Guest Contribution: Strengthening Your Relationship for Long-Term Happiness

Nurturing a relationship means focusing on making each moment together the best possible moment. It’s easy to forget that when you get tied up in work and other life issues. According to Graham Lowe Human Solutions, the most common HR challenge is giving employees a work/life balance. Although it might not be easy, making time for your significant other will improve your relationship dramatically. These suggestions will give you some ideas on how to make your relationship grow and blossom into a life full of perfect moments together.

Best Friends Forever

Is your lover a BFF? They should be. A strong relationship is based on a solid friendship. If you’ve not thought about it, what makes your relationship with other BFFs different that the one with your lover? The same compassion, respect and gratitude you have for friends should be there for your partner. You should be supportive of each other but not judgmental. They should be someone you can turn to no matter what the situation is that you’re dealing with.

If this relationship does not feel that way, then it’s time to talk about how it feels different than your other BFF relationships. You may feel compelled to talk with other friends about certain things in your life, but you shouldn’t be afraid to talk with your significant other about anything going on.

Life is Not a Textbook

Reassure each other that your lives are not defined by a book, magazine or TV show. These channels may guide you with general “how to’s” with regards to a number of subjects, but you both have to discover how to meaningfully translate those messages into your own lives. Neither of you may ever cook like Julia Child. You may never have the sexual encounters of a romance movie. But these channels can give you inspiration to do your best in certain areas.

Give each other credit for what you try and learn from, but may never attempt again. Experiment with each other whether it’s in the kitchen or in bed. You will write your own “book” of the way things work for you and it will be more relevant to your relationship than anything else you read or watch.

Look for the Ruts and Avoid Them

As soon as you start feeling like things are getting routine, introduce some new life into the relationship and avoid the rut ahead. Plan a romantic weekend getaway. Be spontaneous and meet your lover in a motel room in some fancy lingerie. Spend a weekend at home with a stack of movies and a kitchen full of snacks and drinks.

If you periodically inject some spontaneous energy into your relationship, you may never feel a rut coming on. Vary the activities so the spontaneity doesn’t become a rut. You’ll soon anticipate those fun events and be even more grateful when they come around.

Just Listen

Practice listening to each other, suggests Your Tango. Most people find that as soon as another person starts talking, the mind goes into overdrive to find something to say. Resist that urge and allow yourself to listen without responding. When people feel “heard” by another person, a connection of comfort and trust between them is created.

Take turns listening to each other and feed back what you heard the other say in your own words. Let them correct you, then repeat. You’ll each learn to listen to each other more effectively which contributes to better communication and fewer misunderstandings.

Visit the Future Together

Psychology Today says a healthy relationship includes looking toward a future with each other. If your lover is “the one”, then conversations about your future together 10 years from now are good. If you’re not sure about it, then talk about what you see each other doing together a year from now.

As you both create pictures in your minds about what your future looks like together, you’re also building pathways of trust. This is another foundational part of the relationship with your lover; trust that you will be together in the future. Doubts about your future together can keep you from fully enjoying the current moments together.

7 thoughts on “Guest Contribution: Strengthening Your Relationship for Long-Term Happiness

  1. Good advice. My husband is my best friend and we work on communicating with balance and affection so that each feels like we are heard. If love is long-term, it is important to lay a strong foundation so that when there are bumps and bruises (in the road and in life), love can withstand, heal or recover, and last far beyond the conditions or circumstances of life.

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  2. Well of course my husband is my best friend! If we do have a go at each other, we have learned to let go what we have yelled at each other. So, letting it go is super important.

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  3. Great advice..Every relationship has ups and downs, but some factors are more likely than others to create bumps in a relationship. Finances and parenting decisions often create recurring conflicts, for example. One sign of a problem is having repeated versions of the same fight over and over. In such cases, psychologists can help couples improve communication and find healthy ways to move beyond the conflict.

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