Every relationship is endlessly multifaceted. That means you have infinite opportunities to make yourself and your partner happy. Happy, healthy relationships are ones in which both people are regularly getting their needs met. Half of that equation is meeting your partner where they are and giving them what they need.
Recently, I challenged myself to test this theory on my own relationship. We had planned a five-day trip, and I decided to make the trip about how happy I could make my partner and see how that would affect our relationship as a whole.
Relationships can get tough sometimes. You both have busy schedules and face external stressors like deadlines, kids, and sleep-deprivation. Even just these few things can create friction between you and your partner. That friction can negatively color your interactions for the entire day.
External factors often negatively pound away relationships repeatedly, eventually leading to the weakening and eventual breakdown of the relationship. So my challenge to myself was to become aware of how I acted toward my partner in every interaction and make conscious choices in my treatment of her.
Unsurprisingly to most of you (I suspect), the experiment brought us much closer together. It helped build even more love and compassion. We kept telling each other how close we felt, and how happy we were.
So, what actually changed? In retrospect, it was all so simple.
1. I thought through my verbal responses in even the smallest of our interactions.
The key word here is respond rather than react. The former requires thought. The latter does not. I complimented her throughout the day.
2. I made physical intimacy a consistent, conscious habit.
I held her hand and kissed her frequently. I slept with my body touching hers at night.
3. I prioritized meaningful conversation and focused attention.
I would sit down with her and make time for meaningful conversation. I generally paid close attention to how I treated her physically, emotionally, and mentally on a daily basis.
After going on this five-day challenge, I realized that it's still the simple things that make up a consistently great relationship.
These aren’t groundbreaking ideas. But if you follow them consistently, your relationship is likely to see drastic improvement. .
External factors play a huge part in how we treat our significant others, unless we consciously curb that tendency. So, focus on what you can control—be the best partner you can be.
Try a challenge like this in one of your relationships—a romantic or platonic one. The goal is to uncover the ideal version of your relationship—one in which you make your decisions, instead of letting your circumstances make them.
I would love to hear how your challenge goes. Please feel free to connect with me to discuss what worked or didn't work for you.