If you’ve ever looked at an old married couple and wondered how they’ve managed to keep their love alive for so long, you’re not alone. And with COVID things have challenged many couples. Though divorce rates have fallen. We’re all looking for ways to make our relationships more meaningful and resilient. While there may not be a secret formula for happy relationships, there are some steps every couple can take to try to enrich theirs.
The first step in building a positive relationship with your spouse is to make sure this is really the person you want to build one with. Mismatched couples trying to force a relationship are likely to be left feeling frustrated. A professional therapist can help you to unlock your feelings and determine if you’re in the right relationship.
If you’re confident you’re with the right person, then the real work can begin. A relationship takes commitment and hard work to succeed. While some people may appear to have it easy, this is likely in outward appearance only. Behind the scenes, there may be struggles and hard work going on to create this outward image. If you’re ready to put in the work, there are some popular ways you can start to build a positive relationship with your spouse.
Learn to listen
Communication is essential in any relationship, but listening is often more important than speaking. Learning to listen without judgement is an essential skill for a successful relationship. There is a temptation to get defensive or to start looking for solutions. Sometimes your partner just wants to know their voice is heard.
Ask for what you want
Just as you need to learn how to listen to your partner, you also need to learn how to be direct when asking for what you want and need. Dropping hints, being passive-aggressive or expecting your partner to just know is unfair. For example, if you want to try something new in the bedroom, you have to be willing to ask. Expecting your partner to intuit this from dropped hits is unfair.
Don’t take your partner for granted
Domestic tasks are often the source of conflict in relationships. When one partner takes on too much of the burden, the other can feel taken for granted. This can lead to feelings of resentment and fuel further conflicts. It’s important to recognise the contribution your partner makes and acknowledge the sacrifices they make. When your partner makes an effort to help, to ease your workload or simply make life more pleasant for you, don’t let this go unacknowledged.
Maintaining boundaries and some independence in a relationship is an excellent way to keep the spark alive. Having strong friendships outside of your relationship is essential and should be encouraged. Try to keep your jealousy in check when your partner seeks support outside of your relationship. Trying to control the relationship and your partner out of fear that you will grow apart will only push them further away.
Try new things together
At the start of your relationship, you were probably very adventurous and tried lots of new things together. As time goes by, it’s common to get comfortable and more set in your ways. Don’t let this happen. Trying new things and creating new memories is one of the best ways to keep your relationship fresh. This can be as simple as visiting places you have never been to before, exploring new hobbies and trying exotic cuisine. Not everything will be a hit, but you’ll always be creating new memories and that is what you’re aiming for.
Make time for yourself
If you don’t love yourself, it’s unfair to place this task on someone else. Make time for yourself in your relationship and learn to love your own company. If you are relying on your partner for round-the-clock entertainment and support then you may find they eventually push back. Learning to spend time on your own and enjoying your own company is an excellent way to learn what you want in a relationship, too. You’ll learn what makes you happy and can take this knowledge into your relationship to help guide your partner.
Through hard work and dedication to your partner, you can make your relationship more positive and rewarding. It won’t always be sunshine and roses, so be prepared to put in the work to make your relationship last.