While working on building your relationship is important to do as a team, there are still many ways that you can do some work for yourself in your relationship. Each person can individually do work to identify their expectations from the relationship, their personal needs, and their communication preferences. We put together a list of ways that you can individually do some work for your relationship.
1) Identify past patterns that could show up in the current.
This can be really helpful and can offer insight into our past selves. If we do not address past behaviors that maybe we were not happy about, they can come up in current relationships. This can cause chaos or conflict in the present. A helpful tip in addressing past patterns is to try and dig into the role we played in past conflicts and reflecting on the personal reactions to conflicts. Then try brainstorming ways or manner we would like to do things differently. Meditating and journaling can be really helpful when self reflecting.
2) When in conversation learn to listen, not react & respond.
When different situations come up in a relationship, whether conflict or joy, our own immediate reactions and desire to respond can distract us from actually taking a step back and assessing the situation. To your partner, this can look like interruption or invalidation. Listening to a partner's experience can help build communication, especially when your partner feels heard. This is not meant to negate authentic and genuine reactions but instead allow time to process with reflective listening and focus on the conversation, not just what we want to immediately say.
3)Ask your partner for feedback.
“What is working with how I am in this relationship and where can I grow”.
Feedback done in a gentle and kind manner can be very helpful in a relationship. The saying “we don't know what we don't know” comes to mind with this sentiment. So allowing ourselves to be curious about our partner's feedback can be really powerful. A helpful tip in asking for feedback from our partner is to allow space for both areas of growth as well as areas of enjoyment. Make sure to be in a healthy state of mind for this activity as responses made out of defensiveness can be harmful and not productive. This concept is meant to allow for growth and knowledge that relationships cannot be perfect 100 hundred percent of the time and there is space to welcome conversations around growth and progress in the relationship. Uncomfortable and challenging conversation can allow for this growth.
4) Read, listen to podcasts.
In the age of Instagram, Spotify, and other social media outlets, there are hundreds of resources, books, and podcasts that can help you learn more about relationship wellness and individual needs within relationships. You can also take a look at past coBlossom blogs to learn more about relationship wellness.
5) Be open to counseling.
If we are noticing things that are happening to us, it's okay to ask for external support. Sometimes we need to unlearn things to better ourselves and our relationship, and counseling can help a lot with this.
A helpful tip here would be to take time to check in with your partner's emotional and mental health. Ask questions that could be like “What does your emotional health look like right now.” “Could you benefit from outside support to help”. Using praise and empathy can be really helpful in these situations as they can open the door to allowing a partner to feel safe and confident in asking for help.
Looking for an exciting way to continue growing your relationship? Busy but want some quick date ideas or activities that you can do with your partner? coBlossom is a new, fun app for couples that offers flexible minigames designed for busy couples, providing positive boosts to your relationship each day. Couples will benefit from building healthy relationship habits to achieve their couple goals!