happy relationship

How to understand your partner better for a happy relationship

Understanding what makes your partner feel loved can help you navigate conflict and build a mature, trusting and loving relationship.
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A strong relationship needs love, commitment, forgiveness, support and most of all—an emotional connection. Understanding what makes your partner feel loved can help you navigate conflict and build a mature, trusting and loving relationship. Understanding your partner can be referred to as emotional intelligence, or being aware, sensitive and intuitive of your partner’s emotions. When you know how your partner is likely to feel and react in a certain situation, you can understand and support them in a better way and build a happy relationship.

The best way to become a more understanding partner is to listen, support, forgive, apologise and refrain from passing judgments. This is possible by routinely checking in with yourself, your partner and your relationship to see how things are going and make changes as necessary.

You can develop a deeper understanding of your partner’s feelings and emotions by listening to them attentively. Also, it is important to ask your significant other the right questions to know them better. Being an understanding partner in a relationship implies a mutual appreciation for each other and respecting one another as you are.

However, it’s not always easy to understand how your partner feels. Some people are better at it than others, but with practice and intent, you can improve. Here are some effective ways to become a more thoughtful and understanding partner for a happy relationship.

Be a good listener

Being a good listener means you focus on understanding what your partner is saying, rather than thinking about what to say next. To truly listen, you must give your undivided attention and put your own plans and needs aside. To make sure you have understood what your partner is trying to convey, restate what your partner said in your own words. Then, ask for feedback to make sure you understand their point of view. Also, do not interrupt your partner since it devalues their ideas and disrespects their opinions. Listen from your heart and show empathy. Acknowledge their opinion by saying, “I can understand how this could be frustrating or exciting.” Such validation goes on to show that you are paying attention to the emotion behind the words. Enabling your partner to communicate openly and feel they have been heard, builds intimacy and makes you an understanding partner.

Be supportive

One of the most important aspects of being in a happy relationship is to be a supportive partner—someone who can be relied upon. On the contrary, if you fail to show any interest and support towards your partner, it can make them feel neglected and unloved. Be sympathetic when they’re upset and need to talk. Offer them a helping hand when they need it. For example, help them with household chores when they’ve spent extra hours at work. When your partner makes a request, respond effectively and act on the request promptly. Validate your partner’s opinions and choices with encouraging words such as, “You always have the best ideas” or “I’m proud of you”. Being an understanding partner is about wanting what’s best for your partner, and not holding them back from following their dreams.

Keep your cool during disagreements

Disagreements aren’t always pleasant, but they are part of any relationship. It is normal to feel angry or upset when your partner lets you down or hurts your feelings. However, when an issue arises, make sure you allow your partner to explain their perspective before you start reacting. Focus on talking your way to a solution instead of acting on your emotions. Replace sarcasm and harsh criticism with gentle words. Avoid name-calling, insults and character assassination at all costs. An understanding partner paves the path to resolve conflicts and arguments without humiliation or insisting on being right.

Master your communication skills

Effective communication with your partner involves talking openly and honestly about each other’s thoughts and feelings. It includes sharing your experiences, listening to your partner and accepting your partner’s thoughts without criticism or blame. Use “I” statements to describe your feelings rather than blaming your partner for something. For example, you can say, “I felt sad when you did not come to visit my mom with me.” This statement is less likely to put your partner on the defensive and lead to an argument. Also, ask deeper questions to better understand your partner’s goals, dreams, fears, values and motivations that shape their life. Such communication can improve your bond as a couple and teach you something new about each other, leading to a happy relationship.

Show love and appreciation

Perform little acts of love and appreciation for your partner to show you love them. Let your partner know on a regular basis what you admire about them and what makes you proud of them. It can be a verbal or physical gesture or a material one. For example, pack some food from their favourite restaurant or get up early and bring them breakfast in bed. When you’re out shopping, buy a little surprise gift for them. Also, use physical affection as often as you can to show your love. Showing physical affection can be as easy as kissing, holding hands, hugging or just putting a hand around your partner’s shoulder.

Give your partner space

In any relationship, it is normal to want closeness, but you also want space. The key to a happy relationship is finding the right balance in supporting each other, while at the same time giving each other enough space so that neither one feels a loss of individuality. Avoid hovering over your partner and trying to solve all their problems for them. A research study called The Early Years of Marriage by Dr. Terri Orbuch found that having enough space or privacy in a relationship is more important for a couple’s happiness than having a good sex life. An understanding partner has enough faith in their significant other to know when to step back. Spending time alone or with other people can enable a couple to grow as individuals. This way, you can both bring something new to your relationship, and keep it exciting and engaging.

Respect your differences

A mature and happy relationship is one where both partners can be themselves. Don’t judge or criticise your partner for their ideas and interests. Part of what makes a relationship thrive is the differences. Your partner can help you see the world from new perspectives, enabling you to discover yourself better. In his book Marriage: Experience the Best Dr Steve Stephens writes, “Opposites stretch us beyond ourselves, forcing us to broaden our horizons. They add depth and provide opportunities for growth.” You can show your partner that you embrace their choices by making your differences work for you. For instance, you can accompany them to their favourite art show or sports match, even if you’re not interested in those activities. Being supportive and open-minded can help a couple better understand each other and grow closer, despite their differences.

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