Thursday, November 19, 2009

How to Stay Close to Your Significant Other.

Post 372 - "Even after all this time, the sun never says to the earth, "You owe me." Look what happens with a love like that, it lights the whole sky." ~ Hafez, (the most celebrated of the Persian poets - he lived from 1315 to 1390).

Having a spouse, a partner or a significant other is one of the most important relationships most of us ever have in life. Yet it's easy to grow apart, even when you’re living together. Here are some tips from the experts to help you stay close:

- Listen.
Listening, really listening, increases trust and decreases conflict, resulting in a more satisfying partnership. While this may sound simple, it requires more than being in the same room while your significant other is talking to you. Show that you care by making eye contact, turning off the television, giving your undivided attention, and following up on what you hear. This is especially important if your partner is upset. When you listen carefully, you’re more likely to understand what the issue is and then be able to find a way to help.

- Keep focusing on the positive.
When you first meet, you pay attention to all the things you like about the other person. As time goes on, however, you begin to take them for granted and your focus shifts instead to the things that bother you. If the relationship becomes more negative than positive, you’ll end up breaking up. The solution is to make a conscious effort to stay focused on the things you like. Every partner has many good qualities, as well as things that drive you crazy. So pay attention to the positives and learn to appreciate them. Even write them down occasionally so you won’t forget them.

- Don’t be a nag.
Nagging only creates tension, plus it usually gets you nowhere because your partner will tune you out. If someone isn't giving you what you want, think about what you’re doing instead. Have a dialogue where instead of saying what you don't like, say what you’d prefer. Suggest some alternatives. And always balance your criticisms with lots of positive feedback. That way, you take the edge off your remarks as you express appreciation for your partner's good qualities.

- Spend more time together.
Put "couples time" on your calendar to reinforce your sense of dedication and commitment to each other. Make these private times special by not including others. But don't just limit your interaction to designated couples time. Make time to enjoy each other's company first thing in the morning, at the end of the workday, and just before you go to bed. Use those times to talk about positive things. Make a special effort to greet each other at the end of the day. If you're home first, stop what you're doing when your partner arrives and spend a few moments together. Act like the other person is really important to you, and don’t just treat them like they’re the postman delivering the mail.

- Touch each other often.
In any deep relationship, physical communication is as important as emotional communication. It helps to relieve tension and shows your partner that you care. Go out of your way to show affection, and always sleep in the same bed together. Just assume you're going to have sex every night. It's really hard to fight if you're looking forward to having great sex!

- Own your relationship.
This means accepting responsibility for creating your own experience. You choose the attitudes that you bring into the relationship, and you choose how you act and how you react to your partner in the relationship.

- Accept your partner.
The need for acceptance is so profound that that most issues that cause conflict in a relationship ultimately come down to one or both partners feeling rejected - and, in turn, wanting to feel accepted.

- Promote their self-esteem.
Show your significant other that they’re loved and accepted simply because they exist. Everyone needs to get the message that they’re worthy of love (even if they sometimes behave badly) from the most important person in their life,

So, to summarize all of the above:
- give love with no strings attached,
- show acceptance through your daily expressions of affection, care and concern,
- spend time playing, working and relaxing together,
- tell them often, "I like what you did / said," and "I love you."

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