Make Your Relationship Work: Five Ways To Stay Connected20 comments
“Relationships are hard work.”
We hear this over and over. But what does it mean besides conjuring fear and dread? Or worse, hopelessness for someone who feels she is not good enough. Relationships with fear involved are VERY hard work. Fear is exhausting, unpredictable and can get in the middle of even the most loving relationships.
Fear has partners withdrawing from each other, getting defensive, talking themselves out of making effort, being down-right mean to each other, and looking for love in all the wrong places.
Why does fear play such a large role in our relationships? Our ego is so afraid of getting hurt, that in its effort to try to protect us, it has us pulling away from relationships, avoiding connection, and constructing some pretty good evidence that this is necessary. So, in effort to protect ourselves, we can ruin a good thing.
Fear is probably the most destructive thing in romantic relationship.
So how do you make your relationship work?
5 Ways To Stay Connected
1. Listen with your heart
Listen more than you speak. Listening helps your partner know you care about them. When they are talking to you, put whatever you are doing down and give them your full attention. Make sure you carve out some times in the week to catch up and connect by talking, holding each other, and expressing appreciation.
If your partner is upset: Rather than hearing the anger or the defensiveness, put aside your fear that he or she is rejecting you and listen for what is absent but implicit in what your partner is saying. Listen for what is important to your partner that is implicit in his or her words. Ask about and acknowledge this and you will see him or her calming down and feeling better.
2. Speak from your heart rather than your mind
Ask for what you want instead of complaining. When you complain, it feels like an accusation. Your partner will respond with defensiveness instead of reassurance. Say what is important to you, rather than complaining about what your partner did wrong.
Let go of “tit for tat” thinking. “Getting even” is overrated. Remember when people hurt you, they are usually feeling unloved. You don’t have to solve this for everyone, but you can give love to your significant other. This will change their response to you. (Right away or eventually.*) Be kind and compassionate before being defensive and competitive. Express love.
* Please do not stay in an abusive situation waiting for the other person to change. Read Ending A Relationship: How do you know when enough is enough?
3. Give the benefit of the doubt
Allow mistakes. Everyone makes them since none of us is perfect. Forgive, especially the small things, right away before they fester. You may be on the other side someday wanting forgiveness and hoping you are worthy enough. Give this gift to the person you love. Stop judging. Accept the imperfections in yourself and others, and each of you will be better than who you were on the account of this acceptance.
4. Appreciate and acknowledge the good things
Showing appreciation gets more mileage than most anything else you can do in a relationship. Let your partner know what you like and he or she will do it more, because being appreciated feels that good. Take every opportunity to tell each other what you like and appreciate about each other. Don’t hesitate.
5. Choose connection
You are only vulnerable in a relationship when you think you are vulnerable. You always have the choice how to respond. Our souls long for connection. When they are not allowed that, we are dreadfully unhappy. Find someone who lifts you up and connect. Touch your partner. It speaks louder than words.
2-14, how we American’s write the Valentine’s date, looks like 2014 with the zero winking.
You and me can make this the Valentine’s YEAR. Wink, wink. You are now in cahoots.
Let love rule in 2014. Make this a year of kindness and compassion…
Jodi Aman / /