“Positive” is a popular and enduring buzz word. Healthy and enduring relationships, however, require far more than buzzwords. So, this is not about pithy quotes or casual gestures or an attitude adjustment. Being positive is a way of life — an interactive life choice, in fact!
What Does “Positive” Mean to You?
We commonly hear that peace is more than the absence of war. Health means something deeper than not having a disease. The same thought process applies to the concept of being positive. We cannot banish negativity from our lives. No one can. Therefore, to be a positive partner has nothing to do with setting a low bar, e.g. “stop being negative.”
Positive is a feeling. It’s often a very personal feeling. How you and your partner perceive it will undoubtedly be different than how other couples do so. With this in mind, a productive first (shared) step would be to take stock of your relationship. What feels positive as individuals and as partners? The commitment to exploring these dynamics is — in itself — an act of positivity.
Creating a shared definition for “positive” gives both partners a roadmap of sorts. Sure, the definition will need tweaks over time but it will remain one of the foundations of your connection.
7 Ways to Be a More Positive Spouse or Partner
1. Open the Lines of Communication - Permanently
If it doesn’t begin here, well…it just may end here. Radical, transparent honesty may feel negative on occasion. In the big picture, it is your relationship GPS.
2. Practice Gratitude
As time passes in a relationship, even the most connected partners might feel taken for granted. Never miss a chance to say thank you and/or share a sincere compliment. Appreciation is a big part of positivity.
3. Commit to Mutual Self-Care
Positivity is a blend of the emotional and the physical. Commit together to managing your health to bring out the best in both of you. Exercise, sleep patterns, eating habits, and more — these habits are impactful.
4. Expect and Accept Change and Imperfection
Becoming a positive partner is not a destination, it is a process. Embrace the process and stay ready to evolve and grow in unexpected ways.
5. Establish Independence
Once you commit to a relationship, you must also commit to cultivating three facets of your life. You are a partner, yes, but you also need alone time and social time without your partner. The ability to productively remain independent while still being connected is a skill worth mastering.
6. Learn How to Apologize
We all mess up. Thus, we all have ample opportunity to apologize and atone. Own up to what you did. Express remorse. Promise to never do it again. Live up to that promise.
7. Don’t Take it Personally When Your Partner is Feeling Negative
You may be on the same wavelength and finish each other’s sentences. But…there will be times when your positive to negative ratios don’t line up. Give your partner space to feel what they need to feel without making it about you.
Individual or Couples Counseling as an Option
The seven steps above can establish a sustainable baseline to help you both stay (mostly) in synch. Before this baseline is set, however, you may have some old habits and perceptions that need to be addressed. Some of these factors may not even be fully visible to us or our spouse. This is why many couples choose counseling to help complement their personal journey.
Working with a skilled guide enables you to uncover blocks and obstacles. From there, you’ll create new paths to add to your personal roadmap of positivity. If you’d like help, please contact me soon for a consultation.