Is Your Relationship Thriving or Stagnating?
by Jacquie Wise
Image – Thriving and dying plants
To ensure your relationships (including friendships for that matter) continue to thrive, you need to review if your mutual needs are being met. In much the same way as you review your career, personal or health progress to ensure success, why not do a ‘health check’ of your relationships?
Whether you’re considering entering into a relationship with someone, or questioning the relationship you’re in, here are the most important aspects to consider. Depending on the levels of trust you have, these questions can increase the closeness you feel with your partner.
Or, if something has been feeling a little uncomfortable, you may prefer to think about these things by yourself, before you check with your partner.
These questions say something about how often you engage in conversations about your feelings.
1 Your values or priorities
There are some values that never change, such as honesty or independence. Other values can change as your philosophy or interests change.
If once you valued competition, you might have lost interest in competing, for any number of very good reasons.
Financial priorities may change according to your stage in life.
The key questions to bear in mind, and to discuss together, is whether you’ve both changed in the same direction. How is a change in one person affecting the other, if at all? Are you growing apart?
2 Understanding and being understood
• Do you feel that you understand your partner as a person better, the same, or less well than when you first met?
• Do you feel your partner understands you better, the same, or less well?
• Why? What can you do to improve the situation, if necessary?
List your friends who really mean something to you (not acquaintances, but good friends). Then list your partner’s good friends.
Do you both have roughly an equal number of friends?
Have you dropped any of your friends since you’ve been in this relationship? Has your partner? Why?
4 Validation and praise
How many times did you compliment, thank, or praise your partner over this last fortnight?
How many times did your partner compliment, thank, or praise you?
Are you equal in the ways you support and encourage each other? By how many times do you differ? How often do you each make a thoughtful gesture?
This is not intended to be a competition on how many times you show appreciation. It’s just a means of checking if you’ve both forgotten the importance of validating, affirming and encouraging each other.
How many times did you complain to or about your partner in the past fortnight?
How many times did your partner complain to you (or about you, as far as you know)?
What requests do you need to make of each other to diminish the number of complaints?
(Notice the emphasis on requests. Not demands or whines, but clear requests.)
If one of you is resisting a compromise, it’s important to delve into why. Is it asking too much of you to give up something you value? Are you just being selfish? Is this payback?
Or do you feel you’ve given more than your partner in this relationship and you resent being asked to give in yet another time?
How many times did you show affection to each other in some way—even if it’s just with a spontaneous hug? Do you have similar physical needs?
Do either of you have difficulty showing warmth? Why? Has it always been part of your nature, or has something changed?
List the interests you had before you got involved. (List only those in which you were at least moderately involved.)
List the new interests you’ve both developed since you’ve been together.
How about any interests either of you may have dropped since you got together? Was it your choice? How much do you regret losing them?
It’s not important, or even healthy, to do everything together. A certain level of independence ensures that you don’t suffocate one another.
It’s about having a healthy balance between having enough to share together and giving each other the freedom to each do your own thing.
All of these reflections lead to growth in a relationship.
Even more important is the ability to discuss them openly, in a spirit of curiosity and respect.
Add to that, ways in which you challenge each other as opposed to holding each other back.
And there you have the ingredients of a successful and happy relationship.
If you’d like to discuss these further, contact me directly to arrange a convenient appointment time.
I’d love to know what you think of what I’ve said here. You can give me your feedback, ask a question by email or post a comment below.
If you or someone you know would like a personal consultation, please call +61 3 9690 8159.
Any information presented on our website is of a general nature only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.
Reproducing and Sharing
Jacquie Wise has many articles available for reprinting in your newsletter, website, social media or to pass on to your friends (including this post) that she would be happy for you to share. You can share a direct hyperlink to this post’s URL at anytime.
If you would like to reproduce any articles, Jacquie relies on your integrity to quote the content in its entirety and include the following acknowledgment at the end: © Jacquie Wise – Integrative Coach, Counsellor, Speaker, Trainer and Author, specialising in life, love, work and soul (www.wiseways.com.au)