By Emma Merkas
Sadly, relationships don’t come with instruction manuals.
It’s a puzzling thing, because anytime you’re embarking on a new adventure - be it having a baby, international travel, planning a wedding, buying a house - you tend to research everything you can on the subject. At least, you do if you’re me! I’m sure I’m not the only one.
But how many people arm themselves with instructions on how to be in a relationship? Not many. And certainly not many proactively.
Generally speaking, people tend not to seek help or guidance on how to be in a relationship until problems arise... By which time, it’s usually too late.
So in the spirit of self-betterment, let’s start with four mistakes you may already be making in your relationship and how to correct them for a closer connection with your partner.
1. Arguing to Win
If you’re keeping tally of “who won the argument," you need to stop. It’s an easy thing to do, particularly when two stubborn souls come together in a relationship.
In marriage, you’re never arguing to win, you’re arguing to resolve the situation. Really, there are no winners when you’re fighting with your partner.
Next time you find yourselves arguing, start by making sure you try to keep on point. Ask, "What’s the problem here?" Focus on finding a practical resolution, instead of another point on your imaginary scoreboard. This should help keep you both calm and civil towards each other.
Also, in light of this tip, let the little things slide. Who really cares who forgot to change the toilet roll in the bathroom or who drank the last of the milk? Chill, relax, it’s not worth the pain.
2. Sky High Expectations
Oh boy, am I guilty of this one! Having major expectations of a situation or a person (especially your spouse) is always going to leave you disappointed. Bitterly, bitterly disappointed.
Sure, there are certain things you can expect from the person you’re sharing your life with. But be careful where you draw the line.
For example, I had this notion in my head that once we were married, we would have a wonderful honeymoon period of no arguing at all, gazing at each other lovingly for hours, wanting to spend time only together, passionate sex every day… all the stuff of romance novels… And then my poor husband got a nasty bout of food poisoning on our honeymoon and I was left to fend for myself (in tropical paradise, mind you, so it wasn’t all bad) while he recuperated, played his PSP and watched DVDs in our hotel room. He was so sick he could barely move, let alone come out for dinners and Long Island Iced Teas.
Not exactly the picture-perfect married life I had planned! I thought we’d be blissed out for months. In reality, it lasted all of three days before plans changed and I was bitterly disappointed, even though no one was to blame.
A healthy expectation adjustment ahead of time would have helped me a lot.
And so the same goes for you when it comes to birthdays, engagements, proposals, wedding rings, gifts and more… if you have certain expectations of your partner, let them know. It’s only fair! And if your expectations are completely unrealistic, it may be time for some soul-searching,
3. Letting Romance Slide
Sure, you’ve been together for years. You’ve seen each other at your worst, held each other’s hair back while throwing up into the toilet when you’re sick, you’ve sat on the sofa in track suits with unwashed hair, perhaps endured labor and childbirth together… It’s entirely possible that you don’t even shut the bathroom door these days.
All of which are no excuse to let romance slide!
The romance that comes so easily to us in the early days requires a bit more conscientious work when we’re years into a relationship.
Make an effort and do it regularly.
They don’t have to be grand gestures. Romance is in the simple things. Bring home a bunch of flowers. Switch off the TV and eat by candlelight at the dining table. Call from work and arrange to meet your spouse at a restaurant. Surprise them with tickets to a show. Go all out and book a hotel room or do something simple and draw them a relaxing bubble bath scattered with rose petals.
In short, stop every now and then and do something spontaneous for your sweetie that will blow them away and show them that you care. They deserve it! And so does your relationship.
4. Not Understanding Their Needs
We all need different things. Some people need lots of physical affection. Others need to spend quality time with their sweetie. Some need to feel looked after and some like small gifts and gestures to show that they’re loved.
Do you actually know what your partner’s Love Language is? Everyone speaks love in a different way, and it pays to learn your own and your spouse’s so you can communicate more effectively when it comes to love and affection.
Find out with a free quiz, and start learning how to become fluent in your spouse’s primary Love Language immediately.
"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."
You Know You Want to Read
Everybody Loves These