Doing Life Together

couple-2432007_1920We all want healthy and meaningful relationships in our lives. Having a great relationship not only makes you feel better emotionally, but it also affects your health. So what does research on close relationships tell us when it comes to being a power couple? Here are a few things we know:

  1. Do not take the person for granted. When you are with someone day-to-day, it is easy to let the relationship slip and not do the things you did when you first met. For example, you may stop complimenting each other or noticing the nice things your partner does for you because they have become habit. Familiarity can bring complacency. And complacency can bring a steady erosion of a once vibrant relationship. Sometimes a short absence away from each other helps remind us of how much we appreciate the other person. For example, when my husband leaves on a long business trip,  I realize what my life would be like without him. This brings to mind a real appreciation for what we have. This appreciation reminds me to tell him how much he means to me. So attend to your relationship on a regular basis with the intent of communicating that appreciation on a regular basis.
  2. Be respectful of boundaries. Anytime you take an action, ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable sharing this with my partner, doing this in his or her presence, or including my partner in this activity? If the answer is, NO, then you probably should rethink your actions. You might be creating a trust problem. Doing things in secret erodes trust. Lack of appropriate boundaries  in small things builds to bigger problems. If you feel like you need to hide something, that is a warning sign that a boundary may be violated. So keep your boundaries and consider your partner in all you do.
  3. Commit to the long haul. If you continuously question your relationship and think you have an out if things get too difficult, you are setting the relationship up to fail. You boost a relationship by committing to relationship challenges and by not giving up with things get tough. When you love someone, you fight for them and work on problems rather than think about escaping. In today’s disposable culture, commit to going the long haul and keep your covenant if you are married. Having an escape route changes the way you approach a relationship. But if you think, I need to keep this commitment, your actions will be different.
  4. Stop complaining about your partner. Complaints begin to turn a relationship negative. When the number of complaints outweigh the positives, the more negative the relationship will feel. And once the relationship feels more negative than positive, you are in trouble. The antidote is to  daily focus on the positives of the other person so that when challenges come, you have a bank of positives from which to draw. When couples focus on complaints, they begin to look for somewhere who will accept them for who they are outside of the relationship.  This is what often leads to affairs. So address issues when they arise but don’t allow complaints to lead you to an overall negative feeling about your partner.
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