I know about love just as much as the next person. In fact, I probably know even less. However, seeing as it is Valentine’s Day and I am in the business of giving advice I thought I would share five rules for relationships that I have developed from what little I’ve learned over the years.
- Never stop showing kindness. It’s a way of giving your partner affection and showing that you appreciate them. Even though your feelings may be obvious, it’s still important to remind your partner that those feelings haven’t changed.
- Understand that people communicate in different ways. Our style of communication isn’t only about our word choice or turn of phrase. Our body language and our actions also demonstrate how we feel. We need a combination of these techniques to communicate what we’re really thinking and the methods we use influence how we interpret the way other people communicate, which can lead to misunderstandings. It’s important to acknowledge what’s really being said instead of focusing on how your partner is saying it.
- Separate the conflict from the relationship. We avoid conflict because we fear it will result in ultimatums: the relationship is over, I’ll never see him again, etc. In fact, being in disagreement with your partner is a sign that you are two separate people, not a sign that your relationship is about to dissolve. Conflict is natural, healthy, and (unfortunately) unavoidable. Arguing with your partner may be uncomfortable, but it’s evidence that you care enough about each other to want to work things out.
- But if you do have to fight, fight fair. No name calling. Leave the past in the past. Emotional triggers? Out-of-bounds. Similarly out-of-bounds: your partner’s family, their views on politics, religion, or past relationships. Pay attention to your emotions and focus on exactly what it is you’re fighting about. And there’s no making accusations without having evidence to back them up.
- It has to be about you, sometimes. Too often I have seen people lose themselves in a relationship, constantly giving and giving and never receiving in return. Real love is about wanting what’s best for your partner, so your partner needs to understand and respect the decisions you make in order to be your best self. If you practice self-care and cultivate your own independent relationships and interests, you pave the way for a relationship that’s more varied, exciting and healthier for the both of you. Someone who doesn’t want you to do your own thing simply isn’t worthy of you.
In this day and age we place so many demands ourselves that sometimes even going about our day-to-day lives is exhausting. As a person who likes to keep busy, I find myself struggling to stay balanced. You can follow my journey here, or click here or here to find more ways to streamline your life to keep it simple.
What are some of the ways that you stay balanced? Give us your advice below, or email your strategies to firstname.lastname@example.org.