We all want to have a healthy relationship. Sometimes we come across a scenario and are unsure if this is a “make it or break it” issue, or maybe there are other issues that need to be cleared up or improved. Whether married or in a new relationship there are some simple steps you can take to improve your relationship so that neither of you feels either “rushed” or “stuck” in your partnership.
Be the best you
The role of your partner is not to make you happy, but rather for the two of you to be mutual support for each other, to be the best you can be so you can become a better version of yourself. Yet we each like to be appreciated and speaking each other’s love language adds to the satisfaction felt in the relationship. This means showing your love and affection on significant dates.
Whether Valentine’s Day or a wedding anniversary, you can improve your relationship with a gift you know your beloved will appreciate. Even if you are not great with choosing gifts, there is a traditional anniversary gift list that can give you ideas from a framed photograph for your first anniversary represented by paper or a gold dipped rose for your 50th anniversary (or your 14th anniversary.) Your gift is a chance to celebrate the love and affection that you share each day.
There is no rigid timescale for any relationship. You may meet, start dating immediately and be engaged in six months if you know yourself well enough to know what you want and don’t want; what works for you and what doesn’t. Simply put, the more you know yourself, the easier it will be to determine if a relationship is healthy and can be improved.
In contrast, waiting too long for relationship milestones can flag up a fear of commitment, which can be based on past hurts or other issues that need looking at. If the timing of relationship goals is different between the couple, there is a possibility now is not the right time for the couple to be together, since resolving past issues is critical so they don’t hurt the relationship in future.
Respect each other’s dignity
See your partner as an individual in their own right, and not simply with you to take care of your every wish. Honour each other’s history and unique story and ask questions of each other to find out something new. It can be easy for some people to see their partner as being in the relationship for their benefit, which kills a relationship over time.
Be considerate of your partner, honour their boundaries and be affectionate in a way you know they appreciate, from holding hands in public or going to bed together at the same time each night. This could as simple as deciding about your next monthly date night, whether you let her have her horror movie fix or instead share a new experience at a new local restaurant.
Keep your friendship
Within your romance, maintain your great friendship. It is your friendship that will weather all storms, being more important than physical attraction, personality matches, and shared values. Be grateful when they buy your favourite ice cream or clean your car and don’t see it as an expected duty.
Friendship is about being interdependent rather than independent or dependent and it is important to nurture that connection whilst maintaining our own unique identities within our coupledom. This means that you can tweak your schedule for dates that are important to them, leaving the gym earlier so you can see a movie premiere for example. Actively listen to what your partner is saying and if there is a challenging meeting coming up, make a note of the date and set a reminder for yourself so you can ask on the day how it went.
Have realistic expectations of each other. Accept that in relationships, mistakes will be made by both parties. Let go of old wounds and forgive mistakes that did not mean to cause hurt or harm. If you feel a bit stuck, talk with friends to resolve your feelings, they can also offer critical insights to help you on your way.