Whether your relationship is already a wonderland of bliss or you’ve been struggling through the holidays, there are always things you can do to strengthen your relationship. And what better time to start than the New Year? So if you’re looking to improve your relationship in 2019 check out our list of the Do’s and Don’ts to relationship improvement.
Do build each other up.
Even if it’s just saying how great they cleaned the kitchen. Or how sweet it was when they brought you your favorite snack. Congratulate your partner on their successes big and small. They will not only be happier and feel better about themselves, but they will also want to be around you more because you’ll make them feel good. It’s said that the magic ratio for a happy relationship is five positive comments for every negative comment. So you might as well be banking all the positive encouragement you can. Not to so you can be a jerk but because conflict is inevitable.
Don’t romanticize your relationship.
It’s okay if your relationship isn’t perfect. No nobody’s is. If you spend your time imagining that your relationship is the way you want it to be you’ll be missing what’s actually great about it. What’s worst is these fantasies aren’t about you and your partner because you haven’t involved them in the discussion. Which means that these fantasies are just about your needs and won’t actually strengthen your relationship.
Do make listening a priority.
Even if you feel like you need to be listened to more. Often we get so caught up waiting for our turn to be heard we don’t hear the other person at all. Listening to your partner will show love, help you discover your partner’s perspective, and will show your partner how much they mean to you. So if you really want to see your relationship improve trying listening more.
Don’t give more than you receive in a relationship.
Things shouldn’t be tit for tat but don’t think that giving all of yourself and getting very little in return is a good thing. You aren’t being the best partner. You’re allowing yourself to be hurt. And that won’t strengthen your relationship.
Do arrange your schedules around each others’.
This is an easy one that will make all the difference. Sync your calendars or talk a lot more about what you’re doing. Do whatever you have to in order to make your schedules work with each others’. Don’t just squeeze in seeing each other when you both find yourselves free. Set aside a day for the two of you that works with your schedules. Go out on a date or just spend it hanging out together. If you don’t make time for each other your how will your relationship improve?
Don’t confuse controlling behavior with love.
It might seem like your partner is honestly concerned. Or that it’s okay to keep reminding your partner of the things they’ve done to hurt you. But these are all forms of manipulation that aren’t displays of love. They won’t make your relationship better. They won’t make either of you happier.
Do learn to argue well.
That may sound contradictory. But learning healthy arguing techniques is one of the best ways you can strengthen your relationship. To start, it’s essential to choose the right time and place. When you begin the conversation it’s important not to start harsh, soften your start-up. Remember to take responsibility for your part—complain without blaming and try using I-statements. Ask for a specific change and be willing to change as well. Most disputes aren’t single sided. So it’s important to find a compromise and to address the emotional issues that were brought up by each of you in this fight.
Don’t fall victim to The Four Horsemen of The Apocalypse.
It might sound like the title of a cheesy horror film, but it’s actually scientifically proven to be a predictor of relationship death. So make sure you avoid contempt for your partner or just not dealing with your conflict by shaming your partner instead. Don’t allow criticism to become your modem of communication. Or for defensiveness to overtake you when conflict arises. It won’t allow for resolutions to be found. The most important thing is to avoid stone-walling, or refusing to talk with your partner. It’s okay to ask to discuss a problem at a later time—it’s not okay to walk away without any form of recognition or plans to deal with the conflict.