It doesn’t take an expert to figure out that relationships are seriously complicated. We all want our relationships to succeed, however at times we struggle to figure out how to make things work. We often fall into the trap of thinking that if our partner meets our list of prerequisites, our relationship will go smoothly. However the truth is that what we do to improve ourselves is often more important finding a partner that ticks every single box.
“As a psychologist, relationship expert, and dating coach, clients often come to me with a list of things they want in a mate,” wrote Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman on Mind Body Green. “They wonder who’ll be the right partner and how to find them. Yet they rarely ask how to prepare themselves for a long-term relationship, even though they are the one thing under their control.”
According to Dr. Kouffman Sherman, taking time to work on yourself is the single most important thing you can do to ensure relationship success and if you really want your relationships to succeed, it could be time to start thinking more about what you need to work on, instead of just looking for a partner who has zero flaws.
Address your own issues first
We all know what it’s like. In a relationship it’s often easy to point out what is wrong with someone else, but more difficult to recognise what you need to work on for yourself. Past hurts can make it difficult for you and your partner to move forward together and therefore addressing your own issues is important if you wish to have a successful relationship.
“Often fights are especially painful when your spouse triggers an emotional wound from childhood. This may remind you of feeling criticized, rejected, or unimportant as a child and can cause you to overreact and to personalize your mate’s behavior,” Dr. Kouffman Sherman says.
The key to overcoming these past hurts is making an effort to recognise why, when and how you are triggered. If one particular thing keeps setting you off, chances are you need to put some work into this area. “If you need help with this you can go to therapy to learn about your triggers in relationships and how to better work with them,” Dr. Kouffman Sherman explains.
Care for yourself
No matter how good your relationship is, there are going to be times when things get hard. The key to coping with these times is learning how to manage stress so that you don’t have to resort to taking things out on your partner. “There are many internal and external stressors in a marriage so it’s important to cope with stress well,” Dr. Kouffman Sherman explains.
“This can include strategies like exercise, meditation, yoga, problem solving, breathing exercises, and spending time in nature,” she says. Getting enough sleep, maintaining a good diet and taking time to chill out are also important and will help to ensure that stressful times don’t get the better of you. Taking time for yourself may at times feel selfish, but at the end of the day a healthy and happy you will increase your chances of having a healthy and happy relationship.