Here are a couple simple ways to enhance your relationship by creating more trust and respect:
1. Make sure you tell your partner what you love about them often. Pat them on the back for their accomplishments even if it is something they do routinely. If you constantly serve up criticism, break the habit. You may be surprised how this can change your relationship for the better.
2. If your partner does something or says something that angers you or doesn’t fit your vision of life together, be curious. Find out where she/he is coming from. If you tell your partner he/she is wrong or they make no sense, there is no room for productive discussion. They interpret you as saying their thought is invalid and they are invalid. The result is usually a defensive argument, with each of you at some level defending your self-worth and sense of pride. Alternatively, you could say I respect your opinion and at first thought disagree. Respecting each others opinion can lead to a rich open discussion that may bring you closer instead of separating you even more.
3. If you are holding on to a criticism that you believe needs to be expressed, pick a time when you both are relaxed and in a mellow mood. Ask her/him if this is a good time to hear something that may be difficult. If they say no, try to arrange a different time. Giving your partner a choice when to hear difficult words is not only showing respect, but contributes to a more positive outcome.
In the next blog I will discuss how to communicate criticisms. In the mean time good luck and may you have harmony in your life.