United We’re Stronger and More In Love
How will being united and having the same goals and expectations help your relationship?
Ha, right, if relationships were simple we wouldn’t have so many questions. Start by reading these tips and putting them into action with your own relationship.
Let’s tackle how having conversations around your expectations can feel supportive. How regular check-ins with your partner can stop negative patterns in their tracks and how avoiding neutrality is a positive in relationships.
When we decide to be committed to one another, we bring our own story to the relationship. This story influences our reactions to each other and how our relationship looks. Oftentimes, when we get into a relationship, we do not talk about our differences. Differences in how we were raised, expectations around having a family, how we want to spend our free time and how we want to spend our money. Keep in mind, you WILL approach things differently. These differences can lead to misunderstandings, miscommunications and ultimately distance between partners. Especially, if these misunderstandings are not met with conversations geared toward understanding.
It is our responsibility to come together and intentionally make our own family culture. This means making our life, our relationship, and our family what we want it to be. This can include different rituals, traditions, and habits that you both bring to the relationship. This can also be a culture of how you communicate within a relationship. What does that mean? We have the power to shape how we interact with one another. Do we want to talk about hard things before we build resentment toward each other? Most likely. Do we want to state what feels obvious about a situation if it helps us avoid criticism or contentment? Yes! Do we want to foster a place of curious questioning instead of assuming the worst? Of course!
Here are three ways to make a united front a reality:
Conversations Around Expectations:
Have the two of you ever talked about expectations for your relationship or marriage?
First things first, let’s set the obvious ones 🙂
- Being respected
- Being treated with kindness
- Being shown love
- Being shown affection
When we are in a loving relationship, we also expect loyalty and our relationship to be void of emotional and physical abuse. Having these conversations early on or when we notice something come up will help us set the stage for how our relationship will look. When we feel like we are on the same page with these expectations we feel safer in our relationships and know how to be supportive of the other.
The felt importance of “my partner has my back” is so strong. Knowing that my partner will “choose me” even in tough conversations where opinions might differ offers that added safety that my partner will not “throw me under the bus” or act in a way that might tear me down to make them look good at my expense. This is a powerful and true way to show our partner that their thoughts, feelings and convictions are important.
It also helps to discuss expectations around:
- Decision making
- Discipline (if you have kiddos)
- Household duties
Remembering that the goal is not to have a perfect relationship but to to have a starting point for when things start feeling off or if resentments could be starting to build.
Having regular check-ins where we show appreciation for the helpful things our partner is doing keeps us on positive end of the spectrum. If we lose sight of some of the positives we can fall into a space where we notice more negatives than positives and can get stuck going down a negative spiral. The more positives we see and acknowledge (that’s the important part, the acknowledging) the more positive we will see and vice versa. Appreciation is key to staving off resentment and for keeping us engaged with each other in ways that feel good.
Ways to check-in with your partner:
I have noticed you doing this_____ and it has been helpful for me.
How many times have we tried to comfort our partner by telling them “it’s not that big of a deal,” or “why do you let that bother you so much, you are overreacting.”
In these moments, you might be thinking you are trying to help by calming their nerves or helping them to see that it’ll be ok.
What this really does to your relationship is cause your partner to feel invalidated and that their feelings are unimportant. This may seem like a small thing but if this is continual it can cause deep hurts and erode trust.
It feels like my partner is taking the other’s side, not cool.
It helps to ask yourself “what is this for me?” Why am I wanting to minimize something they feel so strongly about?
- Are big feelings uncomfortable for me
- Am I trying to fix this
- Am I trying to help
- Do I not want them to feel that way
What do we do about this? A great place to start is to listen. Take a breath and ask them what it’s like for them and what feels so hard about this situation. Get curious about your partner’s perspective. When we do that they feel supported, valued and important. This is different than agreeing with them it’s searching for understanding and validating it for them.
If this is a pattern you have fallen into it can be changed right away.
This is how:
- Acknowledge your invalidating actions
- Listen to learn their perspective
- Show up for them/I’m here for you
In making these changes and correcting things in this way trust will rebuild and the two of you will construct a safer relationship full of support and validation.
Take these tips and use them to improve your connection and be a more united and attuned couple.
When this feels hard reach out. I’d love to help!