February 8, 2017

How to Strengthen Your Relationship: 5 Simple Keys You Must Know

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It’s the month of love so let’s talk about 5 keys to strengthen your relationship. Why? Simply because a happy, content home-life means better performance in all other areas of life and business. Have you ever tried to be productive after a disagreement with your spouse or partner? It’s hard. Almost impossible. It’s like your mind is in two places and nothing wants to flow.

But when we take care of our personal life we are effectively taking care of our professional life also.

When you strengthen your relationship, you’re effectively insulating all of your life against onslaughts and challenges.

This one area impacts the rest.

Also, since all relationships grow and change over time, even if you have a great relationship at the moment, there might come a time when you feel like your bond could be stronger.

This is for you too.

Relationships are never fully fixed. They are fluid.

They change, grow, adapt, go down then up and higher than before.

And to use the age-old metaphor, every relationship is like a plant.

They need to be taken care of to grow. You need to actively strengthen your relationship to reap the rewards.

You cannot leave a plant in the sun without water hoping it to grow.

My wife tried that with her spinach a while ago, and it failed miserably.

Needless to say, we’re still buying spinach at the store 🙂

The same goes for any relationship you have.

If you want to enjoy the benefits and joys of a strong relationship with someone else, you need to do certain things consistently to strengthen that bond.

Not every now and again, or only when you feel like it, but every day.

That is the price of admission.

If you don’t want to pay that price, then let me be the first to tell you,

Make room for someone else who IS willing to take care of your current loved-ones the way they deserve!

Seriously, that might sound harsh, but if you don’t want to give you’re loved-ones the love they deserve and be happy, then move on so they can too.

Life is too short in my opinion.

Now, that doesn’t mean you bail at every the sight of every challenge or problem, God knows relationships are laden with them.

But it does mean if you’re too selfish to care or have lost complete and all interest because you only care about Number One, then, by all means, move on.

However, if you do want to strengthen your relationship, then there are some things you can (and should) do to strengthen your relationship.

Let’s look at 5 things you can do to strengthen your relationship starting today:

  1. Take your partner’s side

This is almost an unspoken rule in marriage, but if you want to strengthen your relationship and be happily married you will need to learn how to take your partner’s side.

You must learn how to consistently advocate for your partner’s position.

Whether you agree with them or not.

Trust me on this.

Nothing will create problems and erode your relationship faster (except cheating) than when you set yourself up as your partner’s “opposition” in certain matters while taking someone else’s side.

That’s like petrol on a fire.

Does that mean you cannot disagree with your partner?

Of course not!

You can disagree, we all do, but you must do so with tact and love instead of fighting or worse, taking someone else’s side against your partner.

If you disagree, let your differences lead to discussions that help you understand each other better rather than divide you.

When you disagree in a respectful manner, staying on point and communicating to your partner throughout that you’re always on their side, it will reinforce rather than erode your love and respect for each other.

Your partner is your teammate, and teammates stick together.

A team that has in-fighting never succeed in the long run.

Learn to become you and your partner, against the world.

Always let them feel secure and safe, even when you do disagree (because that’s human).

  1. Release past hurts

Few things mess a relationship up like holding onto and dragging old hurts into your current relationship.

There is no space for baggage in a growing relationship or if you want to strengthen your relationship.

I know that sounds extreme, but I believe it to be true.

If you have things from your past to sort out, go and sort them out.

Don’t let your partner pick up the tab.

It’s your stuff to deal with it.

Now, I know that our partners love us and want to help, and that’s cool, but unless you want to help yourself no amount of help will make a difference.

It starts with you!

A relationship cannot grow to its full potential, and you cannot strengthen your relationship, when it’s dragging garbage around all the time.

It’s like trying to swim with weights attached to your legs.

You might swim for a while but you’ll get tired and sink at some stage.

If you’ve been holding on to emotional pain related to your current partner or a past one, let it go.

Keeping the hurt inside can stifle the love and affection you want in your relationship.

And if you’re struggling to let it go, then get the help you need.

If the pain results from a past partner’s actions, then let that go.

As simple as that.

The past is the past and no amount of anger, disappointment or resentment will change anything of what happened.

When you let things go, you’re letting yourself off the hook!

It’s not just about the other person.

It’s also about you.

Do it for yourself, and any new partner you might have now.

They deserve the best “you” now, not the old you still living in yesterday.

And if the pain results from your current partner’s actions, resolve the past situation so you can let go of that pain and move forward and strengthen your relationship.

Even if your partner did something that really hurt you, what are your options really?

