08 Jun How to Have A Happy Relationship
By Jasmine Lu
Being in a relationship is one of the most rewarding and difficult things you will ever invest in. One of the main things that can help a relationship be successful is both parties being willing to put in the effort. If one partner is investing more than the other partner, then the one investing less will likely get hurt. It’s important to build a strong foundation and then climb the ladder of investment together. Although every partnership is unique, here are three tips that can help to build a strong foundation so that you can feel confident and fulfilled in your relationship.
Communication is one of the most important things to help your relationship flourish. But the question is, how? How are you supposed to have a productive conversation about things that are more crucial or have higher stakes? One of the biggest keys to effective communication is consistency. Find a time every week where you can hold a conversation to evaluate where you are on a personal level as well as within the relationship. Having something structured can be beneficial so that each partner will know what to expect. The following is an example structure that you can use for companionship inventory:
1. Partner 1 reflects on what they personally did well that week. They then share one personal goal for the week. Partner 2 will then ask what they can do to help Partner 1 reach their personal goal.
2. Partner 2 reflects on what they personally did well that week. Then they share one personal goal for the week. Partner 1 will then ask what they can do to help Partner 2 reach their personal goal.
3. Partner 1 and Partner 2 reflect on what went well in their relationship throughout the past week. Partner 1 and Partner 2 decide on a couple’s goal that they want to reach together for the week.
4. Partner 1 reflects on the things that they love and appreciate about Partner 2 throughout the past week. Then Partner 1 gives Partner 2 one thing that they can work on during the week.
5. Partner 2 reflects on the things they love and appreciate about Partner 1 throughout the past week. Then Partner 2 gives Partner 1 one thing that they can work on during the week.
The more that you do this and set apart time for communication with your partner, you can help resolve and discuss things before they blow up into something bigger. If you find that something is bothering you throughout the week, you can make a note to talk about it during your companionship inventory. Of course, some things need to be talked about more immediately, but having a set time every week can help you prioritize and choose your battles.
An important thing that people tend to gloss over on when they are experiencing an unexpected life transition is acknowledging their own feelings. The worst thing you can do when this happens is to repress your feelings surrounding the unexpected life transition. The consequences of repressing your feelings is that oftentimes repressed emotions can come back up for us at some point in our lives. A way of acknowledging your feelings is to find acceptance in the fact that you may never understand or know why this unexpected life transition happened. You also may need to remind yourself that what happened is not your fault and you are not to blame for what happened.
5 Love Languages
As cliche as this is, the 5 love languages can really be beneficial in learning how to love your partner. Your love language is what fills your cup and helps you feel loved within a relationship, whether romantic or otherwise. The love languages not only tell you how to show love to your partner, but also how to comfort them and what things would hurt them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if your partner really loves you, they should know how to show love or comfort you, but no matter how well you know someone, it can be hard to know exactly what will fill their cup without communication. If you don’t know your love language, you can find a free quiz here. This is a great thing to do together to help each other gain understanding to how you receive and understand love. Usually, people have a primary love language, but can have several other secondary love languages. The five love languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation. For example, saying “I love you” to show them love.
2. Physical Touch. For example, giving someone a hug or a kiss to show them love.
3. Quality Time. Spending time together to show them love.
4. Acts of Service. Doing something or serving them to show them love.
5. Gift Giving. Giving someone flowers or a gift to show them love.
Even after taking the quiz, it’s important to discuss what that love language means to you. For example, even if both partners have Quality Time as a love language, to one partner it may be undivided attention and conversation and to the other partner they can just be sitting by each other doing their own thing. So, it’s crucial to know what the language actually looks like to your partner. Think of it as learning a foreign language. If your partner’s language is Words of Affirmation, but you are not used to verbalizing your feelings, it’s going to feel weird and uncomfortable at first. You may even need to hear tips and tricks from your partner. But overtime, as you continue to work on it and learn then it will start to feel more natural. So, find out what your partner needs to fill their cup and help them to feel valued and special.
Sometimes the last thing someone may feel when experiencing an unexpected life transition is gratitude. This may not apply to every single unexpected life transition, but it can apply for some. For example, a relationship ending may lead you to a new one where you can be a more authentic version of yourself. Another example can be loss of employment at a job may lead you to your dream job. Life can work in mysterious ways and these unexpected life transitions may lead you to somewhere far greater than before.
Acknowledging the Good
There is this quote that I love that has really guided my perspective in life and towards a partner. “What you look for, you’ll find.” When you are looking for the negative things about your partner, you will find them because your partner is not perfect and has flaws just like you. But the opposite is also true, when you look for the positive things about your partner, you will find them because there is so much good and a reason why you fell in love with them. When your partner does something that means a lot to you or makes you feel special or loved, make sure that you acknowledge it. You can do this by simply saying “Thanks, that means a lot to me!” or “That made me feel really special!” and that way your partner knows things make you happy and can learn what makes you tick.
If you haven’t noticed, communication and consistency are the keys to building a strong foundation in your relationship. Always be curious and keep learning about your partner so that you can grow and develop together within your relationship. As long as you are both willing to put in the work and invest in each other and your relationship, anything is possible. If you feel as though you need help learning some effective communication skills, feel free to reach out to one of our therapists, they are happy to help.