Relationships can bring about some of the hardest experiences, and some of the most rewarding. Through relationships, we learn who our true selves are and who we have the capacity to be. Whether it’s a friendship, a romantic partnership, a business endeavor or your family, it’s important to respect each others’ values, boundaries and ways of thinking. Through communication, listening when you need to, talking when you need to, and a true compromise of give and take, your relationships can grow in prosperity and lots of unconditional love. And don’t forget – the hard times make the good times so much better.
- Learn each other’s love languages.
We’re sure that you’ve heard someone say, “Well, have you taken the quiz? What’s your love language?” It’s a universal concept: there are 5 different ways to love – words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time and physical touch. Each comes with their own differences and values. Each is affected by different things. Learn more and find out your love language here.
- Never assume.
It’s easy in a relationship to look at everything the other person is doing wrong, and think about everything you’re doing “right”. It’s easy to place yourself in someone else’s mind, and lead yourself to believe that you know exactly what they’re thinking and why they are doing whatever they’re doing. The voice in your head is completely, completely yours. We hear our own voice in the “first person”, we hear it in our own voice. When we put that voice onto someone else, we are making an assumption. We are taking every single aspect that makes us, us, and concluding that the other being feels and would act the same way.
- Respect each other’s time.
Whether you and your partner live together, or simply spend a lot of quality time together – at the end of the day, the two of you have separate lives. You probably have different careers, some different friends and some different tastes: in food, in music, in favorite tv shows. Let your partner put on that baking show you really don’t feel like watching; let them play that Mariah Carey song you despise, but can’t help but smile along to when you see them belting their lungs out.
- Compromise and give when you need to.
We all go through daily struggles and everchanging emotions, that we sometimes don’t share with those around us, no matter how close we are. Sometimes it’s about simply giving a little more when you have extra energy, extra time and/or extra positive emotions. Cook dinner for your partner, clean the space that you both spend time in (together or apart), plan a night to go out and have some fun! Your partner will notice that you’re going the extra mile and appreciate the effort. Then, in return, they will be more inclined to give to you when their cup is more full.
- Create space for proactive communication.
Need to chat about something? Feel like something is bothering you but you’re not sure if you should bring it up? Be open, honest, and direct about what you need to talk about and why. Make sure that you head into the conversation with a clear mind and knowing exactly how you will vocalize your concerns or desires. Sometimes it helps to write your thoughts down before the conversation, so that you’re not fresh off of a feeling. Your partner will be more willing to hear you and to listen to you if you are speaking calmly and without aggressive emotion. Try to not be passive either, as you might not be heard fully if you sound confused or unsure of yourself.
All in all, partnerships are fulfilling relationships and can truly enrich our lives. There is no feeling like the feeling of knowing you can trust, depend on and feel safe with someone else in this crazy world. Humans are pack animals, and tend to thrive within groups and through connection. To survive, we need social interaction and a feeling that we belong to something, or to someone. Not in a possessive way, but in the light of true interdependent attachment and healthy bonds. Who do you love? How can you be more present in the relationship? What aspects do you appreciate about that other person? Write some of these answers down, and remind someone today how much they mean to you – and how excited you are to grow along with them.
Written by Katherine Manley, of Black Valley Creative.