Want to know how to keep your relationship growing? Here are some tips you both will love.
The truth is every relationship is continually either growing together or growing apart. Because it's a relationship, it never stands still. If you're not growing closer to your mate right now, you’re growing apart. Little by little. Relationships – Relationships between people – never standstill.
Good relationships don’t just happen naturally. No, it takes skill. It takes effort. It takes knowledge. It takes wisdom. Relationships are what you make them. If you put effort into them and you learn the right skills. Following are 4 skills that it takes to create a good and long-lasting relationship. These are simple, but they are not always easy!
1. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR MATE
To pay attention to someone means that you care about them – that you love them. For example, when you pay attention to your husband/wife, you are saying, "You matter to me. You are worth listening to. I care about you." Paying attention takes your time, and time is your life. You will never get it back, so your attention is the most valuable thing that you can give someone.
How much attention did you give to your spouse when you first fell in love? If you hadn’t begun to pay attention to each other, would you have even fallen in love at all? Paying attention is the foundation of love. Do you remember how much attention you gave to your mate at the beginning of your relationship? You bought flowers, you wrote notes, you made phone calls, you sent texts. You talked for hours. You spent a lot of time together. In many, many ways, during dating and engagement, you said, "You have my undivided attention." In fact, you thought about them all the time when you weren't with them.
- What are some of the sweetest or most meaningful things your mate did for you when you first became a couple? What are some of the things you did for them?
- Have you stopped doing those things? Why or why not?
- Do you agree with the statement, “When attention wears off, so does attraction?” Why or Why not?
Many career individuals, male and female, by nature are goal-oriented. Therefore, when one has a goal to find a partner or spouse, they are focused and motivated by that goal. However, once that goal has been attained, the focus often shifts to building a career and/or family and providing the desired lifestyle. This is why you will often hear a disgruntled spouse say, "I just don't feel like a priority any longer."
Giving your spouse your undivided attention is the loving thing to do. And one of the best ways to provide them with your attention is to really listen to what they have to say. Be empathetic and validate their feelings, and your relationship will continue to grow deeper and richer.
- When was the last time that you truly listened to your partner?
- Did you show empathy for their feelings?
- Did you validate (value) them, even if you didn’t agree with or completely understand them?
2. BE FLEXIBLE AND ADJUST FOR EACH OTHER
Over time, we will have many opportunities to adjust our lives to meet the needs of our partners. Children are born. Children grow up. Jobs change. Illness happens – briefly or for an extended time, and adjustments must be made. Life is not perfect, and we are not perfect. In an imperfect world, we imperfect people have to learn to grow and adjust to each other and our circumstances.
What does adjusting to your mate involve? What does love in action look like?
- It means that we think about what they need. But, unfortunately, too often, as the years pass, couples begin to think less about what their spouse needs and more about what they want and need. In other words, we have a natural tendency to be selfish!
- It means that we put their needs above our own. Adjusting for one another is often in the small things. Should the toilet paper hang over or under? Arriving later or leaving earlier. What we watch on TV. Which movie – which restaurant? Listening when they need you to listen and not when it’s convenient for you.
- Can you think of some examples in which you or your partner have adjusted to meet the needs or desires of the other?
- What would it take to adjust your life for your partner?
3. SHOW AFFECTION
According to a dictionary definition, affection is “a gentle feeling of fondness or liking.” So, while it is true that we don't always like what our spouse does or says, and therefore we sometimes feel that we don't "like" them, we should continually cultivate that "gentle feeling of fondness or liking" for them.
Affection is primarily expressed through physical touch (non-sexual) and through words.
Get your partner involved in discussing this one with you. Which forms of affection do you enjoy the most?
Kissing on the lips.
Kissing on the face.
Head on shoulder
4. BE AFFIRMING AND VALIDATING
One of the reasons that you fell in love with your spouse was because they affirmed you. Every one of us needs affirmation. It is how we are made. No one else's affirmation means more than that of your life partner. This is so important because we live in a world full of critics and detractors.
Affirmation is verbal affection and encouragement.
Every day, look for ways to affirm your spouse’s value. Think of what you appreciate and admire about them and tell them. Then, you can affirm their strengths as well.
Get with your partner and take turns telling each other which 3 of these verbal affirmations mean the most to you. Then, feel free to affirm each other in those ways!
These are just a few of the ways that you can continue to develop a deeper connection with your mate. If you find that you are drifting apart and can’t find your way back to each other, let us help. For personalized relationship help, Love Recon and Recon Coaching are excellent resources. Don’t wait to reach out!