One, realise it’s in the past and let it go so you can move forward,

OR,

two, hold onto it and suffer.

If you choose the latter, you might as well opt out and call quits on this relationship as it will become unbearable at some stage anyway.

Letting go of past hurts allow you to feel freer to love and be close to your partner now.

  1. Be willing to try something new

If you want to truly connect with your partner and strengthen your relationship, embrace the activities he/she loves to do.

Even though the particular pastime may not be your cup of tea, show a willingness to engage in their beloved activities with them.

Why is that important?

Because we all want to feel special and valued.

And nothing says “You matter to me” more than a willingness to do something your partner likes, even when you don’t (especially if they know that).

I’ve been married almost 11 years and still learned this the hard way not too long ago.

As people, we can act selfishly very easily and without being aware of it.

When you’ve been with someone for a long time it’s so easy taking them for granted and assuming they enjoy the things you enjoy.

But that’s a mistake!

They don’t always.

Good partners will never let you feel that doing the things you like is a pain, but that’s something you must reciprocate.

Just because they are willing to do what you want to do doesn’t mean you should abuse that.

Be a good partner back by making time to engage in the activities and things your partner like also.

Doing this will really strengthen your relationship.

And while you’re at it, make a real effort to show interest and enjoy it.

You can thank me later 🙂

  1. Lose the need to be right

This is a big one.

Winning arguments with your partner are overrated.

Seriously.

After all, what value does being right really have?

Insisting that the other person agree that you’re right and they’re wrong does nothing to increase positive feelings or strengthen the bond between you.

You might feel gratified or justified for a moment, but the flow on effect can last for days.

If you get in the habit of proving your partner wrong just so you can be right, I can guarantee you a conflict-filled and very rocky relationship.

It will become a battle of catching the other one out or off guard.

Almost like siblings trying to get each other in trouble just so they can call dad.

It’s silly and doesn’t make for a great relationship at all.

It’s like the saying, “do you want to be right, or do you want to be in a relationship?”

Most of the time you can’t be both.

Therefore, try focusing instead on accepting that there will be times when you might be correct and other times when he or she’s the one who’s right.

And that’s OK.

When that happens, accept and admit that you’re wrong, and move on.

Let it go.

Leave it in the past.

Sometimes, those situations can be better resolved by sorting out how you each feel so you can find a middle ground that can bring you closer together rather than determining who’s right or wrong.

  1. Celebrate your differences

We are all different.

No matter how much you have in common with your partner, there will be something you differ on.

And that’s a good thing.

Too much sameness can easily lead to boredom and lack of interest.

Therefore, I believe differences should be encouraged and supported and not undermined or resisted as this will strengthen your relationship.

When you first started dating the person you’re with now, chances are there were many things you didn’t know about them and that excited you.

It was like unwrapping a gift.

You wanted to know everything and savoured every moment you had together.

But that all changed after a while didn’t it?

As people, we tend to get used to things very quickly these days which could spell disaster for most relationships in the long run.

The one place where a materialistic, consumerism mindset simply won’t work, is in a healthy relationship.

To strengthen your relationship demands to stay amazed by this person you’re with while resisting taking them for granted.

And that takes hard work from both sides.

You must allow yourself to again experience the passion that brought you into the relationship.

It is your responsibility to keep the flame going, which reinforces your connection.

One way to do this is by actively celebrating your differences.

Support each other’s hobbies and interests wholeheartedly and enjoy spending time together.

Fall in love with the fact that you see the world differently from each other.

It’s something to celebrate and not hate.

If this doesn’t sound like something you wanna do, then that begs the real question:

Why, the heck, are you with the person then?

Listen, there are so many wonderful opportunities to strengthen your relationship.

But you will have to work at it!

It doesn’t happen by itself.

Use these tips I shared with you here for inspiration to help you strengthen your relationship and watch it thrive as you continue to take care of each other.

Please leave your comments and questions below if you want to reach out to me.

Much love.

Gideon H.

Gideon-Hanekom-The-Relationship-Guy



Tags

5 Keys to Strengthen Your Relationship, 5 Tips to Strengthen Your Relationship


About the author
Gideon

Gideon is the creator of The Relationship Guy – a Top Marriage Coaching and Relationship Advice Blog that helps married couples create happier relationships. He is a trained professional counsellor and one of New Zealand’s top relationship bloggers. He’s been happily married for over fifteen years and is a dad of two.​ He also holds Bachelor and Master degrees in the field of Theology and is currently studying Psychology at Massey University.

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