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7 Tips For A Strong Relationship When It’s Not Enough Just To Love

7 Tips For A Strong Relationship When It’s Not Enough Just To Love

It’s often not through a lack of love that many relationships fall apart. Here are 7 tips for a strong relationship when love is not enough.

1. Develop empathy and really listen to each other

Good communication often starts with a desire to understand other points of view. How many arguments have you had that have just spiraled out of control because no one is really listening or attempting to understand? I think one of the most important things we can all do, whether for a relationship or not, is to develop a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Grudge-holding, bitter thoughts and and negativity towards others will only backfire if you hold onto it.

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2. Spend quality time as a couple regularly

It might be easy to slip into a mundane routine, especially if you and your significant other live together. However, you don’t have to drastically change your life, go on expensive dates or adrenalin-fueled adventures to make a big difference in your relationships. Put aside one day a week for a ‘date night’ and aim to do something totally different together every week. Eat and cook together or try out a new hobby.

3. Spend quality time with yourself regularly

A good relationship should be balanced. Don’t give all your energy away or give up on the hobbies and things you love doing. Of course, relationships inevitably involve compromises, but make sure your own happiness is never suffering as a result.

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4. Don’t expect your partner to complete you

You should feel amazing just as you are. If you look for qualities in your partner that you think you lack, it could put a strain on the relationship. Sometimes we can expect too much from our partners. Yes, you should feel happy with your partner, but you should not depend on someone else to make you happy. Happiness is something that should come from inside you. Yes, a relationship might enhance your life, but it should never complete you.

5. Appreciate the little things

When you’ve been together for quite a while, it might seem easy to take your partner for granted. Say “thank you” more, tell them you love them, or send cute texts (in moderation of course). Let your partner know how much he/she means to you so they never feel taken for granted. This is probably one of the most important tips for a strong relationship.

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6. Understand how you both express your love

Some people express their love for others through lots of hugs and physical affection. Other people might show their love through action and small gestures. Others might surprise their significant other half with event tickets, meals and other romantic gestures. Find out how you partner likes to express their love. Don’t take it personally if, for example, they don’t hug you all the time or surprise you with adventurous dates. Alternatively, if you’re aware of how your partner likes to receive love, you can adapt accordingly and show your love in a way the other person would like to receive it.

7. Learn to forgive

Don’t let resentment build up over the years. Holding grudges will only backfire on you and hurt your relationship in the long run. Forgiveness is key to any strong relationship, so if there are things that are still playing on your mind, talk them through with your partner and work on yourself to find it in your heart to forgive.

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I’ve only skimmed the surface here, but if you have any more tips for a strong relationship, please share your thoughts, comments and words of wisdom below.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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