Tips to make your relationship work
Respect – respect your partner and treat them the way you expect and want to be treated yourself. You don’t have to agree on everything and you don’t always have to like each other but if you show some respect you will be in a better place to begin negotiating or communicating so that you can get back to a place where you do like each other again. Respect shows your partner that you may not like them right at this moment but you haven’t given up on the relationship or them and you still love them.
Speak up – this doesn’t mean you have to be assertive or aggressive. You can speak up and explain what your needs are in a calm manner, always keeping in mind tip number 1, respect. Speaking up is really important though, our partners are not mind readers, they need to know when we need something and what it is. Setting secret tests of love that your partner will inevitably fail serve no purpose, they can’t read your mind and they can’t pass a test that they didn’t know they were taking. We all know these tests, “if she loves me she’ll know I need a hug today” or “if he really loves me he will not hassle me today because I am so stressed about money”. Imagine how easy it would be to give your partner what they needed if you knew what they wanted and vice versa.
Make an effort – remember back to the time when you first met and you made an effort. You listened to each other and you talked about things that were important to you. When you went out together you got dressed up and you cared about the impression you made. Obviously, life gets in the way and the stress of work and family can take away from the ability you have to make an effort with each other. However, if you stop making an effort you risk losing your connection, and if you lose your connection you lose intimacy, emotional and sexual. The effort does not have to be the same as it was when you first met but if you just do the little things to maintain your connection with your partner, such as making them a coffee, ironing a shirt for them or writing them a love note, you will find the rewards are significant.
Apologise – if you have upset your partner apologise. If you aren’t sure why or what you did, apologise for the hurt. If your partner apologises accept the apology and don’t hold grudges. You can accept an apology without accepting that the person is in the right and you can give an apology without accepting you are in the wrong. An apology can simply be a genuine expression of regret for the sadness your partner feels. You can always talk through the details later when hurt feelings are calmed.