Six signs your relationship isn’t working this Valentine’s DayFebruary 12, 2019
It’s the most romantic time of the year.
Shops are filled with red roses, teddy bears and saucy lingerie and couples are gearing up to spend a loved-up night in a fancy restaurant.
We go all out for Valentine’s Day to show how much we care about our significant other.
But one expert has come up with the seven signs every relationship shold pass to prove it’s actally working – and not just on February 14
Author, lecturer and TV psychologist Dr Audrey Tang, has come up with six signs your relationship is healthy.
She said: "The toughest part about relationships is that your behaviour, thoughts and emotions are affected by and have an impact on someone else.
"Yet, it is only your behaviour, thoughts and emotions which you can adapt, alter or assert.
"A relationship audit can help you assess your current relationship status and be the starting point for change, or reassurance that you are both exactly where you would like to be."
Here are Dr Tang’s six checks
1. Am I happy right now?
First think about what being happy means to you.
Is it feelings of contentment? Is it laughing a lot? Is it comfort?
Forget all the “expert advice” – what makes you happy is unique to you.
With so much access to information, it is very easy to forget what you truly connect with, mindful reflection on this question alone can help bring about some clarity.
Once you know how you define happiness, ask yourself if you are feeling that within your relationship.
If you are then move on to the next question.
If not, ask yourself what can you do to make the change you need?
Discuss this with your partner, ideally at a time and place when you are both able to talk openly.
2. Are you and your partner both heading i the direction you both want?
Have an open discussion about how you hope the relationship will progress.
While this may result in an unpleasant realisation that you are not on the same page, it is always better to find out early so you can perhaps find a means of returning to or heading towards the same path.
If not, you may end up allowing expectation and disappointment sour the good and then breaking up on unpleasant terms.
3. Do you and your partner express love in a way that suits you both?
Often we enjoy giving and receiving love in all these ways, but we often have a preference for one or two in particular.
If you enjoy being told you are loved, but your partner prefers to give gifts, then it may feel like they do not “love” you.
All that may be happening is that you are expressing your feelings differently.
Perhaps your partner does not really enjoy the expensive meals you want to give (gifting), but really appreciates it when you take the time to cook beans on toast instead (acts of service).
Maybe you want to spend time together, but they like to be told you love them and then be able to have some time alone.
Discuss your preferences with your partner and see how you can both work with your preferred means of expression.
4. Are you able to forgive?
Every relationship has ups and downs, but when you hold a grudge, it can be like carrying a hot coals and waiting to throw them at someone.
Practicing forgiveness is about acknowledging you were hurt by the behaviour, reflecting on what you have learned about yourself from it, and recognising that the event occurred often because of an skewed belief or choice of reaction from yourself and/or the other person – both of which have reasons.
It is not emotion that will help understanding, but listening, talking, and then finding a way forward where you both feel you can collaborate.
5. Do you appreciate your partner?
Being in a relationship means being part of a team.
Being mindful of your language can be helpful here.
Rather than seeing someone as “your other half” and so completing what was not “whole” before, see yourself as a perfectly fully functioning “whole” and your partner as bringing something extra.
Then with your two whole two hearts and two whole minds it may be possible to achieve greater things that you might have alone.
The practice of gratitude reminds us that we are affected by – and in turn affect – those around us.
It also helps us focus on the present in a positive frame rather than on what could/should/might be or have been.
When your partner does something nice, however small, try to acknowledge it and thank them there and then – if nothing else, the mechanics of conditioning mean that behaviour is more likely to happen again.
6. Solving relationship issues is not just about talking
Talking helps – you need that awareness that there is something that needs to be worked on.
However, just saying “X is wrong” is more likely to lead to frustration and upset.
Having an idea of what you would like as the solution then allows you to offer a means of moving forward.
Of course, be flexible and prepared to listen and perhaps work with suggestions from your partner too.
- Dr Tang’s book, The Leader’s Guide to Mindfulness, is available here .
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