Last month we talked about how to transform yourself:
If you want to improve your life, work on yourself. If you want to improve your relationships, work on yourself. If you want to improve your love relationship, work on yourself. Find ways to improve your thinking, as well as your behaviors. Get feedback or look at the feedback you have received from others as a way to begin your change. Listen to and review your partner’s complaints about you and you will discover easy avenues for change. Examine your own disappointments and goals and begin climbing out to soar into success.
I’m not suggesting you forget about circumstances, others’ misdeeds or your partner’s mistakes, weaknesses, or failings. Just set them aside or ask the other to work on herself or himself. Keep your focus on yourself because that truly is all you have control over – all you can possibly change.
If you focus on yourself you can easily move off blame, anger and hurt. Take responsibility for what you need and want, and go after it. Make the beliefs you hold in top priority to be about your positive values and positive successes. Keep your attitude positive; keep your thoughts and words and actions positive, kind, thoughtful, and courteous.
This month we want to go beyond your own personal growth and look at what you can do that will focus specifically on your relationship to enable the relationship to improve and grow in happiness and love.
You and your partner can both change your focus from your own needs and successes to add those of your partner. Spend your time and effort changing the way you think and behave, which will alter your feelings. Share your needs and expectations with your partner to experience both of you developing a way to fulfill both your wants and preferences.
Your individual and relationship intentions and goals will come more and more into reality. If you are happier with yourself, you will also be happier with others and other aspects of your life. You will increase your understanding of your partner’s perspectives, both of your levels of acceptance and empathy will be magnified, your ability to manage conflict will work, and your happiness and intimacy will be much more satisfying.
Skills to Practice
Study this list of communication and relationship suggestions and practice one, two, or three a week. In three months you can have a much better relationship. You can focus this on your love relationship, a good friendship or with a family member. No matter what the definition of your relationship, it will improve if you follow these ideas and exercises. These relationship and positive psychology interventions are well-researched and known to contribute to successful relationships and well-being.
- Be comfortable sharing important aspects of you.
- Share concisely.
- Become an expert listener who understands your partner’s entire perspective.
- Listen actively and respond with enthusiasm and interest to something positive the other says.
- Be kind.
- Maintain good eye contact when communicating.
- Don’t think about what you want to say while listening.
- Stop your negative self-talk and partner-talk. Don’t jump into the quicksand with your partner if they have jumped in. Stay on calm and sturdy land and toss a lifeline.
- When your partner is upset, only take what is meant for you and don’t take the rest of the emotion personally – it is probably from your partner’s past.
- State your feelings of response instead of talking about your partner’s behaviors.
- Learn to give a genuine apology.
- Change your behaviors to solve an irritation and you will change your feelings.
- Take responsibility for your actions and learn to create more positivity in your emotions.
- Talk in “I” statements, not “You” statements.
- Lighten up; add humor and teasing to your communication.
- Compliment your partner three times every day.
- Say, “Thank you!” for things your partner does for you.
- Learn to apologize and take responsibility for your actions that could cause hurt or other negative feelings; say more than, “I’m sorry.”
- Heal your past so it does not creep into your arguments with your partner.
- Have a little time for adult sharing in the evenings or after the kids go to bed.
- Make sure you are setting aside time in your busy schedules to make love.
- Have a date every week for the rest of your life.
- Do fun and interesting things together.
- Find at least one activity or hobby that you love to do together.
- Rebuild the relationship to make your partner your best friend again.
- Be physical and touch often, even in front of the children.
- Kiss each other hello and goodbye. Spend 3 minutes sharing during these times.
- Remember to follow up about things which your partner mentioned.
- Have a thoughtful conversation about something important to your partner.
- Do little things to show your love to your partner. Know their love language and do those behaviors.
- Do things your partner likes.
- Do something fun your partner is not expecting.
- Say, “I love you” more than you do now.
- Text your partner different ways of expressing, “I love you.”
- Share 6-second kisses for a little more connection.
- Share 3 good things from your day and why they are good (to get at the cause and regard). You can do this with your partner or with the family at dinner time each night.
- Have things to look forward to.
- Plan your future; discuss dreams, desires, and goals.
- Respect your partner and express that in word and deed.
- Accept who your partner is and don’t try to change him or her.
- Remember you are on the same team.
- Have your own life so you bring things to the relationship.
- Learn to compromise.
- Give in, especially on the small things that don’t matter much.
- Learn to negotiate.
- Meet weekly in your Flourishing Relationship Meeting to keep sharing and intimacy fresh.
- Meet annually to have a Flourishing Relationship Retreat to plan your goals and connect intimately for a weekend.
If both you and your partner are focusing on personal change, as well as these relationship skills, the two of you will be in the process of creating a more mature, accepting and loving relationship. These steps above teach you how to express your emotional connection, deepen your friendship, and improve your communication surrounding conflict. The more you practice and make these skills an active part of your life together, the more you become masters of a successful relationship.
Best of Success for Your Happiness and Well-being…
Meanwhile, try your success at several of the suggestions for relationship development above. If you want help in achieving more happiness and well-being, email me, text or call me at 702-242-4222.