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Relationship Advice: creating and maintaining a healthy relationship

There are a number of factors which contribute to a healthy relationship and that first and most important one is you. The importance of knowing who you are and having a healthy self esteem cannot be emphasised enough when it comes to building and maintaining a great relationship. Your partner should not “complete” you, you should be a complete and whole person alone. Regardless of whether you are single or partnered at this point in time, I urge you to take time to build the most important relationship of your life, the one you have with yourself. Get to know you, understand what you want in life, what your likes and dislikes are, your goals, your dreams. If you struggle with self-esteem issues, do some self development either through the guidance of books or with the assistance of a counsellor. Investing time in yourself is totally worthwhile and will make for a happier life and a happier relationship with your partner.
relationship advice

You CANNOT control anyone else in life but you

Neither should you want to. Do not try to mould your partner into the “perfect” person, nobody is perfect. We are all human, in varying stages of development, with our own strengths and weaknesses. Look for his/her strengths and forgive the weaknesses. There is nothing more self affirming than being accepted for who you are, faults and all. This does not mean we should accept bad behaviour from our partners, if we know and respect ourselves fully, this is something we would not do. If our partner treats us or speaks to us in a way we do not like, then we should be able to communicate this effectively and this brings us to point number three.

Spend time learning to communicate effectively

Learn to listen to your partner without interrupting, then when he/she has finished you can respond. When discussing emotional or heated issues, stay calm and make “I” statements to explain what you feel and what you would like to be done differently. For example “I feel hurt when you come home and don’t acknowledge me, I would like you to give me a kiss and cuddle when you get home in future. Once again, source some books on effective communication or see a counsellor for assistance in improving your communication skills.

Don’t nag

It’s ineffective, causes a divide between the two of you and does not produce the desired effect. So, what else can you do? Firstly, decide if what you are “nagging” about is really important or if it’s just you wanting to have things your way. Insisting your partner have a haircut, go to the doctors or mow the lawn are not important issues, they are NOT your decisions to make. He is, hopefully, a fully functioning adult, who does not need another mother, but rather a supportive partner who lets him makes his own decisions, when and how he chooses. ¬†However if it is the former, and the issue is causing problems in the relationship, then a more effective way of getting your partner to respond how you desire is to ask for what you want, in an clear and calm way and then if he forgets or ignores you then do not ask again but decide on a consequence that fits. For example, you have asked your partner to put his clothes in the basket and he leaves them on the floor. This irritates you and makes you feel unappreciated, like his slave not his partner. Rather than getting angry with him ignore them. Do not pick them up, do not wash them. He will soon learn to put them in the wash basket when he no longer has clean clothes. “No” you say, “I could not live with them all over the floor” Well learn to live with it for a short time or learn to not mind picking up after him, because nagging doesn’t work and its not worth it.

Respect each other

Show respect in the way you speak to, act towards and talk about one another. Do not insult or talk negatively about your partner when interacting together or when talking to anyone else. If there are problems in your relationship please deal with them together or with the help of a professional. Do NOT discuss them with your friends or on a public forum like Facebook. This shows no respect for your partner or your relationship.

Do not expect perfection

This is unattainable and would actually be rather boring. Love each other for who you are, do not try to change each other unless it is to improve communication skills or improve destructive behaviours. Be supportive of helping each other achieve goals and dreams, be kind to each other and always remember to treat your partner the way you would like to be treated. Your are a team but you are also individuals, respect that.

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