We all want a happy relationship.
We know it takes time and effort, but that knowledge doesn’t always translate into the relationship we want. Do you look around at other couples and wonder how they’re so happy all the time?
Of course, what we see in public and on Facebook isn’t the whole picture by a long shot, but it can shake our confidence about our own relationship. The truth is, while a great relationship takes work, part of that work is relaxing and letting go of the little things that could bother you.
As you read through the following 10 tips, you’ll see that sometime we create problems, and the solution is to look at your partner with love and acceptance.
It’s a choice: do you want perfection or do you want to be happy?
And when you let go of some things, you’ll find that you might have the perfect relationship. You just had to see it!
Here’s 10 ways you can make your relationship great, including some ways that you can change your perception for a big impact!
1. See your partner for who they are.
We’re taught some gender expectations as we grow up, and then we get bombarded with ideas of what our romantic partner should be, and what they should do for us.
It’s hard not to look at your partner and see how they don’t measure up to social media posts and articles about the perfect partner.
Consider why you fell in love with your partner, and what they actually bring to the relationship, instead of wishing they could be like so-and-so’s husband, according to her Facebook posts.
If you have anger, bitterness, resentment, and other negative feelings about something, think about why you expect your partner to fulfill the need you’re upset about.
Is it a realistic expectation, based on who your partner is?
You’ll make your life so much easier, and your relationship so much better, if you set relationship expectations based on who your partner truly is, not who you think they should be, or who others expect them to be.
This doesn’t mean to lower your standards or “settle” but simply to see the value your partner brings, and the good things they offer you.
2. Don’t bottle things up.
I’m including this tip because...well, I’m an expert at bottling things up and then growing resentful.
It starts with something small that offends me or hurts my feelings.
I’m not the kind of person who will speak up immediately. Instead I’ll step back, trying to decide if I should feel the way I do.
And 99 times out of 100, I am upset. I realize I should have said something. At that point, I’ll expect my partner to realize their mistake. But it hardly ever works that way. So I mentally chew on it, and basically let it fester until a little thing is a huge issue.
Often, when you’re carrying around one hurt, other things get added in. The list grows. That makes it harder to start a conversation because it could become an attack with this long list of complaints.
See why it causes way more trouble than it should?
Unaddressed problems cause resentment, and that kills relationships.
If something has upset you and you can’t let go of it, you’re not doing yourself or your partner any favors by keeping it to yourself.
If you want a happy relationship, go to your partner to discuss things when they bother you, and don’t assume your partner’s intent. They probably didn’t mean to hurt you. It’s likely they have no idea that something is bothering you.
If something really bothers you, talk about it.
3. Let go of the little stuff.
Yes, you should bring important issues up to your partner, but it’s also good to be loving, accepting, and not overly critical.
Imagine if you get irritated five times a day and talked to them about it. Nobody’s perfect. You mess up too, and do little things that could annoy others.
Take 32 year old Lindsey.
Her husband always leaves a big mess on the stove when he cooks. For some people, that would be a big problem, and they would say something. However, Lindsey loves it when her husband cooks, and she’s okay with cleaning up.
Your partner might load the dishwasher differently, leave their shoes in the “wrong” place, or forget to put their towel in the wash.
So you have to decide if it’s a little thing that you can let go... or if it’ll sit there and cause anger and distance.
If this little thing will cause problems, bring it up.
If it’s something that you can overlook, forget about it.
Ask yourself: is your partner loving and there for you when you need them? That’s what really matters.
4. Be the kind of person you want to be with.
You might have a few friends who honestly believe they deserve an awesome partner who showers them with attention, listens all the time, and puts in way more effort.
Yes, we all deserve a special someone... but we should be willing to give that too!
It surprises me that so many people expect much more than they’re willing to put into a relationship.
Here’s a challenge for you: pull out your relationship dream list.
Come on, you probably have a list somewhere of all the qualities you want in your partner.
If you’re in a relationship, you might have a list like this saved, or remember what you had on it.
Or you might be in a relationship, and still have a mental list of what you wish your partner were doing.
Turn it around.
Do you do all of the things you want from your partner?
I’m sure you desire some qualities because you know you lack in them, or it’s a quality of the opposite sex.
But the idea is:
Do you offer the commitment, effort, flexibility, excitement, passion, ambition, and other things that you want from someone?
If you want your partner to be health conscious, then be health conscious and active.
Like attracts like! Try this tip out for attracting a partner and improving your current relationship.
