Simple ways to strengthen your relationship

By The Citizen

All relationships go through phases; it is always advisable to be READY (psychologically, emotionally, mentally, physically and even spiritually) before taking a step in that direction.

Bear it in mind that there will be good times, semi-good times and bad or challenging times. Even life itself isn't always a bed of roses, i.e. as beautiful as anything could be or get, it'll certainly have its ugly moments.

That stated, when you recognize that your relationship is in a rough spot, don't throw in the towel. Great relationships don't happen by luck, a lot of effort is put into it. However, there are specific skills and actions that strengthen our relationships.

Let's do a quick crash course on - 'Simple Ways To Strengthen Your Relationship'

Make Your Relationship Top Priority.
Allow me go DJ Khaled on you; THIS right here is KEY. Relationships are like living things: it literally eats, breathes etc. Basically, it's either growing or dying. It can only grow and flourish when we invest and nurture them. When relationships are struggling, it's often a sign that they have been neglected. However, this is not a time to conclude that it is over. Fight to make it work, not for formality sake but for the fact that at some point, that relationship sparked butterflies in your tummy; at some point your partner was the one and only person you looked forward to being with every second. Go ahead, make your relationship top priority of your time and most especially, your energy!

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Accept That Disappointment WILL HAPPEN

I usually say this when asked about issues concerning relationships or life in general; don't expect too much from anyone or anything, so that when your level of expectation(s) isn't met, you wouldn't feel too disappointed. In other words, disappointment happens when our expectations don't match reality and it definitely happens in every relationship. People will always have differences in their expectations, we have a tendency to focus on the negative and we then use this 'evidence' to reinforce the belief that our relationships are filled with disappointment. Instead, accept that disappointment happens and choose to focus on the parts that have fulfilled your expectations and even brought unplanned blessings.

Avoid Making Derogatory Comments Or Using Insulting Words

Words are very powerful, hence, choose them carefully. When you put down your partner or your relationship, you are causing serious damage. Choose to break habits that damage the relationship, especially when you feel frustrated and disappointed. Use words that show respect, love, and hope. Plant only the seeds you want to grow.

Focus On The Qualities You Love & Respect in Your Partner.

Remember the moments and reasons why this person became special and important to you and try to let go of how annoying he/she has presently become. Trust and believe that all those things are still true. Take a deep breath, close your eyes and hold those moments in your heart. Cherish it. Allow yourself to feel again the love, pride, and respect that you felt in the beginning. Return to these moments every now and then, to revitalize your commitment and above all, to strengthen your relationship.

Learn To Be Fully Present
There is a difference between being in the room and being present. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Being fully present means that when your partner speaks, you don't assume you already know what he/she thinks. You begin to listen for what you haven't understood yet. You become a curious detective that sincerely wants to learn what is going on. This is a completely different intent than listening to prove that you are right. Another instance of being fully present - We live in the new age where technology has claimed more than half our lives. Try not to get caught up on your laptop or any device when it is obvious your partner wants to talk or probably vent out badly spent day. Take a break off your present activity and hear him/her out.

Express Your Thoughts/Feelings Openly And Avoid Secrets

You have the right to say what you think and feel. A relationship built on false information intended to please your partner will eventually fall apart. Strong relationships are built on trust and respect, which can only happen when both partners are honest with each other. On the other hand, we are often tempted to protect our partners by keeping secrets from them. This positive intention often falls apart as time passes and unexpected consequences come to light. It can be very difficult to know when to share 'secrets.' As much as you can, try to be as open as possible.

Learn To Forgive
We have many misunderstandings about what forgiveness means. Forgiveness does not mean you give permission for someone to maltreat you. It means that you accept that we are all doing the best we can to let go of bad experiences that have one way or the other hurt us. Surely if we knew better, we would do better. When we disappoint and hurt each other, it's not because we want to; blame it on us being humanly imperfect. Forgive that your partner hasn't learned better ways of loving you YET. Forgive that your partner always forgets to add your favourite cereal when doing grocery shopping. Above all, forgiveness means you commit to letting go of the hurt of the past to allow for new possibilities in the future.

I'm no expert, but I'm sure these simple ways would cause a noticeable positive turnaround in your relationship; only if you try. If it was worth the start, it surely would be worth the wait and effort. Make it work! The Guardian