A Fresh Perspective on your Relationships in 2017

The end of 2015 is quickly approaching. This is a familiar time to observe areas in our lives that may need attention, adjustment, or a significant overhaul. Wherever you are on the road to self-improvement, include your relationships in your year-end review. During the holidays, you may have noticed your romantic partnership could benefit from a tune-up, that you want to develop deeper relationships with your children, or perhaps you need to devote more time to yourself and personal development. The New Year usually prompts us to commit to common resolutions. We dedicate ourselves to losing weight, eating healthier, working less, or saving more. While these are all concerns worthy of our focus, aren’t the quality of our relationships another area for improvement?

How might you begin to identify and evaluate the overall health of your relationships and what you may hope to improve?
First, spend time alone to consider your needs. Are you happy in your relationship? Why or why not? What might improve it? Do you desire more emotional or physical intimacy? Do you wish you could spend more time alone with your partner? Once you identify your own needs, you can formulate a few ideas to achieve them. For example, if you want more time alone, plan regular date nights or research a class you could take together, like painting, yoga, or a Saturday hike. When discussing your needs with your partner, it’s helpful to bring ideas. Doing so tells him or her that you have prioritized the relationship, thoughtfully considered your needs, and that you have brought possible options to the discussion. What if you are concerned about frequent arguing? You may want to suggest a five-minute break in the heat of the conflict or even taking a walk alone to calm down. Be sure when you speak with your partner that you accept responsibility for your contribution to the desired change.
If you want to improve your parent-child relationship, take a similar approach. Always ask what your son or daughter wants from your relationship. Then, discuss how that may happen and offer them the opportunity to contribute ideas. When parents, at appropriate times, take less of an authoritative stance their children usually begin to share their feelings, hopes, and struggles more openly and honestly. Your child, like any other person with whom you relate, needs to know you are trustworthy.

Second, bring your needs and suggestions to a respectful conversation. A respectful conversation is one in which the needs, ideas, and contributions of both parties are valued. If you are unable to discuss concerns respectfully, you may need to work with a therapist to build better communication skills. If both parties struggle to share their needs appropriately, relationship counseling can help before issues grow larger. Once you’ve identified your needs and ideas for improvement, schedule a time for discussion with your partner. Choose a location that is quiet, private, and without distraction so both of you can listen, share, and work toward a mutual plan.
Third, mutually agree and establish accountability. Ideally, your discussion will bring you and your partner closer together, both in desired goals and possible ways to meet them. One forgotten step may be to establish accountability to one another for the changes. Why is it necessary? Without accountability, we succumb to life’s hectic pace and our resolutions can easily become lost in daily distractions. Your relationships are more important than this and deserve to be prioritized. When changes are introduced, schedule regular updates, so you and your partner know what is and isn’t working. If something isn’t achieving your goals, you can alter the plan. Following through on your action steps is just as important or more so than the first two steps. Once again, it tells your partner that he or she and the relationship is a priority for you.

As you begin 2017, I wish you peace, health, and love in all of your relationships!

BY ANITA MARTIN | Love Magazine


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Love Magazine: A Fresh Perspective on your Relationships in 2017
A Fresh Perspective on your Relationships in 2017
Love Magazine
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