How To Build Strong Relationships
Updated: 5 days ago
I am not the best person when it comes to writing about relationships. In fact, I have felt short myself many times over and over again.
I however know that I want a strong relationship. I do want to feel like I'm being heard, my needs are also met and I can feel comfortable with sharing my dreams with my spouse, knowing that he will listen to them.
However, we all know that's not the reality for most of us. When we meet in our huddles as women, we all have something to complain about our spouse anyway. Why is that?
We find things that just get us mad, angry, or even resentful at times. It could be things like, he doesn't understand my role as a mom, he doesn't want to help out, or he requires so much from me that I can possibly give him.
Don't get me wrong, those are valid reasons. However, we can't hold another person hostage for something that he doesn't understand himself.
In other words, sometimes it's best to just work on ourselves and meet our needs rather than depending on a spouse to give us that.
I will, therefore, write about ways in which we can be advocates for our own happiness, and rather not expect that from our spouse.
What are some of your thoughts about being an advocate for yourself and your relationship with your spouse? I would love to hear about them. Please feel free to share your own experiences or ask your questions or concerns in our FORUM section. I will be happy to help you!
1. FIND YOUR HAPPINESS
Find what makes you happy first. What is it that you want for yourself and your life, even if your spouse is not ready to understand that or meet your needs?
Is flexibility what you need from him, or understanding or partnership? Whatever it is that you require from your spouse, find it first, independent of his desires.
What do I mean by this? Whatever you need for yourself to be happy, find that and work it out as best as you can for yourself.
If as a mom you desire your partner to do more, but he's not willing to, then create that space for you instead to get that balance. It may take some shifting things around, or getting things done a bit earlier or later. Whatever it is, make it work for you.
For example, yes I would love my spouse to help with dishes or cook breakfast sometimes. However, I can't expect that from him, as he may not feel the same way I do. He may genuinely think his food sucks in comparison to mine (it probably does lol...shhh).
What I do rather is to find an alternative to always depending on him to help me out and instead I maximize my time with the dishes by finding a quicker way of getting it done.
He sees the dishes being done daily and I am not wasting my energy trying to convince him that they need to get done. It's not going to happen anytime soon anyway, so I move on from that debate.
I however was able to get housework done, and at the same time find some time for myself to work on my goals and dreams for the family.
For more tips on time management, visit my blog post on:
2. BE INDEPENDENT
This is probably taboo for the older generation of women, even though I secretly think that they too were "independent" but hid it from us. Yes, I have heard some stories of money being stashed away under mattresses, or hidden bank accounts.
What I do mean by independent is that I want you to be aware of who you are, what you want for yourself, and your goals and dreams. We all have them. We all have desires for ourselves that we want to accomplish.
A healthy relationship allows both persons to be independent even though they are working towards a common goal.
You may desire something for yourself that maybe your spouse doesn't really care about. You may desire to write a blog, do a certain hobby, or something that gets you excited and ready to do.
Know that it's ok to do that for you without feeling guilty even if your spouse is not excited about it. It's your dreams and your goals. They can work independently of his. Otherwise, you will find yourself becoming more resentful towards your spouse.
I call it the unmet achievement of your goals and dreams. You will find yourself resenting your spouse for something that you truly wanted to do or believed in.
Therefore, give yourself the opportunity to work on yourself and your goals independently of your partner. It will make you happy at the end of the day.
3. BE LESS ARGUMENTATIVE
Guilty! I am a work in progress, so don't judge me. I know what to do, however, I can't control myself sometimes. That's absolutely ok! I think of this anger as grace. If I fail today, I can try again tomorrow.
It's a work in progress! Many women who have been married for over 30 years will testify to this fact. They excused themselves many times from heated arguments.
However, they didn't also "shut down" or "suppress their emotions". That is healthy to do the first, but also even healthier to do the latter.
If in a heated moment you both can't control yourselves, walk away for a moment, time, or whatever is needed. Then when it's possible after you both are calm, try again to bring up the disagreement and find mutual understanding.
Also, listen and be respectful of both opinions and if it cannot be resolved right away, seek a third party to help you to resolve it (if your partner is ok with seeking counseling) or agree to disagree and end the conversation.
There is absolutely no need to start World War II again!
4. SHOW APPRECIATION
Sometimes our spouse can get the best of us, and we tend to fight this one "good" tactic that can out some "fires" in our relationships.
For instance, when our spouse gives us appreciation, we feel so loved and understood. Things like "you're such a great cook", or "you're the best wife or mom".
It's great hearing those words. We feel good about ourselves also. We feel like we are truly being appreciated and are genuinely doing our best.
Think of that in reverse. If we are always getting praise but not giving praise, then what is the problem? Both should work mutually in our relationships.
I, for instance, have a husband who is great with the kids. I secretly send them to him (shh... don't tell him) for discipline, or when I am up to my maximum peak performance as a mom and need to breathe. He is totally the opposite of me for sure. I yell to get my point across and he is as calm as a dove. Weird isn't it?
So tell them to him as often as you can. Show him how much he does with the kids. It really helps them to feel loved, honored, and appreciated.
