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15 Ways To Have the Best Relationship of Your Life

15 Ways To Have the Best Relationship of Your Life

We have all grown up watching movies where women are princesses, men are their knights in shining armor, and perfect couples ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. But no one actually teaches us the things we need to do to have our “happily ever after.” So that’s where I come in. Here are 15 things you can do if you want to have the best relationship of your life.

1. Try to talk with your partner about how you impact each other.

No one is a mind reader. And some people aren’t very good at knowing how their behavior affects other people. So you need to tell each other. Not only the negative impacts, but the positive as well. If you want your partner to change something, gently ask without criticism. If you think your partner is awesome, tell them. Thank them. Keep the lines open.

2. When you get in a fight, try to see the situation as if you’re an outsider looking in.

Try to step outside yourself and view the conflict as an objective outsider. This de-personalizes it and helps you see your partner’s point of view. Most people have a “me vs. you” attitude when it comes to fighting. They view it as a battle against the enemy. This could not be more destructive! Instead, have a “we” or team mentality. You’re both in this relationship together, so you have to come up with solutions together. Stepping back and looking at it from an objective perspective helps tremendously.

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3. Invite your partner to build more closeness by practicing empathy daily.

Empathy is key to every relationship. This is the ability to see the other person’s point of view and show them that you value how they feel. You don’t have to agree with them, you just have to allow them to feel what they feel without making them wrong. One empathy “game” you can play is reflecting back each other’s words and feelings. This allows you to check your perceptions and helps you partner feel “heard.”

4. Tune into your emotions and see if you can each share what you need most.

It doesn’t help to repress your emotions. It might make your relationship seem peaceful, but it’s like trying to hold a beach ball under water forever. You can’t do it. Eventually, it’s going to come back up–and probably in an explosive manner. So both people need to keep their emotions in check and continuously share them with their partner. That way, nothing will be a surprise or get buried for a long time.

5. Be mindful of the fact that emotional damage can derail relationships.

It could be cheating. It could be ignoring your partner’s feelings. It could be withholding affection. Emotional damage can take any form. And they deliver brutal blows to relationships. So if there was an emotional injury that took place between the two of you, talk about it. Fix it. Don’t ignore it. That will only make it worse.

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6. Discuss your main relationship goals for the next year and see if you find ways to achieve them.

When we hear the term “goal,” we don’t usually think in terms of “relationship” goals. But just as you would have a career goal, you must have relationship goals together. Do you want to get married? Do you want to buy a house? Have kids? Move to the west coast? It’s helpful to have shared goals, but if you don’t, then each partner has to be respectful of the other person’s desires and at least try to find a mutually satisfying solution.

7. Cherish and honor your connection.

Don’t take your relationship for granted. It’s sacred, so treat it that way! Too many times we get too comfortable and stop trying to make our partner happy. This doesn’t work. Honor what you have. Cherish it. And above all, communicate to your partner that you value their presence in your life.

8. Create small rituals to recognize your bond.

It helps to have rituals that you do together. It could be committing to go on a date night every Saturday or celebrating your anniversary each year at the same restaurant where you met. Or maybe it’s going on a picnic once a month. Anything that tells each other that you are committed to honoring a ritual or routine will help maintain a healthy relationship.

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9. Do little things for each other.

Do the dishes. Rub her shoulders. Vacuum. Call just to say you love him. Bring home a single rose. These are simple things that don’t cost a dime (except for the rose!). These things are valued, especially by women. It shows attention and desire to help or nurture your partner.

10. Laugh. A lot. Don’t take things too seriously.

Who doesn’t like to laugh? I would guess pretty much everyone does. But as relationships get stressful, sometimes people forget to laugh. People start focusing on their partner’s negative behaviors and they get annoyed and resentful. Try not to take things so seriously. Try to look at everything your partner does (and in life) as amusing. This lightens the relationship. Couples that laugh together, stay together.

11. Grow your friendship with each other.

You are probably more forgiving of your friends than you are of your romantic partner. Why is this? Probably because you don’t put as many expectations on your friends. But a solid foundation as best friends is the best way to build a long-term relationship.

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12. Support each other’s hopes and dreams.

Maybe you want to open a restaurant. Or your partner wants to go back to school for a Ph.D. Whatever your dreams, you both need to be supportive of each other. Even if you don’t agree with the dream or think it’s silly, you still need to be encouraging. Being your partner’s rock and biggest fan is essential to a healthy relationship.

13. Put your partner’s needs equal to or before your own.

You may not want to admit it, but there may be times when you are a little selfish. And that’s fine. As long as you aren’t selfish all of the time. If you only worry about your needs and you ignore your partner’s, then they will eventually grow resentful. People need to know that their partner loves them enough to put them first‒at least sometimes.

14. Give the relationship attention.

When I teach about relationships, I always use the metaphor of a plant. Plants can be beautiful, but they need to be watered every day. They need attention. And so do relationships. If you don’t “feed” your relationship, it will die. It needs nourishment just as much as a plant. You can’t ignore it and put in minimal effort and expect it to flourish. It takes constant attention.

15. Don’t expect perfection.

We all want to ride off into the sunset with that perfect prince or princess. But we all know that perfection is a myth. No one is perfect. So instead of looking at your partner’s faults and focusing on what they should change, accept them as they are. Focus on the good. Feed the good stuff. And then you will reach a place of calm acceptance and have a peaceful relationship.

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

How to Handle Emotional Blackmail in a Relationship What To Do If You Think Your Husband Hates You How to Stop Resentment from Ruining Your Marriage The 10 Stages of a Relationship That Every Couple Should Understand Can You Really Fix a Toxic Relationship (And How)?

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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