No relationship is perfect; we all argue and disagree on certain things. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making a conscious effort to improve your relationship. Here, Love Coach Vicki Pavitt gives us five simple ways to look at things differently and bring out the best in your relationship.
1. Learn how to effectively communicate with each other
Learning how to communicate effectively with each other is key to building a happy and healthy relationship. This is the holy grail when it comes to relationship advice.
Practice the ‘active listening’ technique with your partner, which means putting down your phone or switching off Netflix and giving them your undivided attention. Make eye contact with your partner as they talk, position your body towards them and ask questions to show that you’re engaged in what they are saying.
If something bothers you then express how you feel using “I” vs. “you” language to avoid sounding overly critical. So, for example, rather than say “you’re always on your phone and you never listen to me” you would say “when you’re on your phone when we’re eating dinner, I feel unimportant”.
2. Spend quality time together
How often do you and your partner spend quality time together? If it’s been a while, then schedule a date night and reignite the spark in your relationship. Brainstorm some ideas for your date night by thinking back to the things you connected over when you fell in love, whether you met through a dating site or at an event. Make these a regular thing and get them in the diary.
As well as date nights, prioritise mini moments of connection too. Ask questions that encourage a meaningful response, for example asking your partner “what’s the best thing that happened to you today?” at the end of a busy day at work. Prioritise each other and make time for the things that matter.
3. See your partner as your equal and treat them with respect
Research shows that contempt is the most destructive negative behaviour in a relationship. This means acting superior to your partner, mocking them, and not respecting them or their points of view. Contempt has also been shown to erode our immune system! See your partner as your equal and treat them with respect. Your health will thank you for it.
4. Invest in your relationship with yourself
As well as investing in your relationship with your partner, don’t forget to invest in your relationship with yourself. Make time for the things you love, take yourself on regular self-love dates and speak to yourself like someone you love. Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for every relationship you will have, so treat yourself with love, kindness, and respect.
5. Remember you’re a team
In long term relationships you can find that your family or your partner’s family will become more involved in your relationship. While this is often done out of love, if you’re finding there’s too much interference, then one of the most important things you can do is to put your relationship first and be a team. Be kind and respectful about your partner in front of family and don’t encourage their need to interfere. And establish healthy boundaries with family members so it’s clear where their involvement in your relationship starts and ends.