How To Be A Better Partner
Our counseling office receives a large number of inquiries with the question, how can I be a better partner?
It’s a wonderful question and often one that can with a constructive answer lead to growth and healing in the relationship. I often find that people struggle to give and receive love due to personal challenging experiences that may have taken place. At times, the experiences can be connected to development while at other times they can relate to past relationships.
8 Ways To Be A Better Partner
1. Take ownership of your actions.
One of the key ways that you can be a better partner is by reviewing the history of your relationship and identifying if you can improve in the area of accountability. This simply means that you hold space for your actions and ensure that you own them. This is the opposite of blame. Often what hurts relationships is when partners blame each other.
2. Validate your partner.
When I work with couples, I encourage them to explore the area of validation. The term is found when you share an experience and feel heard and supported. This term can make or break a relationship. Please ensure that you are actively validating your partner versus disregarding their feelings or telling them that they should not feel a certain way.
3. Get to know the 5 love languages.
The author, Gary Chapman wrote the book, the 5 Love Languages. I want to encourage you to read the book, take the quiz, and ensure that you are applying the material. The 5 love languages include physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, quality time, and receiving gifts. To be a better partner you must know how you desire to receive love and how your partner desires to receive love.
4. Continue to work on your own development.
We all have something that we are working on. For some, it’s managing anger while for others it can be learning to improve in the area of organization. One solid way to be a better partner is by reflecting on your life and finding a constructive space to engage in the ongoing work of personal development. You can start by working with a counselor one-on-one. Let the focus be on you. Over time the more you grow the better your relationship will be. Check out this video on improving your relationship without saying a word.
5. Learn from your mistakes.
Mistakes are bound to happen in relationships. They can include interrupting your partner during a conversation to a stronger act of betrayal. At the end of the day, it’s your relationship and you hold ownership of whether you want to heal and recover. As such, it’s vital to learn from your mistakes. This is very different from the act of apologizing and doing it again.
6. Continue to grow into your authentic-self
One of the key items found in successful relationships with when each partner holds the connection to their authentic self. You see, when a relationship starts two people get to know each other and learn all the things that bring them joy. Continue to create a culture in your relationship where you and your partner are able to engage in activities that connect to the authentic self. Check out this video on your authentic self.
7. Provide your partner with personal space
It’s important to remember that your partner was living life independently before you. This is not meant to be a negative remark. Instead, a gentle reminder of the importance of personal space. To be a better partner try giving your partner personal space. This can vary depending on the person. I worked with a couple where personal space for them was taking 45 minutes after work. One of them would get home and immediately change and go for a 45-minute walk. The other took on the additional responsibility. They switched places consistently.
8. Work with a counselor for individual counseling
You do not need to work with a couple’s counselor to improve your relationship. You can in fact work with a counselor on an individual basis and find ample ways to improve your relationship. Individual counseling lets the focus be 100% on you which can truly create the needed space to address the areas that are hurting the relationship while creating space for improvement.
You may struggle with being a better partner due to:
- Experiencing trauma during childhood.
- Having past experiences connected to betrayal.
- Feeling insecure in the future of the relationship.
- Struggling to manage your emotions to the point that you did things you later regret.
- Not understanding what your partner is wanting or needing from you.
Today as you read this, I would like for you to write down what experiences in your life have led to the difficulty in being a better partner. Try to be honest with yourself. Once you have the answers written down shift to practicing the items below.