We fight, we break up, we kiss, we make up–how many of us are over that pattern? As cliché as it may seem, the new year is a time for rejuvenation and closing the chapter on what was in favor of opening your pages to what’s new. What better way to embrace the new year than with new emotion?
Every relationship is different, but a lot of the ebbs experienced within one are common among all relationships. Do we know how to speak to one another in a language with both understand? Do we know how relate to each other when times are bad just as well as we do when times are good? Do we know how to be here, really be here? Relationships are work, a choice is made every day to continue to build with your partner, but what good is building if the framework is all wrong?
Below are five relationship commandments that will improve your love life in 2016, one day at a time.
THOU SHALL NOT TALK ABOUT THE PAST
That goes for exes and double for bringing up issues that have been laid to rest. Hurt people, hurt people. A lot of times in relationships, a cycle of resentment become passive aggressive behaviors that make waves. Too often we aren’t honest about how something makes us feel and don’t properly address things that stir those feelings, so the circle of hurt goes on and on. A disagreement about date plans becomes about the time he forgot your anniversary two years ago. Why? Address issues as they come; relay to your partner how you feel, forgive, and move forward. A conversation involving negative emotions is not your cue to dig up dirt from the past to throw at your partner in an attempt to hurt him/her the way that you are still hurt. Walks in the park talking and recapping childhood memories can be a beautiful thing, but keep what you have chosen to forgive your partner for out of your love garden. That encourages growth.
THOU SHALL FIGURE OUT WHAT EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION LOOKS LIKE AND UTILIZE IT
Not every blurb of advice is going to work for every couple. Communication is one of those things is often easy when speaking positively or in high spirits, but its real test is how you relate to one another in times of grievances or when the subject at hand is a difficult one. If you’re talking more than listening, you’re probably doing it wrong, and if every tough discussion becomes a fight, you’re definitely doing it wrong. What’s effective for your partner? Do you find that they are more compliant when spoken to directly without accusatory language? Or is it better to write down bullet points about what you wish to say and end things with “can you help me with a solution for this?” Sensitivities get the best of us in high stress situations, so the best thing to do is note what works for you as a couple and save yourself the headache and tears in the wake.
Also, some noteworthy info can be found in this extra credit read The 5 Love Languages.
THOU SHALL NOT INVITE ANOTHER INTO YOUR RELATIONSHIP
A lot of the time issues come about because there are too many cooks in the kitchen. Your best girlfriend knows every grievance you’ve ever had with your man and instead of calming the fire, she fans the flames. People often look at this commandment as an obvious one because when we think about inviting other people into our relationship, our minds automatically go to cheating. But just like there are different ways to cheat, there are different ways for a relationship to be burdened by taking on far too many energies.
THOU SHALL PUT THAT PHONE DOWN
I’m guilty of this sometimes, and honestly have to make a conscious effort to put my phone down because it has become synonymous with curing boredo,m and with time, our attention spans have decreased. I even notice I do it as a response to someone else doing it in front of me. Putting that phone down is not only a sign of respect, but it’s a reminder to stay present. I know Instagram and Snapchat are huge things in this day and age, but if you and yours are spending time together, keep the usies and the food pics to a minimum. It’s the quality of the person around you, not the quality of the photo you’re taking for the likes.
THOU SHALL NEVER FORGET TO TAKE CARE OF THY SELF
It’s a delicate balance that we often do not get right enough. When you are not happy and believe it is an obstacle for your partner to fix, you’re damaging the relationship.
Although your partner should add to that and not subtract from it, it is not their burden to bear. When you forget to have self love or allow your self-care practices to take a backseat to your love life, your career, your family, your friends, etc., you are depleting yourself of your capacity to have good love. That in no way means to be selfish in your relationship, but it is okay to draw boundaries and be selfish with yourself.