In the past 6 months, I’ve done A LOT of soul searching when it comes to my relationship.
Having been with my wonderful boyfriend for over 7 years now, we’ve been through some seriously incredible highs, and some incredibly difficult and challenging lows. However, I’ve always felt we’ve surpassed both feeling stronger as a partnership each time. Now, I’m definitely no expert on this topic. But seeing as I’ve spent near enough a third of my life with the same man and we’ve managed not to kill each other, and still fancy the pants off each other (both two equally difficult things to sustain in many long term relationships), I feel slightly qualified to at least chat about relationships more on my blog and Youtube videos.
I know the majority of my content revolves around working on the relationship we have with ourselves.
That priority should remain, and will always remain to be the most important aspect of happiness in any area of life. However, if you’re a soppy old romantic like me, you probably put a very high value on maintaining a healthy relationship with your spouse, and striving to be the best you can be in THAT area as well. So here we go, my thoughts on making relationships work…
Remember you're a team
First and foremost, me and Adam are a partnership. Team work makes the dream work, as they say! When it comes to any big decisions, both personal and mutual, we always consult with the other person.
If you’re independent like me, you might face some resistance around this - I often felt like I had to be 100% independent in everything I did, or felt like I had to be in full control of everything I was capable of controlling. It’s just not a healthy way to co-exist with another human.
When I learned to let go of that, and focused instead on how me and Adam could work together in any given situation, I felt the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders. A problem shared is a problem halved, and in doing so we’ve become even stronger as a unit. Don’t be afraid to reach out and lean on your partner when you feel you need support, and emphasise to them that they can do the same.
For God’s sake communicate!
Probably the most cliché relationship advice you’ll hear, and for good reason. Communication is the foundation of any strong relationship. Without it, you might teeter along feeling okay for a while, but eventually things will start crumbling from underneath your feet.
The irony of communication - the majority of it begins with you actively listening to your partner. Whether it’s remembering what they’ve said to you in a passing conversation, being conscious of how they might be feeling, or picking up on non-verbal cues like their body language, tone of voice or facial expression. Paying attention is vital if your partner is going to feel respected and valued as a human.
Simple things like not looking at your phone when chatting over dinner is huge. To bigger things like arranging a point of the day or week where you go out of your way to be alone and chat in a calm, open minded environment. This gives both people a chance to bring up anything important, to stay up to date with each other’s lives and to just connect.
A respectful, loving and intimate relationship starts with connection. And the biggest way to sustain that connection is communication.
Learn to fight fair
Confrontation is my least favourite thing. I hate it. So much so I will actively avoid it at all costs. Even when I know I need to bring something up, in the past I would put it off because the thought of an argument filled me with dread. As much as I think you should get on and feel at ease and happy with your partner most of the time, you have to learn to fight fair.
For me, fighting fair is calmly and respectfully discussing a point of concern, with the intention of finding a resolution, WITHOUT resorting to being derogatory or disrespectful in any way.
When you’re fighting fair, nobody should ‘win’. The objective should be that you both come to a mutual agreement on something, and find a solution to resolve that issue going forward. The mind games and trying to make the other person say sorry first? It’s bullshit, and it’s playground behaviour! Once I started behaving like an adult and calmly communicating something that was bothering me, without cowering away from the thought of a confrontation, any small issues we face are dealt with quickly and painlessly - before they blow up into something bigger!
It starts with you
If there’s something you want to change and improve on in your relationship, it has to start with you. Own what you have done to contribute to the situation thus far. Take responsibility for your actions, or lack of action, and make a decision to get the ball rolling with positive change.
So many of us wait and hope that the other person will start doing this, or stop doing that. If you spend your whole life waiting for other people to appease you, you’ll be waiting a long time and will often end up disappointed. The irony is, once you actively acknowledge your part in something, and are honest with yourself and your partner about how you can improve moving forward, 9 times out of 10 they’ll be more than willing to do the same.
The moral of the story - there is little room for being stubborn in a healthy, happy relationship. Let it go!
I hope you got something out of today’s discussion. Like I say, it’s not something I’ve talked about ever before on the blog - but it’s something near and dear to my heart. Let’s face it, a huge part of working on our relationship with ourselves, is to be able to give back love and support to the people who mean the most to us. So it makes sense that we start talking about that a little more on the blog.
Let me know your thoughts and ideas, whether it’s on today’s discussion or future topics you’d like to hear covered.
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Love, Kat x