Four questions to help strengthen your relationship
Loving somebody and committing to them are two of the key responsibilities to anyone entering a relationship.
It won’t always be easy, and chances are you’ll have fights, and fears, that can put strain on your feelings.
While it’s impossible to be 100 per cent happy all of the time, it is possible to work on making sure that for your part, you’re doing everything in your power to meet your partner half way.
Writing for mindbodygreen, Dr.Patricia Thompson argues that each person in a relationship should answer four questions to strengthen their bond.
While they might sound obvious in some ways, Thompson points out that failing to ask these questions could lead to resentment, disappointment or a lack of support in a relationship.
Taking scientific research into what makes a couple feel equally content and loved, here are the four questions to ask yourself:
1.Am I taking responsibility for my own happiness?
Thompson said one of the biggest strains on any relationship is one person relying on their partner to make them happy.
While it’s important to feel content in their presence, Thompson warns the dangers of depending on one person to make you happy:
“Having a solid sense of happiness and well-being not only increases your odds of having a relationship, it also leads to more satisfying relationships.”
2.Do I strive to see my partner in a positive light?
Thompson reminds us that it’s only natural to have expectations for our relationship, but reminds us that it’s possible to put too much pressure on your other half without thinking about the bigger picture.
While it’s important to have goals for your partner and your relationship, Thompson says that without discussing them, there’s a higher chance of people being disappointed.
“Reflect on how those expectations affect how you interact with him or her. Are there changes you could make, or compromises, to better cultivate the relationship?”
3.Do I disengage in my relationship?
When you’re hurt, or feel angry, it’s very easy to shut down or disengage from your relationship, but being the strong, silent type could be leading to disastrous effects for your relationship.
While communication is always a key factor in remaining happy and loved, Thompson adds that it’s a joint-responsibility to resolve conflicts:
“Expecting your partner to be a mind-reader gets in the way of solving conflicts, as important concerns may never get addressed, leading to unresolved anger and resentment.
“Further, researchers argue that withdrawing (or shutting down) during conflict is even more harmful for relationships because it creates distance.
4.What is my ratio of positive to negative interactions with my partner?
While fights are all a healthy part of a relationship and can help strengthen a couple’s bond by airing issues, one couple therapist John Gottman has said that a simple ratio predicting a couple’s negative interactions can be telling in their overall suitability for each other.
Gottman’s research consistently found that the most stable and happy couples have a 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interactions. Unstable or unhappy relationships were found to have a much lower positive ratio.
Although you shouldn’t change your personality to fit in with someone else, taking note of how you’re feeling and if there are outside influences affecting your mood will greatly impact how you may interact with your partner if tired, stressed or frustrated.
“If there is some room for improvement, decide along with your partner, to be intentional about increasing acts of positivity, kindness and compassion.”