As a psychologist and relationship counselor for over 25 years, I speak from experience when I say there’s more to the art of love than we can imagine: people are complex, riddled with flaws and deep desires, desperately seeking to be understood. Yet human beings also hold an incredible capacity to give love if they’re shown the right kind of love. Our goal in a relationship should be to help our partner release this abundance of love to experience a fulfilling relationship.
What I see happening more often, however, is that people continue to make the same mistakes in their relationships and expect different results. What’s worse is that their insecurities and negative tendencies lead them to act in ways that destroy what could be a perfectly healthy relationship. Different partners draw out of us different emotions — some we didn’t even know we had — and sustaining a relationship becomes tedious from both ends. But we must ensure that at least we’re doing our part. So how do we navigate it through it all and improve the quality of our love? Practice these 8 relationship dos and don’ts to fortify your romance with harmony, stability, and joy:
Do develop emotional intimacy: Many couples live together physically but live apart emotionally. Emotional intimacy is knowing what your partner needs before they even get a chance to ask. It is picking up on their feelings as if they were your own. Develop a sense of emotional intimacy by being honest with your partner and sensitive to their needs.
Do plan a life together: Our plans may not always work out, but envisioning a future with our partner inspires us to take the right steps towards manifesting our long-term goals. Talk about the years ahead and form a strategy to achieve the things you want together: a home, a family, investments, etc.
Do bring them comfort: Your partner wants to come home to love, not to a headache. Make your home a place that always reels your partner back because they feel safe, stable, and nurtured. Don’t start talking about your problems as soon as your partner walks through the door. The bills, the job, the argument you just had this morning—these things can wait until the atmosphere is calm and appropriate for such a conversation.
Do act in the right time: Time can be your biggest enemy or your best friend. At any given moment, time is either on your side or against you. The wisdom is to recognize when you should act versus when you should wait. If you listen to your inner voice, you can decipher the different tides of time. Don’t obligate your partner to do things in a certain amount of time, like pushing them to get married within a year. This is your notion of time, not theirs. Do take the big step forward when you’re both in complete agreement, even if it takes a bit longer than you’d like.
Don’t play on their weaknesses: Every day, you have the choice to play on your partner’s weaknesses or to reiterate their strengths. If you constantly bring up what they’re doing wrong, they’ll never feel motivated to do anything right. No relationship can improve under such negative energy. There are gentle ways to get your partner to understand what they should be doing differently, and constantly scolding them is not one of these methods.
Don’t get even: No matter what your partner has done or however they’ve wronged you in the past, don’t retaliate or act in bad faith. Keep your personal karma clean by always treating the other person the way you’d like to be treated, regardless of the way they behave towards you. This is your duty to yourself and not to anyone else. Remember: the way others treat you is their karma but the way you respond is your karma.
Don’t assume or blow things out of proportion: Before you throw a tantrum, sit and reflect logically: Is it really as bad as I assume? Speak to your partner openly about what’s bothering you instead of blowing up on them. Many times we amplify the severity of a situation out of our fears and insecurities, when in reality it’s not what we think at all. Before assuming things that might be false, ask yourself if it’s really worth jeopardizing the relationship.
Don’t act out of desperation: Think through your decisions a thousand times before you act on them. Acting on desperation will only yield more desperation. If you’re desperate to get your partner to change, don’t threaten to break up with them when in reality it’s the last thing you want to do. If they agree to break up, you’ll feel even worse. Let your feelings to settle down before approaching them with any issue. Always try to see the logic behind escalated emotions.
Love relationships are undoubtedly difficult to maintain if we don’t consider the steps to uphold a positive dynamic. Take up these 8 tips to eliminate relationship problems and strengthen the loving bond with your partner.
To incredible love,
Dr. Carmen Harra