Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. That’s a proverb that I heard a lot growing up. If a friend was quick to leave me out, well then it was their loss!
When your partner is experiencing something difficult, don’t respond with pity. Instead of simply reacting sympathetically and feeling bad for them, try to understand the source of their pain.
Become An Active Listener:
There is a distinct difference between hearing what someone is saying, and actively listening to them speak. When conversing with your partner, process each sentence and mull over every point, before responding. When our partner knows that we are listening and understanding what they are saying — verbally and non-verbally — they will likely feel more loved. There’s nothing quite like feeling that we are understood.
You will better understand their point of view, and subsequently, be able to engage in a fruitful and meaningful dialogue. Then, the next time you need to talk something out, they’ll be there to do the same.
Factor Them In:
It’s easy to abruptly make choices when they solely affect you, but when you in a relationship, there are another person’s feelings to consider. Before jumping the gun on a big career move or life decision, discuss it with your partner first. Even if it’s ultimately a resolution that you need to reach on your own, they will appreciate being clued into the conversation, and it will demonstrate that you respect their time, space, and loyalty. It’s vital that when contemplating making decisions, that you factor in what your partner might want or need. Considering your partner’s needs is just another way of saying that you care about them enough to consider their needs. Even if they’re not the main reason behind your decision-making, there’s no harm in factoring them in.
Learning a new skill, trying something for the very first time, or experiencing a place, trip, or art form with your partner is a great way to bond you two together. One of the more fun aspects of relationships is in building a history of shared experiences. Whenever your partner looks back on the shared adventure, they will partly associate that moment of happiness and security with you. It’s a level of understanding that loyalty is derived from.
There is very much a difference between lying to your partner and withholding the truth, but both are layers of dishonesty that imply some form of secret-keeping. To avoid distrust and little-white-lies that stack up to form a mountain, communicate your thoughts, feelings, and fears when they initially arise, with your partner. One of the dynamics I see in so many couples is the challenge it appears to be for them to communicate their hopes. If clarity isn’t there at first, that’s OK. Be patient with each other. It’s important to realize that effective communications require a certain amount of courage and vulnerability. Even if they don’t understand at the moment, your transparency will always pay off in the end.
Make Them A Priority:
Even if your partner is not the most important person in your life when you open yourself up to someone completely, they inadvertently become a priority: you want to protect and nurture that connection. So if someone matters to you that much, show them!
Plan Mindful Surprises:
Surprises are not always a good thing per se: you need to remember to be respectful of your partner’s time and space. But once those boundaries are defined, performing random acts of kindness for those you love, and seeing the joy that they bring about, can be incredibly gratifying! Next time you go over to your partner’s house, pack their favorite snack food. If you pass something that makes you think of them in a store window, grab them a gift for no reason.