Decoding the expectations of our romantic relationships can be such a challenge. Studies say that in order to make our relationships better, we have to accept our flaws and really learn to thrive within the paradoxes and complexities that are associated with loving another human being. Researchers like Dr. Esther Perel, Belgian psychotherapist, author, and speaker believes that in our modern Western society, what we’ve come to know as true intimacy needs to be challenged. Her approach is in favor of choosing reconciliation and atonement, instead of despair and anger. Luckily, the key facets associated with cultivating a better relationship are often much more simple than we make them.
Here’s our list of simple things to do in order to create a better relationship with your partner(s):
Say no to bad arguments
A bad argument is one that involves dismissing anything your partner(s) says simply in rebuttal or stubborn behavior. This kind of argument isn’t based on listening or trying to understand how the other person is feeling. Research tells us that it only takes 10 seconds to stop listening and block out things that you don’t agree with. Within that very short amount of time, you will not be able to recognize any other point of view, whether it’s valid or not. It’s also a big power move when we choose to practice tactics of shaming or belittling. Usually, people in these arguments either flee the scene or shut down entirely, so nothing ends up changing. In order to make progress, we have to choose to listen carefully and deeply to the experiences and feelings of our partner(s).
When arguments do arise, there are ways to make disagreements constructive and to come out of them with more understanding of our partner(s) and their points of view. In turn, if we allow ourselves to listen to the other person with rationale, arguments can change the way we approach larger fallouts. During the argument, try to ask yourself if it’s important to be right. While it’s sometimes difficult to be right, it’s more difficult to be right and alone. If you never learn anything and nothing changes from these small tiffs, you’re not evolving together. Naturally, people in partnerships will argue from time to time as this is a part of any intimate relationship. But it’s essential to have a good system of mutual repair. If you’ve had a big disagreement that got blown out of proportion, it’s important to put the ego aside and be able to discuss things in a level-headed manner.
Change the course
In long-term relationships, there are certainly ways to change the routine. Perhaps try to bring up the same conversations you’ve had before with a different mindset. If you’re looking to change the other person’s mind, you have to look to change yourself first. Having important, thought-provoking conversations can be such an incredible way to bond, but you also have to consider the fact that conversations are comprised of intersecting loops and turns. When we engage in arguments, it’s easy to end up making the other person do and say everything we expect them to do and say, even when it’s not the reaction we want. It’s important to take a step back, and take time to listen to the thoughts and feelings of our partner(s) in a way that allows both parties to open up. If you can change up what you’re putting into the conversation and come at it with a different perspective, the results will also change.
Sometimes arguments from the past come back to the surface, which can happen when the healing cycle hasn’t been completed. When we argue about the past with our partner(s), we’re essentially revisiting hurtful moments that haven’t been fully resolved. It doesn’t matter what the betrayal was if the other person is still feeling pain from the behavior. There are so many ways that we can not show up for our partner(s), and usually, we revert back or recoil when someone tries to tell us that we’ve caused pain. Instead of trying to tell the other person what they feel and who they are, it’s important to listen with intention. It’s also paramount that both partners can take responsibility for their own actions. If you’re in the wrong, acknowledge the fact that you’ve caused an emotional response within your partner(s) that needs to be discussed further. Once you’ve apologized and felt remorse, it’s important for the other person to be able to receive that in a genuine way. If our partner(s) can’t receive it, the burden is then passed on to them. It’s such a balance of giving and receiving, and it’s paramount for both parties to actively participate with a sense of awareness.
Strengthen the bond
Often our personal struggles can make us stronger, and this is certainly true in relationships. Ruptures have the potential to break us beyond repair, but some of them simply alert us in a way that helps us to grow our bonds with our partner(s). When a bond feels cracked or broken, it’s a force within that’s unexplainable. It can, however, push us to do something different on a deeply fundamental level. This break or rupture can drive us to engage with a more intimate level of intention with each other, which can help the relationship to become stronger and safer than ever before if we’re willing to work at it. Relationships are always going through natural cycles-harmony, disharmony, delusions, reality, disconnection and reconnection. It’s important to recognize and honor these bonds exactly where they are in the cycle, at various moments within the partnership.
Originally published at https://getmaude.com.