Relationships. We’re all in them. Whether it be with a spouse/partner, a friend, a parent, a child, a sibling, or a work colleague, happy and harmonious relationships are integral to our health. Did you know that the quality of our closest relationships is one of the biggest influencers of how long we’ll live? Amazing huh?
If you know me, you know that I love talking about relationships and that I see couples as part of my work. I am passionate about seeing my clients thrive and so it makes sense that the topic of relationships is a regular source of discussion. I see very common themes with couples and unfortunately it is usually easy to see why their relationships have broken down. One of the ‘breakdowns’ that occurs is that we stop tuning into the good and are pretty much solely focussed on who our partners aren’t and what they don’t do.
I want you to ask yourself “how often am I noticing the great things that my partner is doing?” and “how often am I truly valuing who they are as a person and the strengths that they possess?”. If you answered often or always, it is likely that you have a strong relationship. John Gottman, the grand-daddy of relationship research, has consistently shown that for every 20 interactions, 19 of those are positive in thriving couples. What does this look like in practice? Let’s explore 3 options here now.
Thank your partner for something that they have done, no matter how small. Gratitude goes a long way! And if you add “I really appreciate it” on the end and genuinely mean it this is even better. It is so easy to take the people in our life for granted. You can show gratitude face to face, in a text message or even in a written note. I have sometimes written “I love you” on a post it note and stuck it inside my kids’ lunchboxes. They love it. Aim to show appreciation every day.
Ask yourself: What strengths and traits does your partner possess? Are they caring, organised, ambitious, compassionate, courageous, etc? It is too easy to focus on the negatives e.g. messiness, talks too much or not enough, is tight with money, laziness, and the list goes on. If we remind ourselves of our loved one’s strengths and keep them front and centre of our mind, it will be easier to overlook the not so glamourous traits. Because remember, you ain’t perfect either! How often do you take two steps back and remember what drew you to this person in the first place? Imagine if you took one minute out of your day every day and reviewed what you love about your partner and how they complement you. Try it now.
And last but not least, listen and be present. And I mean really listen. Put your phone down, stop watching TV and take a pause from whatever you are doing and listen. It is the best gift you can give someone. Look your partner in the eyes. Face them. Hear what they are saying and reflect back what you have heard e.g. “that sounds really tough”, “you seem stressed, what can I do to help you?”, or “I’m so glad that you had an amazing time”. When you take the time to be present it will make it easier to notice the great. And there is great – when we choose to see it.
Naeidra sees individuals and couples and loves helping people achieve their life goals. She can be found jiving around the My Chiropractic clinic on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.