We're not talking about having control over one another here- but having collaborative control over your relationship. We take a look at ten ways you keep abreast of the ups and downs of being with your partner so you can both preside over your life together.
Don't blame your partner for everything that goes wrong- There's always two sides to every story and you have to admit when you've done something to contribute to an argument or that you have a part to play when hasn't gone right in your relationship. Take ownership of things you have said or done that you regret and apologise.
Don't give each other the silent treatment- This gets you nowhere. If you have a problem or a disagreement, the only way it is going to become acknowledged or fixed is by vocalising it. If you keep niggles to yourself- things will stay the same. I am not saying they will change if you bring it up- but your changes of change are greater.
Be sensible with money- You can pay the bills, have some treats and still save if you come up with a budget and are honest about your joint income and outgoings. As soon as you start secretly spending or living outside of your means- your relationship will be put under strain. Ask yourself- do you really need it? If it's more a 'want' than a 'need', then move your focus elsewhere.
Learn to fight more productively- In an ideal world couples would never fight- they would disagree but they would be able to talk about it without raised voices and exaggerated body language. If you feel yourself about to say something you regret, take a breath and come back when you're calmer and consider their side of it too. Often with a clearer head and after the moment is over you can return to your partner with a more rounded view on the issue. It will save you having to apologise all the time.
Have a work-life balance- If one or both of you work a lot of hours, make sure you still make time for each other and stick to it as best you can. A lot of relationships fail because there is too much work and no play, which results in resentment. Plan in a date night every week or fortnight, make the effort and don't cancel it. This is time for you both- without interruption.
Be clear with what you want- If you want to make a change in your relationship be crystal clear about what it is that you desire. If you tell your partner while you are still thinking it through in your own mind, they may not understand or become confused. If it helps to write it down- then do this.
If you come up with an idea- act on it- If you decide that you need to do more exercise, eat better, do more things on a weekend- it won't just magically happen- you have to put plans in place. If you both agree on something you want to start or stop doing- do something about it there an then or your commitment to it will fade.
Don't discuss your relationship in detail with other people- If you're having trouble in your relationship- telling other people will only affect the outcome negatively. It will make family and friends think your relationship is in trouble and encourage gossip and rumours. Keep any ups and downs to yourself- two people is enough- you don't need any more opinions in your love life.
Appear as a united front- If your partner has an opinion you strongly disagree with- don't argue with them in front of other people, especially not your children- leave it till it's just the two of you. It's ok to have different opinions but if they are extreme, people will blow it out of proportion.
Adopt diplomacy- Be tactful when you talk to your partner if it's about something sensitive- try to avoid hurting their feelings. It's important to tell the truth, however sometimes the truth needs a little sugar coating so think before you speak if the subject is particularly difficult. This will reduce snap reactions the likelihood of an argument.
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