In today's society, we don't have many role models or common ideal values when it comes to the question of how to have a long-lasting, happy relationship. Most of the things we learn are from trial and error. We're all just trying to figure it out — the ever-present question of how to coexist with our partner in the most harmonious, loving way.
But here are a few lessons that I've learned the hard way. When we are more flexible with ourselves and our partners, we communicate better, and get along better. These seven practices are essential for helping your relationship last — and to be happy, healthy and strong along the way.
1. Realize that it's impossible to "win" a fight. No one will ever win, ever.
When you are involved in an argument with your partner, it often becomes less about coming to a solution and more about "winning" the argument or being "right". The goal in conscious communication is to create more harmony in your relationship and find a solution that you both can agree upon. Rehashing the same ideas over and over again in an effort to feel "right" will not lead to happiness for anyone.
2. Connect to your partner as part of you.
Often, we view our loved ones as separate from us. But in our relationships, all of our interactions are two-sided, and it's important to keep this in mind for a healthy, happy relationship. We are all one, all connected.
When you begin to change your perception from separation to oneness, it is easier to drop the armor and let in your partner. Your communication will be better, and you'll feel more connected. Practice viewing your partner as another part of you that is trying to tell you something important. Always listen with an open heart — and in the case of a fight, listen without having to retaliate.
3. Always be open to the possibility that you might be wrong.
If your loved one has an issue with you, chances are it's at least worth looking into. There are probably very few people that know you better, so listen up instead of making excuses, pointing the finger, or detouring the conversation.
Explore the possibility that you may have something to work on. Reply lovingly with, "So what you're trying to say is ...?" "What are your suggestions on how I can improve?" "I love you and am willing to look into this." It's OK to be wrong. If you are — accept it and simply try making the change. We all want to grow and flourish, right? Those closest to you can play a crucial role in your spiritual growth and evolution.
Furthermore, if you show you are willing to accept your faults, your partner is more likely to follow suit and accept his downfalls too. Whether or not your partner is incredibly wise or evolved, if you genuinely want to have a better relationship, then it's worth it to listen with genuine curiosity and openheartedness.
4. Say goodbye to the silent treatment.
Plain and simple, the silent treatment is useless. If something is bothering you — talk about it. Holding a grudge can have an extremely negative impact on the energy and vibration in your home.
Create a space that is inviting and loving, by being open, honest, and kind. Your home should feel like a sanctuary — a refuge of peace from this often crazy world.
Even if you have a bone to pick, it's important to express that you are appreciative of the things that your partner may do that are awesome. Praise is so effective in drawing the best out of a person. If there is a behavior that you love and enjoy, give him props for it.
Of course, there will always be things that annoy you or make you angry. Ask, "Why does this particular behavior bother me SO much? "Who in my past has expressed something similar and how is this connected?" And so on.
So know you're triggers, so you are less likely to be reactive when something comes up. If you are always just criticizing and bashing your partner, he/she will feel unmotivated to make changes.
6. If you want something, give it.
Another way to say this is "be the change you want to see in your partner". If there is something you would like to see more of from your partner — try giving it to them first. You can't treat your spouse like dirt and expect flowers.
7. Don't expect everyone to express love in the same way.
Everyone has different ways of expressing themselves — especially in intimate contexts. Sometimes all you need is a hug, yet all he needs is to talk. Find a common ground. Ask, "What are the things I do that make you feel loved and supported?" Talk about your needs and ask what his are.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock