Friday, October 18, 2013

6 ways to a happy, healthy relationship

Contrary to what your fave rom-com would have you believe, a happy relationship doesn't just happen. Here are 6 ways to make sure your relationship is on track.

6 ways to a happy, healthy relationship  

Pay attention to your tone when you talk

It may seem like a small thing, but it can have a big effect. People respond well to a soft tone and immediately get hostile or defensive towards a harsh one. Be aware not just what you say to your partner in a daily way, but how you say it. A sweet tone as well as a sweet approach will minimise any clashes between you and make the daily grind less difficult and just more pleasant.

Listen without your walls, guards, and counter arguments at the ready

As important as it is to communicate your own needs, hopes and expectations in your relationship it’s equally crucial to hear your partner too. When couples are disconnected, bickering or outright hostile, the tendency to listen is at a low point. But if that’s when you choose to “lay down your guns”, stop arguing back, and just hear their point of view, it’s a fast track to bringing you closer again, and back to happy, healthy connected communication. Sometimes to truly hear your partner when your negative emotional brain is clouding your listening ability, it’s a good strategy to paraphrase what they are saying to you so it sinks in and you can hear it in your own voice to better absorb it.

Make a conscious effort to smile, and be approachable

If you’re in an argument in your relationship, sit down then, or make an arrangement to sit down together to talk it through sooner rather than later. If there are small squabbles between you, live your life as positively as possible. Scowling through your day only magnifies issues and difficulties and improves nothing. Regardless of how your partner is behaving, if you are nice it will rub off. It’s hard to be mean, unkind or abrasive to someone who is being genuinely caring and kind, even when they are still kind of mad! Fix what you can from your end, be the partner you want to have, and watch the positive effect that has, without a single argument.

Have empathy

Before becoming deeply engaged in arguments and conflict, try to pause for a moment to see the other person's perspective. True partners are always doing the best they can, and if it’s falling short of your needs and expectations, try to see why before criticising. And if there is a legitimate reason to complain, do it in a productive way rather than a fight-provoking one. That means first acknowledging where they are coming from, so they feel understood right off the bat, and then expressing what your need or expectation is despite or above that. For example, "I know you’re tired in the evening after a long day at work and an early start, and I’m tired too, but I could really use a little more help at night with the chores/children etc." Rather than attack for lack of helpfulness, acknowledge why they might not be helping as much and point out why you need an adjustment to your established routine.

Keep the big picture in mind

Choose your battles and remember what’s most important. If you want a harmonious relationship, remember why you chose your partner, and remind yourself that every day you choose to be with them and they choose you too. Let go of some of the smaller issues. Would you divorce over the dishwasher? Not every fight needs to be a five alarm fire. Simmer down if you’re butting heads a lot and remember that being happy together is the most important detail to focus on.

Stay invested in your relationship

Feeling distant or disconnected? Do something fun together, take a class, learn together, grow together. Play together too! Get the passion sizzling again if it has been awhile. How? Take an online course like Passion & Pleausre together. To find out more visit:

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