Relationships mirror everything we feel about ourselves, and hence, may look like hard work sometimes. I am not perfect and I am human and I don’t always behave in an ideal way. That’s why I say practise, because we never get perfect at it. We just need to keep at it and the perfection is in the practice.
1. Schedule time together.
Set time aside each day to lavish love and attention on your partner. I have an old friend who shared this secret with me over two decades ago where she and her husband actually set aside 6 PM every evening to make love and spend intimate time together. This was great on many levels, as it took the pressure off bedtime at night to have s*x and at the same time it guaranteed that whatever mood they both may be in, they knew that come 6 PM they would have to resolve differences or at least put them aside and be loving to each other physically.
In this time, consciously get to know each other again, ask the other about their interests and concerns. So much might have happened during the day that excited and irritated both of you and when you take the time to share this with each other, you become closer and develop a deeper sense of what makes each other tick.
Once a week take time to do something that your partner enjoys. This could include watching a movie of his choice or even going to the restaurant of his favourite cuisine. We often get selfish and want things our way, but the bonding that occurs when sharing enjoyment with your partner is priceless.
Affirm your love regularly. Have a loving ritual where you say you love each other even when you don’t feel like saying it, because you know it is true and saying it is important for yourself and for your partner.
2. Learn to control your own emotions.
We justify that as human beings it is normal to have reactions and that we shouldn’t have to control our feelings and hide them when we are annoyed. But this can be damaging to the relationship. Every smart couple knows that free and frequent outbursts are not going to do any good and sometimes the damage can be too big to repair, leaving bitterness and spite in its place.
Having said that, we are human, so give each other space and time to express yourselves. Sometimes you need to allow each other to vent and even to blame you for things that aren’t your fault. Notice when you are unfairly placing blame on your partner for your disappointments in your own behaviours and results. It is very easy and common to do that and it takes one of you being willing to be humble and admit it. It is one thing to do it unnecessarily and unfairly, but it takes courage and awareness to admit it to yourself and your partner, and what you will find is that through this admitting of your own flaws or mistakes, your partner’s respect and admiration for you will go up and you will open the door for him to feel safe to do the same. You would have set the example for him to follow and also admit to his own shortcomings.
3. Communicate clearly.
Often we think our partners should understand how we feel and what our current predicament is. We assume that it is all obvious when it isn’t. Even though two people are very close, we often cannot see exactly how and what the other person sees.
When you communicate, do it as mature adults. Sometimes when we talk about our feelings and grievances, our tone tends to become accusatory, making the other defensive and instinctively give counter examples to invalidate the way we feel. When you take the time to listen caringly and to speak clearly, then you take away the need for either of you to get defensive.
Make the effort to share your perspective and allow them to do the same. Repeat what you understand to them and ask if you can help in any way. Offer specific requests and explain exactly why you are making these requests. Then allow for the other to offer support in ways that they can.
In every breakdown or argument is an opportunity for more closeness, intimacy and understanding. Instil at least one of these practices this week and watch how your love blooms.