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For the first time in my life, I am (finally!) in a healthy, stress-free, and loving relationship. My partner and I both show up for each other and are thriving. There’s no drama, we give each other space when needed, and spend quality time together. I have never been happier. With spring just around the corner (ahem, hello spring fever!), I wanted to share 5 tips for cultivating a blissful relationship with your partner.
- Be authentic. Stating the obvious, but oftentimes in the early stages of a relationship, one partner might try to impress the other and not remain true to oneself. This might show up by overlooking significant differences in core values or it could manifest itself in more superficial ways such as feeling the need to be someone you are not. Instead, just be yourself. If your partner or potential partner just isn’t that into you, then it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship. Being able to let your hair down (pardon the expression), relax, and just be yourself with your partner removes invisible stress and will make you much happier.
- Show up for your partner. This one is huge and requires figuring out how that looks for each of you. You might want to read Chapman’s “The Five Love Languages” to get a better handle on what you need in your relationship and from your partner or take the couples love languages profile quiz. Sometimes it just takes something small to let your partner know he or she is appreciated. My partner recently reminded me how much the brief notes of encouragement I wrote before his job interview meant to him. Similarly, his being there for me at the beginning of our relationship before we even met in person to give moral support the day my mom had major surgery for a life-threatening disease (the dreaded ‘c’ word) is something I will never forget or take for granted. I still remember standing outside the hospital being comforted by his soothing voice.
- Embrace work/life balance. Keep work-related stress at work instead of bringing it home to your partner. Agree though that on a particularly rough day, you might need some time to vent. If so, try to limit the time and then move on by spending quality time focused on each other. Share your hopes & dreams, smile at one another and erase negative vibes by tuning into more positive thoughts.
- Clear your mind/body/spirit. Get rid of any ‘junk’ or baggage. That may include explaining to your partner why you do certain things (think ‘explain your quirkiness’) and identifying certain triggers. This requires a certain level of trust and may feel like you are giving away the password to your psyche, but once you are able to have this conversation, it releases a heavy burden–trust me. When your spirit is lighter and your mind is clear, your physical health will improve. There’s been an increase in scholarly research about the mind/body wellness connection. Ways you can work on clearing out your mind/body/spirit include the usual suspects (e.g., yoga, reiki, journaling, gratitude lists, aromatherapy, massage, infrared sauna, as well as any activities where you experience ‘flow.’)
- Balance home life. If you have children, you know how much energy is needed just to keep up with their calendars. You don’t need to hear it from me that it’s good practice (for your mental health!) to avoid overscheduling your children. As your children grow older and are responsible for their own calendars, be sure to instill in them the importance of having time to just ‘chill’ and veg out.I’ve had to set boundaries with my younger son by saying no when asked to drive him places or being asked to drop everything at a moment’s notice. Letting your children know that the time you have carved out for being with your partner is sacred will stick with them as they age and I’m pretty sure their future partners will love you for this life lesson. More importantly, your partner will appreciate it if you show how much you value your time together if you make couples time a priority.
These are just a few tips to help you cultivate a healthy, drama and stress-free relationship with your life partner. I’m sure you will come up with a few tips and tricks of your own (of course, as I wrap up this post, more tips come to mind–being a good listener, not being stingy with forgiveness, and as Whitney Houston once sang, “Learning to love yourself / It is the greatest love of all.”
As a final side note, for help in the self-love department, check out Dr. Solomon’s Loving Bravely.
“It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald