When trying to strengthen our relationships, we often look to the habits of very happy couples. However, the behaviors that these blissful partnerships don’t engage in can be even more important than the ones they do. All the date nights in the world can’t offset these common and toxic relationship patterns.
Here are five behaviors that a strong partnership will avoid at all costs:
They don’t put off difficult conversations.
You are bound to disagree with your partner. Relationships are all about learning how to manage these differences of opinion in ways that feel healthy and fair. The very conversations that you fear are actually your opportunity to strengthen your relationship and learn how to work as a team. Don’t sweep your problems under the rug. Work through them together, even if the process of doing so is painful.
They don’t allow one another to drift.
Even the happiest of couples feel their attachment to one another wax and wane – it is only natural. The difference comes in how we deal with disconnection. Rather than allow your partner to drift away, do something to rekindle your bond when you feel yourself start to disengage. Go on a weekend getaway, or read a book together. Sleep in on a rainy morning and eat pancakes in bed. Even something as simple as reaching for your partner’s hand more often can bring your connection back to life.
They don’t use sex or affection against one another.
Each person has a unique way that they express and accept love. This is often referred to as a love language. Because of your partner’s unique needs, she may require more physical touch, more verbal praise, or more quality time than you are comfortable giving. Don’t disregard your own boundaries, and certainly don’t use your ability to withhold affection as a weapon against her. Rather, find rhythms that feel comfortable for both of you. You may have to compromise to find a happy middle ground, and this is part of building a life together.
They don’t tell each other’s secrets.
According to research by top marriage expert John Gottman, a couple’s ability to trust one another is the single most important predictor of a relationship’s success. Repeating something that your partner has told you in confidence, no matter how innocent the context, is a massive betrayal of trust. This will create distance and doubt in your relationship, and could even end it entirely.
They don’t give in to their anger.
It is natural to be angry with your partner every once in awhile. However, happy couples do not let their anger get carried away and cause irreparable damage to their relationship. They value their connection enough to avoid hitting their partner below the belt. They also refuse to hold on to their anger and build grudges and resentments against their significant other.
In the words of Bob Marley,” Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can completely turn your world around. You tell them things that you’ve never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share in your excitement. They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough, but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that make you special and even beautiful.” This kind of love is a wonderful thing, and most of us only experience it with one other person in the whole world. Treasure each other, and make your time together count.