Everyone wants a relationship that’s loving and fulfilling, right? But how do you keep a relationship exciting and meaningful once the first blush has worn off? The trick is to invest the same commitment and energy in your relationship as you do in your own personal development. As you and your partner grow and change, so must your relationship adapt with you.
Here are four ways to keep your relationship as fulfilling as when you first met, if not more so.
- Manage your expectations
The primary responsibility for your happiness lies with you, not your partner. Neither of you should expect the other to make you happy. Expecting someone else to be responsible for your happiness is unfair, and a recipe for disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Yes, you certainly contribute to each other’s happiness, but that should be the end of your expectations.
- Count to ten
Your mom’s advice about counting to ten before you say something is true, especially if you’re upset. It’s easy to react with blame and anger if your partner does something to hurt you. But take a moment to cut them some slack. It’s unlikely they did it on purpose or with malice. It’s much more likely that it was a mistake, or they acted without thinking. You have a choice about how to react and whether it makes things better or worse.
- Keep your own house in order
Remember that proverb about the pot calling the kettle black? Your relationship will stay in much better shape if you remember your own flaws before you think of pointing to your partner’s. That can be hard to keep in mind when the first bloom of your relationship has rubbed off, and you no longer see each other through rose-tinted glasses.
An adult relationship accepts the other person, flaws and all. Imperfection is part of being human. Next time you notice some aspect of your partner’s behavior or character that you don’t like, take a moment to weigh it against all the things you do like and love about them. How important is it, in the bigger scheme of things, if they leave their socks on the living room floor? Does it really matter if they have to be reminded to take out the trash?
- Stay engaged
A hallmark of a fulfilling relationship is being interested and curious about the other person. Make time to sit down and really talk, not just about everyday things but things that really matter. Ask questions, and really listen to the answers.