Guest post by Bonnie Guy. Bonnie is a stay-at-home mom to two wild and imaginative kids, and wife to a hilarious Newfie. She shares stories about her family’s adventures at Unrestrained Laughter. She can also be found spreading joy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and on Pinterest.
The relationship with our significant other can be the best and the worst thing in our lives (sometimes both at the same time!). To help foster healthy, loving, supportive and fulfilling bonds with your partner, consider the following steps.
When someone you care about does something that feels hurtful, you give them the opportunity to work through it and offer them forgiveness. Everyone messes up once in a while. Everyone has a bad day. People in healthy relationships don’t dwell on their partner’s mistakes and let resentment fester in their hearts — they move on. If someone hurts you, and they are truly sorry, offer them forgiveness.
Gratitude is important in all aspects of life, but in relationships, it is essential. Be grateful for everything your partner brings to the table. When our expectations of the ones we love become out of line with what they have to offer, our relationships suffer.
Be grateful for your partner’s different strengths and different preferences. Focus on the strengths and celebrate the wonderful things that your lover has to offer. This life is too short to focus on someone’s shortcomings. Be thankful for the good things.
3) Quality Time
Our time on this earth is limited, so fill your days with the people who bring the most joy and happiness. Take time to get to know your partner deeply — ask questions, support them in their time of need, and build them up when they are down. Show your love and commitment by spending quality time with your partner.
Take an interest in your partner’s hobbies and passions. Although auto-mechanics, technology, or WWII aren’t my interest, these things fascinate my husband, so I take the time to hear what he has to say about them. Check out a band or a sporting event that appeals to a your partner as a gesture of love and support. Show friendship by making an effort to ‘hang out.’
Honesty requires bravery because it takes people way out of their comfort zone. Speak your truth. Own it. Call people out on their shit. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Be honest without being hurtful. If you can tell someone how you feel, from the bottom of your heart, and with complete sincerity you are fostering a solid relationship and a damn good sense of self.
Stand up for yourself. Establish your boundaries, and don’t be afraid to be clear about them. Making yourself small for someone else is not a healthy way to exist. Find a respectful way to express your point of view. Don’t keep that shit bottled up! If you have something important that you need to say to someone you care about, then say it.
I tell people everything. If I am upset with you, I will tell you, we will talk about it, and we will move on. I would rather spend my time loving, than dwelling. Communicate with the people you love because it is important to them and to you that we show support for each other and share things that are meaningful to us.
Putting up a wall and closing yourself off is incredibly isolating and lonely. Tear down those walls and I let people in. Share and allow yourself to be vulnerable. Your relationship will feel so much stronger when you share all of yourself
I came into my marriage with a suitcase full of mental health issues, and my partner stood by me with unconditional love when I was not easy to love. There is no doubt that being loving, supportive, and patient when people are at their lowest, is one of the best ways to show someone they matter. Through thick or thin.
9) Physical closeness.
I don’t just mean sex (although I also mean sex) but I go out of my way to hug people I care about, as often as possible. Human touch is something we all crave. Holding hands, massage, whatever works for you, but maintaining physical contact is a very important part of what keeps relationships strong.
10) Love Yourself
Loving yourself is the most important step — in order to have a healthy relationship, you must first have a healthy sense of self-love. When you become insecure and unsure of yourself, you become anxious about your relationship. Work hard at feeling good about yourself. Develop confidence in your individuality to foster a stronger connection between you and your partner.
Do you struggle with any of these steps? Is there anything else to add?