Successful relationships are built around love and support for one another. Most of us, regardless of the current status of our relationship, can use some reminders of what loving supportive relationships actually look like. Take a moment and evaluate your relationship to see if the following characteristics are shared.
1. A willingness to build intimacy as well as friendship
Intimacy is expressed differently for different people, therefore, it is important to be open in communicating with your partner what you need in the relationship. It is also important to develop an emotional connection by discussing your feelings openly, sharing activities, and creating a positive time together.
Be playful with each other, have fun together, hold hands, sneak a kiss, have good eye contact, and listen without interrupting. All these things help solidify you and you’re partner as a true couple in life.
2. Come from a place of “I”, not “You”, when communicating
Let go of telling each other what they should do and communicate from a place of I or us. Using the word “You” can sound harsh and attacking which can place the other person on the defensive. In a healthy relationship, situations will always arise that need to be addressed. It’s important to approach your partner with a loving frame of mind and try using the phrase “I feel.”
3. Turn “toward” each other instead of away
According to John Gottman, PhD, relationship researchers, turning toward each other builds up emotional savings. These savings will serve as a cushion when conflict arises and can help to maintain a positive sense of the relationship during hard times.
Give your partner the attention you would want in return. Be a good listener, put down the computer or phone, and “check-in”.
4. Allow the other person to be who they are
We all want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged. If we are imposing our thoughts and ideas on others, we are judging what we think is correct and not allowing them to be acknowledged for who they are. If you find yourself judging your partner, you may not feel as close or connected and therefore, they will feel less acknowledged and loved.
This doesn’t mean you should not have boundaries for bad behaviour, however, if you are focusing on your partner’s negative qualities, it may be time to take a look at yourself. Focus on your life path and what your needs are rather than your partner’s.
5. Have appreciation and gratitude for each other
Appreciation and gratitude help to dissolve negative thinking. If you are thinking negatively about your partner, this can lead to distressing thoughts, which often leads to contempt and criticism. Turn negative thinking into appreciation and thankfulness for your partner’s good qualities or shared positive events.
6. Be willing to accept influence from the other
This does not mean you need to agree on everything. There are non-negotiable situations; however, most things can be negotiated with new alternatives and options. Be open to a new perspective and focus on a solution instead of trying to convince the other you are right.
Ask questions to gain an understanding of where they are coming from and accept influence. A little compromise can go a long way!
7. Have fun and be playful together
Those who play together stay together! Have pet names for each other, try new adventures together, go on date night, use humour and laughter, and be silly!