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15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

15 Powerful Relationship Lessons From Happy And Loving Couples

I hang out with a group of couples who have been with their spouse or partner for 10 years or more.

We all seem to be happy and loving people. Of course our relationships are far from perfect, but somehow we all have decided to make this journey with our significant other, for better or worse.Here are 15 relationship lessons we practice to keep our relationships healthy, happy, and loving.

1. Genuinely like each other.

You have to like the person you are with because to be honest, the intense “in-love” feelings may not always be there. Some days you want to kill your partner, but what stops you is the feeling that you actually like this person.

Crazy talk aside, when it comes down to spending hours upon hours with a single person, liking them becomes very important.

When you say you “like” someone, what you’re really saying is, “he or she is cool to hang out with, they don’t get on my nerves all that much, and to tell you the truth, I feel good when I’m around them.”

2. Enjoy the sense of humor you share.

I find that each couple has their own sense of humor.  They each find the other funny and laugh at the same things that perhaps others wouldn’t find as humorous.

This commonality is something to be valued because finding someone that can make you laugh, especially when things are tough, can be the glue that makes you stick and stay.

3. Cherish the good in the other person.

Focusing on the good traits of your partner will increase your loving feelings for them which may help you overlook the annoying things they do. Because there’s no perfect person, but what there can be is your positive perception of that person.

Also, I have found when you focus on the wonderful qualities of a person, you start seeing more of those qualities come out.

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4. Birds of a feather, flock together.

Men and women who want and are drawn to be in long-term relationships hangout together.  Couples, who do “couples activity” with other couples create friendships and a bond that acts as a support system for the overall health of all relationships involved.

Your couple friends will be there to share the good times. They will also be there to comfort and support the both of you when and if that situation ever arises.

5. Use your words.

I know there’s some science to back my next statement because it’s the honest truth.

Men cannot read minds. Women on the other hand can, especially if they’re related. Therefore when men and women talk, they must use their words.

Joking aside, the healthiest relationships are the ones who communicate well with each other.

I believe both men and women must clearly ask for what they want from their partner in order to receive it.

For example, my boyfriend knows, if I ask for 12 lemons for a 12 lemon center piece, he will bring 12 lemons home. (Share this post if you know my movie reference!)

More importantly, couples who say what they mean in a loving way get to the heart of an issue and find a way to resolve it.

6. Cultivate your individual existence.

The healthiest relationships are where each person has their own lives. Build a life together, but don’t lose yourself and your individual purpose.

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Healthy couples support each other in their individual interests such as hobbies, sport activities, or meaningful work.

When a person has a purpose and a sense of meaning to their life, they behave in a more positive and loving way to their partners and other people in general.

7. Take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

At any moment in time, you can change your thought, mood, and reaction for the better. Your partner may not always do the right thing, but you have the power to react in a more positive way no matter the situation.

Acting positively and lovingly towards a situation will bring about a more productive resolution.

8. Let them be.

Don’t be afraid to give each other a “cooling-off” period. Not everything needs to be resolved right there and then.

Let each person find their own understanding of a situation so that they can hopefully return with some sense and compassion.

9. Spend time apart.

Nobody likes anybody who is underfoot too long. It is healthy to spend time away from each other.

My boyfriend and I did a long distance thing for three years in the middle of our relationship and I believe it only made our bond stronger.

Let each other enjoy a weekend away with friends and find your own relationship rekindled upon their return.

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10. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

One of the best things you can do for a long-term relationship is to not be bothered by the idiosyncrasies of the other person.

There are some things in a person that may never change and you just have to accept that. Yes, you may think your partner was raised in a barn, but he or she is still the one you want in your little universe.

Be quick to forgive dumb, maybe even thoughtless mistakes because as long as it doesn’t make you distrust the person or question your entire relationship, then it can all be worked out with some understanding, compassion, and compromise.

11. Act like a team.

This is one of the lessons that I believe can really help a relationship survive and thrive.

When you know that your partner has your proverbial back, you feel a kind of peace. A sense that you’re not alone, that someone else is looking out for your best interest, and that feels amazing.

A lot of my couple friends own businesses with their spouse and in my observation it brings them closer together. Owning a business with someone teaches you about cooperation, compromise, and the importance of making a decision together.

12. Show your appreciation.

The words “thank you” should be said as often as possible because everyone likes to feel appreciated and respected.

Day in and day out, your partner is always doing something in the name of love and family and that should not go unnoticed. From making dinner, working long hours, and performing simple acts of kindness, give your gratitude.

It’s a universal truth. The more you say thank you to what the universe offers you, the more you receive those kind of things.

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13. Say I love you and show it.

No matter how long you’ve been together, always tell your partner you love them because this short, but meaningful sentence could have such an impact on their day.

For instance, these simple words may be the best thing they hear all day. It can make them feel honored, safe, appreciated, and wanted. By just saying these three little words, you can give these wonderful feelings to each other.

Then show one another the love you feel with small acts of kindness or big gestures of devotion. No matter how you do it, the point is that you do it.

14. Spend romantic time together.

Spending romantic time together is different from the other times you’re spending with each other. Romantic time implies that your sole focus is to connect romantically with your partner and this is very important if you want the fires of love to burn for eternity.

I love the saying, “The grass is greener where your water it.” So if you want the love between the both of you to last, you have to take care of that lawn like it’s the Bermuda grass of the Carolinas.

In plain English, date night is a must-do.

15. It’s about the journey.

You will walk in the sunshine together. You will hold each other tight during a freak storm. Sometimes you will even dance in the rain together.

All that matters is no matter the weather, you will expectantly share the experience together.

But if there comes a time that you don’t, hopefully you’ve done all of the above so you know that you gave it your best, and you showed them how big you can love.

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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