couple smiling looking at each other in a happy relationship

Our relationships stand out as paramount in importance and high priority. The following are some thoughts about what makes a relationship work and how you can maintain a solid foundation:

  • Be perfectly clear about your own needs, and match those with your partner’s needs from the onset of the relationship. Many people choose a partner because of a feeling, and an attraction, however they don’t tend to ask themselves “What are the important things I value and need to evidence in my relationship to be content with my partner in the long term. It’s not too late to still have that conversation if you are already in a relationship. You are entitled to express your needs and your opinions as long as this courtesy is given to your partner as well.
  • Ensure that your relationship is built on a solid underlying friendship and meets the needs of both people involved. In the main, when you give better you get better. If you are giving but receiving very little, it’s time to address what other issues may be preventing relationship progress. If you put your relationship in a win/lose situation, it will be a lose/lose outcome.
  • Ask yourself: “ Is what I’m doing working or not working? Am I doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome? Find a way that works, recognise when it’s not working, and be honest when it needs fixing by accepting some responsibility. Draw up a plan of action.
  • Falling in love is not the same thing as being in love. Embrace the change and know that relationships require maintenance and an open connection. You don’t fix things by fixing your partner. You don’t necessarily solve problems – you learn how to manage them.
  • Communicate often. Make sure your sentences have verbs. Acknowledge your partner, and talk about the action that is required to rectify and make good. Remember 7 % of communication is verbal. Actions and non-verbal communication speak much louder.

Make relationships work by taking an interest in your partner.

Here are some questions that will endear your partner:

  1. How have you been coping with ……… ? (Shows interest)
  2. What more can I do to help? …………. (Shows willingness)
  3. How do you feel about ………………? (Shows caring)
  4. I think you would like me to……………. Is this correct? (Shows acknowledgement)
  5. I can see you’re exhausted … I’ll take over and you have a rest. (Shows respectful observation)
  6. Can we talk again about the issue you raised last night? ……. I want to be sure that you are OK about it, or do we need to discuss further? (Shows love & consideration)
  7. The weekend is coming up, would you like to ………? (Shows initiative)
  8. The family is coming for dinner, are you happy to plan the menu with me and make a list of things that need doing? (Shows planning & co-operation)
  9. I get that things have been tough lately so I thought that a weekend away with your friends might allow you to have some time out – I’ll look after the kids/house etc. (Shows respect & a wonderful surprise)
  10. If you feel bothered about anything I want you to know that I am here to listen, and to be supportive. (Shows empathy)

The TV series ‘Frasier’ portrayed by Kelsey Grammer, has some valuable insights. This New Year let’s all adopt more of Frasier Crane’s phrase ………“I’M LISTENING” ……… and have a backup maintenance plan of action.

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