How to Improve Your Relationship’s Potential and Avoid Displeasure
The title of this article may have caught your attention because you have disappointments in your relationship that stand in the way of recognizing if it has potential for lifelong happiness.
In order to overcome the feelings of displeasure and frustration, appreciation of the positive things you experience with your partner is necessary.
Your attention might be placed on issues that make you feel stuck in a failed relationship that is hopeless. The contrary might be true, but the negative issues tend to overwhelm you and leave little room for awareness of the good things.
In each of the following sections, I’ll review ideas that can help change your perception of an imperfect relationship by concentrating on the things that could result in happiness and a rewarding experience.
Do You See Growth Potential?
The future can be wonderful and rewarding, but you need to be sure that your relationship is going in the right direction. If it’s stagnant with no plans for a lifetime together, something is wrong. In most cases it’s due to miscommunication, or lack of communication altogether.
Putting the disappointments aside, can you say that you have good experiences with your partner? Can you agree with any of the following statements about your relationship?
- It could result in a lifetime of happiness.
- It could become a rewarding experience.
- Your relationship with your partner usually does meet your needs.
- Your rapport with your partner is generally warm and comfortable.
If you feel these four statements are true then your relationship is not one to dismiss so readily. Good relationships with a wonderful partner are hard to come by as it is. It may be possible to look beyond the feelings of disappointment by focusing on the positive. Consider the future together. Think it through in your mind. Do you see growth potential?
A strong relationship that continues to grow requires emotional intimacy to be successful. This means a closeness that allows insightful communication, an understanding of expectations, appreciation for different preferences and priorities, and a willingness to find common ground. Let's examine each of these ideas in more detail.
How to Communicate with Your Partner
If something is bothering you, don’t hold it in. Discuss it with your partner. He or she may not even have been aware that they are doing something that is troubling you.
You only run into trouble if your partner does not wish to listen or discuss the issue. If you find yourself in an argument, try to determine if you are not explaining yourself well, or if your partner is a non-listener.
The latter is difficult to overcome, but there are methods of getting through. It has to do with expressing your feelings in a way that they relate to. Giving examples of how they might feel if the tides were tuned the other way will help.
Make productive statements, not condescending remarks. Focus on solving a problem rather than trying to win an argument. Sometimes you may just have to compromise.
You need to both be on equal ground and discuss things with fairness and a good understanding of where the other is coming from with their feelings. Remember that you are in this together as a team.
Expectations in a Relationship
When we have too many expectations we may be disappointed if things don’t turn out the way we had hoped. We might envision way too much more than our partner can offer.
Start by thinking about what you actually want from the relationship. Was it based on things you already saw possible? If not, was it based on dreams you’ve had all your life—of a future you wanted to have?
The next step is to come to terms with reality. Try to adjust your thinking to the way things are and not about the way you thought it ought to be. This might be difficult to do. You might even be saying I’m asking for too much from you, but this is reality. This is the life we have. Go with the flow. You may never have it so good again.
Once you have your mind focused on what you have, you may find yourself appreciating it more often.
Be Mindful of Your Partner’s Needs
You have your own needs, and it’s okay to expect your partner to appreciate what they are. However, never forget that your partner has needs too. For example, your partner may prefer doing things together a lot while you feel the need for “alone time” more often.
You can’t always have it your way. When you detect that there are different preferences with needs not being met, work on an acceptable compromise.1
Go back to the section on communicating with you partner. The concepts I explained are important. Put it to good use. I know from my one experience with failed relationships that the culprit was always a failure to communicate. And that means being mindful of your partner's needs. (Of course you should expect the same in return.)
Find Some Common Ground
I think that everything that happens in a relationship is valuable for growth. Even though differences can sometimes cause problems in a relationship, it can actually enhance it too. Those differences can be the ingredients for growth since one’s partner can introduce new viewpoints to consider.
Each of you may have unique priorities and values, but some common ground needs to be addressed.
It’s vital to recognize your partner’s reaction while having this discussion in order to find a mutual understanding. Body language is useful in this case since smiles or frowns can indicate more than words will ever say.2
In the process,
- Differences can be discussed.
- Conflicting opinions can be examined.
- And fears can be shared.
This can be the most important communication you may ever have with your partner.
The Power of Two
Learning from one another and teaching each other new ideas can be gratifying and even pleasurable. Sharing different ways of looking at things and considering one another’s views of life can enhance awareness. Think of it as the power of two.
A relationship creates a new identity. In addition to the identities of each individual, their relationship has its own identity based on the combination of the two individual personalities.
Make a Mutual Plan for Rebuilding Together
Joining forces to work on a mutual plan to rebuild a failing relationship with good communication and fairness can reinforce trust and mutual respect. These are elements of a healthy relationship.3
When partners work on a common goal of rebuilding together, they feel more attached to one another as a team. They each learn how dependable their partner is while working on improving their relationship.
The act of sharing mutual interests will also give them something to focus on rather than having issues with negative concerns. Making a plan they both work on together can be a game changer.
Disappointments are a normal part of life. We can’t expect every day to be wonderful. Nevertheless, it’s nice to know we have a partner who is on our side, someone who is there for us in our time of need, and someone who is interested in our happiness and takes pride in being in the relationship as a team player.
To be a team player in a relationship you need to share and appreciate one another’s priorities, values and goals. These may change over time, but being conscious of it and discussing these things is the key to an everlasting relationship.
I believe the thing that draws two people together is shared views of what they both are living for. Their values and their dreams are on the same wavelength. They have some sort of an understanding and agreement of what life is all about.
Questions & Answers
© 2018 Glenn Stok