Monday, April 29, 2013

relationship tips

at, a married couple blogs their daily letters to each other, and more. they have plenty of tips about how they've made their marriage last, and while not all of their tips fit for me or my relationship, a few of them really inspired me. the concepts that really struck me were these:

communicate weekly
make time to be together and talk. share stories of the people you know, the things you've done individually throughout the day or week. and each week, at the start of the week, ask each other these questions:
  • how did you feel loved this past week?
  • what does your upcoming week look like?
  • how would you feel most loved & encouraged in the days ahead?

celebrate & affirm in writing
write notes to each other, regularly - once a week at least - that are filled with verbal affirmations and encouragement {and maybe even a bit of wishful thinking for those of us far from our loves}. celebrate each other, in these notes and in your actions, and recognize events and accomplishments big and small. routinely remind your partner - and yourself! - of what you appreciate about them and your relationship. 

address issues
address disappointments and hurt - don't harbor them. closely held hurts can fester and become much bigger issues than they ever needed to be. but be thoughtful in how you express it, because a conversation - one framed in terms of why you hurt or what you need - is far more productive than accusation and argument. 

play together
remember that your partner probably loves the idea of having you as their sidekick when it comes to doing the things they love to do. encourage this by finding the things they love to do that you can enjoy as well, and join in as often as you can. also, add some fresh joy by trying new things together.

know yourself
know and acknowledge your baggage - personal and familial - so that you can tackle it together. know your strengths, so you can support each other. knowing why something upsets your partner can be immeasurably helpful in not taking it personally, so that you can move forward from it together instead of letting it hold you back.

acknowledge the individual
this is two-fold. first, acknowledge the constant evolution of an individual, and spend time learning each other regularly. ask creative questions, and answer questions asked of you as fully as you can manage. ask a few at a time on a walk, or ask a whole slew on a long car trip, whichever way you prefer. but ask them, and listen well to the answers. second, realize that you can't meet all the needs of your partner, just as they can't meet all of your needs. this is okay. this is why we have family, and especially why we have friends. encourage and enjoy an occasional weekend trip with friends - he can go on a camping trip, for a weekend spent in silence with the guys, and she can go for a trip to the spa and long talks with the girls. both can come back refreshed and refilled and ready to give to the relationship.

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