5. Show acts of kindness, especially small ones!
If someone comes to our home, we show them courtesy and even special treatment. We offer this to strangers who call on the phone or people who help us as a part of their job.
Yet we don’t always use good manners and courtesy with the people we live with.
Imagine how your relationship would evolve if you showed loving kindness, acts of kindness both big and small, and common courtesy. What would your partner think tonight if you offered them a drink?
You can turn a relationship around with small acts of kindness. Take their car and fill it with gas or wash it.
Do the dishes for them.
Leave them a love note.
Bring them a snack.
Open the door and say, “After you”.
No matter what their “love language” is, they’ll be touched by an act of kindness.
6. Never go to bed angry.
This saying has been around for ages, so we can trust that it truly helps any relationship.
Bedtime isn’t the time to bring up a big issue, but going to bed while angry causes big problems in a relationship.
You don’t actually go to sleep, but rather both people often lay awake, getting angrier or more hurt.
For a happier relationship, consider these steps:
Agree to talk it over the next day so you’re not going to bed giving each other the silent treatment.
Affirm your love for your partner, even if you’re still in disagreement.
Set up a step you can both take to start working on the problem, and then let it go for the night.
There are times in every relationship when you need to have it out. There’s a big issue and it needs resolved.
If you’re so bothered by something that you’re fuming inside or very hurt, remember Tip #2 and bring it up.
But consider timing, and try to talk calmly to your partner if it’s late in the day so you’re both aware of what’s going on, and you can work on it later.
7. Exercise Together.
Many issues in relationships can be solved when the couple does things together and has fun.
In fact, some issues will go away if a couple makes a commitment to getting closer.
One way to do that is to exercise together. You’ll be healthier and more satisfied with the relationship.
Couples report feeling sexier and more in love when they have some sort of physical activity together.
8. Find something you both enjoy doing and do it together regularly.
Exercising is awesome, and happy couples find many other ways to spend time together.
It’s surprising and sad how many couples live side by side lives. They share a home and a bed, but they have different hobbies and interests.
Most people like dinner and a movie...what about shooting pool or darts? You might have other activities you did while dating like hiking or road trips.
Some couples sign up for classes or start a new hobby together.
If you’re stumped, have each person make a list of everything they enjoy doing, plus things they want to try.
Compare lists and see if there’s something that overlaps, or the lists might inspire a new yet similar idea.
Sharing something is such a game changer, especially if you’ve grown part, feel like you’re in a rut, or feel that personally your growth as stagnated.
If you don’t feel that your relationship is a happy one, then perhaps you’re not sharing experiences together that would bring you closer, give you things to talk about, and create memories.
9. Explore new things, places, and ideas together regularly.
Trevor and Cindy are one of those couples that seem super close and connected. They travel both around their state and the country, and even internationally every few years. They’re involved in the community and even have a small side business that they run together.
Some couples have things like this, but they’re so busy that they don’t seem close. The difference with Trevor and Cindy is they’re always discussing things and sharing ideas.
You can nurture a relationship like this by sharing audiobooks, visiting new places, discussing current affairs, and sharing new information and ideas.
Find things you’re excited about to discuss, like business, crafts, and hobbies. Attend seminars about personal growth, finance, relationships, and abundance, and then discuss them.
You might have a few interests that don’t overlap, but you can still share and learn about each other.
10. Learn how to talk about sex and make your sex life great.
Sex is a funny topic.
Some people shy away from talking about it, but it’s at the core of a romantic relationship.
It’s not about keeping up with anyone else, but making sure that you and your partner are happy.
People have different needs, so communication is important.
If someone isn’t satisfied, it’s better to talk about what you can change instead of having one person be upset in silence.
Working on the other tips will benefit your sex life too. When people are closer and have more things in common, they connect better sexually as well.
A few ideas:
- Send each other articles
- Get flirty over texts
- Plan date nights
- Cultivate closeness and communication—this is a big turn on for women
- Talk about turn ons and turn offs, and what each person wants to try
- Explore together
- Make a point of learning about sex together—you have the entire internet and hundreds of books to help!
Finally, think of ways to make your partner feel desired and sexy, and watch what it does for your sex life!
Having a happy relationship isn’t impossible or all that hard. It takes a commitment and willingness to communicate and learn.
Don’t think that you either have a happy relationship or you don’t. It’s a journey and process.
No matter where your relationship is at, implementing these tips will produce some favorable results.
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Opening image by Katie E