Relationships that lend value to our life are essential for our overall well-being and happiness, and being a great relationship partner is what matters most.
“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” ~Barbara de Angelis
When a relationship hits a rough patch, we often look at the other person and emphasize all the annoying things as if those traits are at fault. The reality is we should be looking at our behaviors because that is all we can control.
16 New Habits to Make You a Better Relationship Partner
Here are sixteen ways to become a better partner in your relationship:
1. Leave the relationship baggage behind you
We all have baggage. Whether it’s the expectations we bring with us from childhood or experiences from past relationships, baggage prevents us from realizing the true potential of our current relationships.
Everyone has felt lonely, empty, or inadequate at one time or another. No matter what we have, something always seems to be missing. The way out is to get to know the real you. Become comfortable having a relationship with yourself first, and everything else will begin to take care of itself.
2. Argue for the other side
When we get into a disagreement, it is usually because one person has one opinion, and the other has the opposite. When we argue our position, we look for evidence to support our point of view, and we keep looking until we feel we can “win.”
Imagine what would happen if you switched sides? Instead of gathering evidence to support your point of view, start gathering evidence to support the other side of the story.
It’s fair to say that both sides of any argument will have valid points, and if you wanted to, you could argue either side. As you start to make a case for the opposite side, you can usually see some validity to the opposing position. In fact, you will be amazed at how convincing you can be – so compelling that you might find yourself on a road that leads to the end of the argument altogether.
3. React less
Amid emotional situations, it is a natural reaction to overreact. It is easy to see when the other person is overreacting. However, we are not as likely to recognize our overreactions.
Our actions develop based on how we feel. And sometimes, we have big feelings which cause some significant moves. Reacting less doesn’t mean ignoring or minimizing problems, just controlling our reaction to them. The key to responding less is choosing to act based on how we want to feel, not think.
4. Stop complaining, start exclaiming
The average person complains between 15 and 30 times per day. That’s a lot of complaining, and almost everyone is guilty. Of course, eliminating the need to complain is easier said than done. First, you have to recognize and understand what you are complaining about. Once you know why you are complaining, you have two courses of action: You can accept the situation or change it.
Once you’re ready to change what you were complaining about, start exclaiming what you will do about it – and follow through. When you repeat powerful positive mantras that train your brain to create thoughts, words, and ultimately actions, you’ll quickly bring about change in the areas you were once complaining about.
5. Find favor
The Benjamin Franklin Effect assumes that we do nice things for people we like and bad things for those we dislike.
However, the psychology behind the effect says the opposite, which is that we grow to like people when we do nice things for them.
In a nutshell, asking and receiving a favor generates good feelings on both sides.
Want to eliminate negative feelings and establish good rapport? Don’t hesitate to ask them for a favor, and certainly don’t be afraid to provide one yourself.
6. Sweat your small stuff
Standard advice for relationships is to “stop sweating the small stuff.” A little sweating of the small stuff in relationships can be a good thing – when it’s your stuff you’re focusing on, instead of your partners’.
There are plenty of things your partner does that annoy you:
Leaving their laundry on the floor, not turning off their phone during dinner, or forgetting to take out the trash – every day.
Now think about all the little things you do that may annoy your partner. It’s these tiny annoyances that can build and create actual conflict in a relationship.
So instead of taking the “don’t sweat the small stuff” attitude, try sweating some of your small stuff for a while and watch the annoyances from your partner subside.
7. Sleep on it
Let’s face it. We are not getting enough sleep. When we are sleep-deprived, we overreact, make poor decisions, and have a hard time finding balance – all things that can lead to tensions in a relationship.
How many times have you overreacted when you are tired? When we are well-rested, we keep our emotions in check and think better on our feet. Sleep is one of our most underrated tools for living a happier life, so get more of it.
8. Be a good communicator
One of the most significant ways to be a better relationship partner is to grow in communication. You may think you’re a good communicator, but it may be time to learn how to be a better communicator if you do any of these three things.
- Judging your partner- Assuming you know your partner’s motives, criticizing, or name-calling. These are all big no-nos to good communication.
- Not paying attention-When your partner is talking to you, if you play with your phone or walk out of the room to get a cold drink, you’re showing your partner that you don’t care about what they’re telling you.
- Unwanted advice-Don’t be the answer person. Hold your thoughts until your partner has finished talking.
9. Be a good listener
Listening means you listen with your eyes, ears, and body. Being a good listener says to your partner:
- I am interested in what you’re saying to me
- I’m not judging you
- I understand how you feel
- I want to know more
Four ways to improve your listening
Being a good listener will make you a good relationship partner. Little things mean a lot when you’re listening. Try to do these things, including:
- Eliminate physical barriers like furniture-Stand or sit across or beside one another.
- Avoid arm crossing-This shows disagreement or judgment.
- Stay at eye level-If you’re in a conversation, don’t stand if your partner is sitting. Stay at eye level to show that you’re listening.
- Don’t interrupt-Even if your partner says something untrue, don’t jump in to correct them. Wait until they’re finished, then speak.
10. Forgive without strings
It’s difficult to forgive your partner if they’ve hurt you. Forgiving is being willing to let go of what your partner did and seeking to bring peace. If you’re struggling to forgive, remember how many times other people have forgiven you. If you’ve been forgiven, you can forgive. An ancient text describes why forgiveness is so important.
Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. (Proverbs 17:9 NLT)
Even if your partner seems to have moved on from the conversation, be sure to vocalize your forgiveness and let them know you love them. Be sure you offer your apologies for any contribution you made to the situation.
11. Be careful what you text
So many conversations today are via text, email, or social media. You must think carefully about how you phrase what you want to say. Ask yourself these questions
- Is what I’m about to write kind? Rude?
- Does this make my partner look bad?
- Will this encourage or discourage my partner?
- Is this true?
- Why am I writing this? For attention? To get back at my partner?
The golden rule applies here, Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31 NIV) If you wouldn’t like it if your partner said what you’re saying on social media, then don’t say it about them.
12. Show gratitude
Be sure to express gratitude to your partner. Sharing gratitude improves feelings of positivity in your relationship. It makes your partner feel appreciated, which helps them feel more willing to talk about your relationship. Be sure to let your partner know these things:
- How important they are to you
- What you’re most grateful for in your relationship
- Specific things they do that you’re thankful for
13. Be humble
Humility means you have a modest view of yourself. You’re not arrogant or prideful. You keep your ego in check and think of your partner first rather than yourself. It doesn’t mean you don’t have an opinion or self-worth, but you see others’ needs as significant to you. Humility will help you be a better relationship partner.
14. Show patience
Your partner isn’t perfect. They probably do things once in a while that drive you crazy. Perhaps they’re late all the time, or they aren’t good at putting their stuff put away. Showing them patience means you mention your frustration without getting angry or judging them. You can be patient because you know other people have been patient with you.
15. Show respect
Respecting your partner is a significant way to be a better relationship partner. Respect is not ignoring your partner’s feelings, wishes, or rights in your relationship.
16. Accept your relationship partner’s friends and family
Your partner’s family and friends are an extension of who they are. To be a good relationship partner, it’s vital that you accept these people. Attempt to get to know your partner’s siblings and parents. Don’t stay home when your partner goes out with friends. Be involved with them. This communicates volumes to your partner.
Final Thoughts on Improving Your Relationship and Becoming a Better Relationship Partner
If there’s a relationship that is important to you, then use a few items on this list to help make it better. How do you make your relationships better? Add to the discussion below or post a comment on Facebook.