April 2, 2019

The Rebuilding a Relationship Series: Think of Your Partner More Than You Think of Yourself


So far in this “rebuilding a relationship” series we’ve seen that love relationships can be challenging. They sometimes require more of you than you thought would be required at the start or you’re even capable of giving. But, often when the time comes we simply do what we must. And, sometimes we don’t. At the end of the day, our love relationships are a gift and they must be cared for as such. Because without constant care and attention, they won’t remain healthy nor grow. And one of the only ways you’ll be able to do that long-term is to think of your partner more than you think of yourself.

More often than not, humans are selfish by nature.

I know that’s an unpopular thing to say and you might not even agree but there is more truth to it than you think.

I still remember this one question in Psychology 101 on whether there really is such a thing as “true altruism.”

Do people ever do anything without some kind of benefit or payoff?

Whether it’s a physical or emotional return.

The fact is we tend to take care of ourselves and make sure that our needs are met, in some way or another.

And we also see this theme played out over and over on Social Media and movies.

Not only do people seem to be in it for themselves but it’s also promoted as the “normal” thing to do.

If you look at most romantic movies, a lot of them insinuate that it’s just fine to head out the door for either an affair or a divorce or leave your partner at the altar when there’s suddenly a “better” option.

It’s actually quite funny just how people in people in movies seem to initially pick the wrong person to marry, only to leave at the last minute for the “right” person.

But that’s not real life though.

That’s not how true love relationships work.

Apart from hopefully choosing the right person to get married to from the start, we also cannot just pick up and leave every time our own needs and wants aren’t being met in the ways we want without cost or compromise to ourselves at all.

I mean, I guess you can, but that’s not how things tend to work.

It’s also not how long term happy relationship are formed.

A love relationship is definitely a place where our needs and wants need to be met, but it doesn’t just happen one way.

It’s a commitment by two people to love and nurture each other for as long as it takes and whatever it asks.

Because ultimately life is not about getting but giving.

It’s only in giving that we find a lot more being given to us in return than we can ever give.

True fulfilment and happiness in love relationships happen when we start looking beyond ourselves.

When you think of your partner more than you think of yourself.

And the old expression that “it is better to give rather than receive” holds just as true with your emotions, love, respect and honour as it is for any physical gifts and trinkets.

A Swedish proverb also says,

“Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I really need it.”

The point here for those of us in love relationships is that when we are willing to put the needs of our partners above our own, we stand a chance of creating the type of relationship we want.

One filled with happiness, love and fulfilment.

This is even more important if you’re serious about rebuilding or repairing your relationship.

In that instance there is no other place to start – you MUST think of your partner more than you think of yourself.

There is no way around this.

You cannot repair a relationship while thinking of yourself more than your partner.

That will NEVER work – not if the goal is rebuilding a broken relationship.

And this goes both ways of course.

When BOTH partners start thinking of the other more than themselves the relationship stands the best chance of being repaired and eventually grow.

So, let me give you a typical example of how this idea of “thinking more of your partner than you think of yourself” can play out in everyday life.

Let’s say you’re having a disagreement about something.

Now, this can go one of many ways.

You can simply work through things OR it can be the catalyst for major drama that lasts for days.

But, thinking more of your partner than you think of yourself in this instance sets the tone for how things will go from the outset.

Because when you choose to love your partner through a disagreement rather than defensively act out in ways that further damage the relationship, not only do you nurture the relationship but you also strengthen your bond with your partner.

The reality is that oftentimes our partners may be lashing out at us because of stuff they are going through that’s got nothing to do with us.

But when you can love them through that emotional distress they’re feeling, even when wrongly aimed at you at that moment, you’ll often find a more loveable (and apologetic) partner on the other side.

Sometimes, people who appear to not be listening to you, are overly critical of your behaviour, seem to be deflecting or stonewalling, act out of sarcasm or are outright hostile, can be attacking you when they mean to be attacking a person who isn’t even in the room.

They may be angry with their parents, siblings or other family members.

It is in these moments that you need to take the time to think more of your partner than yourself, no matter how hard.

Because even though their initial harsh words might have nothing to do with you, should you fail to appreciate that fact and lash out as well, it WILL become about you.

Ultimately, when both partners work toward selflessness it significantly reduces the number of unhappy days you’ll experience together.

Good husbands and wives are selfless and put the needs of their partners above their own.

Whether unconsciously or by choice.

Because they intuitively understand the power of thinking more of your partner than you think of yourself.

So, let me ask you …

How much do you put your partner first?

What priority do their needs and wants have with you? 

Have you seen this yet?

If you want to learn how to create a happy, healthy, and more intimate marriage (again), you need to read this very important letter about my latest relationship book I released recently.

Click to learn more


rebuilding a relationship

About the author

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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