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Bringing Out The Best in Your Relationship
by Kali Munro

If you lose your connection with your breath, take a moment by looking down or closing your eyes to reconnect, and then hold eye contact again. Just notice what you are aware of as you do this.

5. Nurture all of your relationships. Try not to isolate yourself in your primary relationship

6. Explore your own creativity, needs, independence, leisure activities, hobbies, career Anything that makes you feel better about yourself, or makes you feel whole and feeds your soul is important and will have a positive effect on your relationship.

7. Take another look. When your partner does something that bothers you

Ask yourself, what does this mean to me? Why am I bothered by this?

Is there anything from my past that is effecting how I am feeling or seeing this right now?

Have I in any way contributed to this issue, perhaps without being aware of it? Is there anything about this issue that might reflect something I don't want to look at within me?

If you are feeling critical or judgmental about your partner's behavior,

step back for a moment and see if you can come up with alternative explanations for that behavior—ones that are less critical

If you need to say something, this is a helpful formula to use: When you...(describe behavior in neutral terms), I feel...(describe feelings without blaming), and I would like to ask that you...(make your request about a concrete behavioral change).

8. Give understanding. Just as you deserve understanding and support, your partner does, too, and it does help to feel understood. Try to see the situation from her/his perspective, especially when you are in conflict.

9. Acknowledge your partner's feelings. You don't have to agree with someone to acknowledge and understand

10. Give your partner lots of appreciation. Let your partner know how much you love her/him and why.

11. Accept your partner the way she/he is. This doesn't mean that you don't ask her/him for behavioral changes, or that you accept, for example, being yelled at. It just means that you accept your partner as a person, and believe in her/his good intentions. Contrary to popular belief, really accepting someone brings out the best in them.

12. Don't make sweeping generalizations. No matter how tempting, try not to make sweeping generalizations like "You never...," "You are always...," "You are such a...."

Besides the fact that they are not true (no one does the same thing all the time, in every situation), they are hurtful statements that leave people feeling bad about themselves, and can feed into a lack of motivation for change. "If I never do anything right, why bother?"

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