Even if your spouse, like mine, decided to make breakfast and it wasn't "the best". Smile and appreciate the thought and effort. Don't tell him about the outer layer of the onion, he forgot to take off before he prepared it. Just remove it and keep smiling.
5. OFFER GRATITUDE
Sometimes gratitude can be taken for granted in relationships. As humans, we always think that the "grass is greener" on the other side.
We are always quick to want to leave a situation when it's not so comfortable to seek solace elsewhere. Don't get me wrong, there are genuine concerns for persons in abusive or even toxic relationships that really need help.
If however, you know that your situation is not anything serious that merits a divorce, then really be thankful and grateful for what you do have.
Yes, he may be somewhat annoying with clothes left on the bedroom floor ever so often, but he is a great dad to your kids and loves to spend time with you as a family as opposed to hanging out with his friends.
I would say, take the time to find the positive things about your spouse that you admire the most and keep those rather in perspective.
Whenever anything about him hurts you, just remind yourself that he is not the worst and there are women who are suffering in relationships that are far more worst than yours.
Therefore, have a heart of gratitude for your spouse and try to let him know that too. It will also quench some "fires" as well.
6. BE A GOOD LISTENER
Sometimes I struggle with this one. I often think that I also have to be heard and understood, but never think the same thing for my spouse.
Hello, it's a two-way street! Did you ever ask him about his feelings or even concerns?
For instance, he might be struggling with the pressure of being the financial provider, while you're debating which chore he needs to help with. You both have concerns either way.
Have you, however, tried to take yourself out of the equation for a moment and look from above,(similar to observing under a microscope) to see if there is something that is bothering him?
That's where good listening skills come into effect. Unknowingly, your spouse will communicate their needs. You will hear it in things that are said repeatedly. However, you will only hear it if you're listening. That's also a clue you can use to try to change some things around.
For instance, men's biggest concern is the ability to provide for their families. They may also feel burdened to do so. The best that you can do is to also understand where their concerns are coming from and facilitate their needs accordingly.
That help may look differently depending on your situation. You may need to be more of a comforter, telling him that everything is going to be fine. Or you may be working or helping him with that situation. Whatever it is, your trying to show him that you care.
7. FIGHT FOR PEACE
I am a runner! I don't like conflict one bit. If I feel threatened, my first instinct is to run for solace and guard my heart at all costs. Is it a good habit? Absolutely yes! I love my peace. I love my tranquility and I do not like chaos, confusion, or turmoil.
Should that be threatened, I seek solace instead with peace. I will become the peacemaker. That means, stepping away, seeking spiritual solace, or fighting my battles differently, for instance, through prayer. I guard my peace and you should too.
You should do whatever you can to create the peace that you need in your lives. That could mean something such as making self-care a priority for you so that you can also be at peace with yourself.
Once you establish those goals for yourself, then you are more present in your relationship, because you yourself are at peace.
For self-care tips visit my blog post on:
8. CREATE BOUNDARIES
It is necessary to create boundaries in your relationships. Why do I say this?
Boundaries help to protect you from hurt or wounds that can happen whenever you don't practice guarding your space and your heart.
Whenever you are in a heated argument with your spouse, for example, it's sometimes best to just be still and walk away, until you are both able to talk to each other in a less angry state. When you get into arguments with each other, both may say some things that can really hurt. Then eventually there is more built-up anger and frustration that leads to nowhere.
It's pointless and now you're the one left brewing in hate and resentment against your spouse. Therefore count the cost of having much more effective communication by knowing when to quit, guard your heart and create safe boundaries that will protect you from hurt in both ways.
I, for instance, don't like alterations one bit. However, I also don't like to feel like I don't have an opinion when it comes to certain issues we face as a couple.
I prefer, however, instead of getting into heated arguments that we may later regret, I rather text my husband or speak with him in a more calm environment. I can freely say what I have to and he can be free to respond.
It's not a perfect technique, however, the more you practice this simple rule, the better it is for your relationship long term.
8. LOVE EACH OTHER
Love each other may sound "cliche" but it has some meaning behind it. There are two types of love. There is genuine love for a person, and there is conditional love.
Genuine love is true and pure. It doesn't require anything from a partner or is never dependent on what a partner, does or doesn't do for that person.
We have probably seen some of those relationships before where people admit they don't love a person but like what they do for them. That, however, is not love.
Love should not be conditional. Love has to come from the heart and doesn't matter what the other person does.
Relationships that are built this way are more likely to flourish because there are no expectations from a partner.
This kind of love is what we should aim for in our marriages. We all deserve the need to evolve at any point in our marriage, and should not feel like when we do evolve that we can't be loved anymore based on our desires for change.
Therefore understand what love you have currently in your relationships and work on changing that aspect of it. When you do, then it becomes pure love, unconditional love, love that will last a lifetime.
For more relationship-related blog posts, visit:
Overall I do hope that this blog post has given you some tips that you can use to help strengthen your relationships. Marriage is not easy but it's a choice that each couple has to make, whether they want to be committed for just a short time or for a lifetime.
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Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? What were some of your favorite tips? How have they worked for you? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.
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