Out with the old and in with the new? While most people love to use the New Year to mark the start of new habits, here are 5 things you should give up in order to create a happier, healthier relationship in 2016:
1. Stop sweating the small stuff. Before you pick a fight with your partner about the laundry, unmade bed, or what to eat for dinner, ask yourself – in the grand scheme of my relationship how much does this really matter? Will you be worried about it 1, 3, or even 6 months from now? If the answer is no, let it go, or at best, check your approach.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t voice your opinion or make requests from your partner about things that are important to you. Most bigger arguments aren’t really about what’s happening on the surface, and so if you are feeling your claws coming out over something benign, it may be time to check in with yourself and consider other resentments you may be holding on to.
When there’s something bigger that needs to be discussed, schedule a separate time to do so when you aren’t feeling overcome by emotion and can have a productive conversation about what’s really bothering you. If there are trust issues or there’s been infidelity in the relationship, then it’s time to tackle those issues head on.
2. Stop trying to get everything you need out of your one relationship. We live in a culture where our romantic partner is supposed to be our best friend, greatest confidant, our lover, our ally in parenting, and everything in-between. While all of those roles are fantastic, the image of having them all checked off of the list may contribute to lower satisfaction and disappointment.
When you ask your partner to be all things to you, it sends the message that they are the end-all, be-all in your world. They should definitely be at the top of the priority list for you, however you just can’t get everything you need from one person. Having a healthy set of friendships outside your marriage where you can be authentic, share and receive advice, and gain perspective is just as important.
3. Stop saying maybe when you really mean no. This just sets your partner up for disappointment, and while you may be trying to let them down easily, it’s much more important to be yourself. Showing up genuinely in your relationship is the surest way to have a healthy and intimate relationship.
4. Stop going to bed with your phone. Make the bedroom a cell-phone free zone, and limit other screen time before bed. Those moments before bed when you unwind from a long day can best be spent talking, laughing, and sharing your thoughts with your partner, and this can do wonders for improving your relationship.
5. Stop trying to change your partner. If changes need to be made, you can make requests, but for the most part, people are who they are, and unless they are committed to making changes for themselves, things will likely remain the same.
If there are character traits that bother you it may be time to look at the reasons they are urking you. Chances are those traits were there when you first entered the relationship but you looked past them. Moving forward in a relationship with the intention of breaking someone else’s habit is wasted time and energy and will likely leave you disappointed. Learn to embrace your partner’s flaws and instead look at what changes you can make in terms of your reactions and responses to the things that bug you.
I’m wishing you an amazing 2016, and if you could use some support in dropping some of the habits that are keeping you frustrated in your relationship I’d love to help. You can call me at (909) 226-6124 for a fee phone consultation where we’ll talk about how your relationship can improve in the New Year.