and think before saying something to your partner.
It’s important to sometimes swallow your pride and ego — not doing so can only damage the relationship and bring nothing good out of it. If your partner says something upsetting, you can try taking a deep breath and counting to 5.
Try to think about what the right thing to say will be to ease tense energy during an argument. You may want to let them know that they hurt your feelings but in a light-mannered, less aggressive way.
2. Practice the 6-second kiss.
Have you ever tried clocking how long you kiss your partner? Dr. John Gottman, the founder of the Gottman Institute, suggests kissing your significant other for at least 6 seconds.
The basic idea behind this is that 6 seconds encourages a more mindful kiss compared to, say, a split-second peck on the cheek. It is long enough to substantially connect with your partner physically, but not too long for you to miss the bus to work. It also builds appreciation and boosts fondness between you and your significant other.
3. Talk less, listen more.
It’s important to note that when your partner is venting to you, they do not necessarily need you to solve their problem. Most of the time, they just want you to listen.
The emotional support you give through active listening is just as important, if not more important than offering up practical solutions. Fight the urge to always want to be the hero who solves your partner’s woes, and be the best friend who acknowledges their issues and reassures them that everything is going to be okay in the end.
4. Don’t take each other for granted.
All relationships need boundaries, limits, and responsibilities. And you shouldn’t take everything in a relationship for granted.
To make sure that both partners are satisfied with a relationship, they need to work on it, learn to talk, learn to solve problems, and make compromises. Don’t take your partner’s words or actions for granted. Then, your partner will do the same for you.
5. Enjoy moments of silence.
Spoiler alert. Marriage is not an endless world of exciting adventures. Couples are not always embarking on spontaneous trips, enjoying fun hobbies, or going on romantic dates. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
A lot of times, you find yourself quietly hanging out with your spouse in the same room and doing nothing particularly important. And it’s actually beautiful, even if you’re both doing your own thing while sharing the same space. In those moments of silence, learn to appreciate each other’s presence. Having that level of ease will give you a warm sense of comfort.
6. Avoid stonewalling or giving them the silent treatment.
Stonewalling is when a person shuts down in the middle of an argument, and therapist Dr. John Gottman believes this is one of the biggest factors that contributes to a failed relationship.
When the stonewaller gives their significant other the silent treatment and feigns a calm exterior, it’s tantamount to saying to their partner, “I don’t care about what you are saying anymore.” Although the stonewaller might intend to just let things calm down at the moment, this method is ultimately detrimental. Instead, it is better to ask for a break and communicate to your partner that you need time to process your feelings. Then, when the dust has settled, return to the discussion at hand.
7. Have emotional understanding.
The previous point kind of leads to this one. We mean that it’s important to not just be able to put yourself in someone else’s place when they are in trouble, but also during very heated arguments between the two of you.
Of course, during an argument, very few people ever say: “You have the right to feel this way, and I understand that.” It seems that saying that may only make things worse, but it won’t. These words can have a miraculous effect. Your partner will realize that you understand their feelings and even though you are upset, you accept the way they are feeling. This realization leads to feeling relieved and forgetting about the negative emotions.
8. Small acts of love are more romantic than grand gestures.
Grand, well-organized surprises may seem ultra-romantic. But it’s the frequent little gestures that truly strengthen a relationship. Aside from being harder to fake, small acts of love show consistency.
They can be as simple as writing a love note every morning, asking your partner how their day is going, or bringing home a small present that says you have been thinking of them. Your significant other will surely start feeling all the butterflies again just like when you started dating.
9. Don’t forget to take care of yourself.
Cohabitation does not mean you have to spend every single waking moment together. Taking a breather and having alone time is healthy for relationships too. Solitude allows us to reflect on many things, including ourselves, and could help us become better people for our significant others.
10. Take initiative instead of asking.
If your partner often doesn’t want to go to the movies or dinner when you ask them, then you can try saying, “We’re going to this new restaurant today,” instead of “Do you want to do something fun today?” They may be more open to going and their mood can improve. Sometimes it’s better to not give your partner a choice and it’s better to state the plans for the day.