Moving in with your significant other marks a big change in your life, and sometimes the stress of it all is too heavy for a relationship to bear. We don't come to this decision lightly, and before taking that step, we vow to do whatever it takes to make it work. We get lost when we can't find the tools.
This isn't a list of quick fixes to get you out of the heat, but rather advice that will help build lasting happiness and challenge you to become a better partner in the process. Here are eight ways to make things work after moving in with your significant other:
1. Pay compliments.
You could have told yourself that, but I want you to really challenge yourself here. We have this incredible tool to build someone up or break someone down at any time using our words. Why wouldn't you take full advantage of this?
Now, you can tell your partner he or she is attractive, but your partner has likely heard it before. Your job is to reveal to your partner a side of him- or herself your partner is not aware of.
Dig deep and express admiration for things about your partner that are not obvious. Don't compliment your partner's ability to fluidly play an instrument. Instead, compliment the dedication it took him or her to practice for hours and hours to get to that point.
Make your partner see the light in something he or she isn't even aware of. Now, that's a compliment I'd like to get.
2. When you want an apology, say you're sorry first.
When we feel we have been wronged, our bodies churn. We become so desperate to have our pain acknowledged that it's nearly impossible not to be blind to the other person's needs. Your feelings matter, but your relationship isn't about nurturing yourself. It's about nurturing your partner.
Recognizing the pain you've caused takes your partner's blinders off so he or she fully understand the pain he or she has caused you. Doing this will get you the understanding you're starved for, and it will drastically reduce the duration of your argument.
3. If there's something you don't like about your partner, look to yourself.
It's hard for us to see fault in ourselves. We often block things that don't abide with our image of strength or perfection. Weaknesses make us uncomfortable.
If there's something about your partner that's bothering you, check in with how you're feeling about yourself. We often pick up on the faults of others, when they have the same faults we see in ourselves.
Try reflecting and giving yourself a little compassion, and see if you feel differently. Unconditional love for your partner starts with unconditional love for yourself.
4. Have appreciation for your partner.
Appreciation is how we color our experiences. The more we express gratitude in regard to our partners, the more our brains are primed to see other things to be thankful for. Taking the extra moments every morning to admire your partner's gorgeous sleeping face before you get out of bed will leave you missing him or her all day, and you'll excited to be reunited after the work days are over.
5. Give what you need.
When we feel like we're not getting something we need in our relationships, it's easy to become bitter and take out our resentment on our partners. Your partner will pick up on your cold demeanor, and you will get even less of what you feel you're lacking.
If you feel like your partner isn't appreciating something you're doing for him or her, chances are, you're taking something he or she is doing for granted as well. When we give what we need, we create a warm, open space where those needs will much more likely be addressed.
6. Be vulnerable.
Don't sell short the scary stuff by saying it in a funny voice. Have the courage to look your partner in the eyes when you say, "I'm so deeply in love with you." If you feel it, say it.
Don't be afraid to let your partner know how incredible you think he or she is. It will never take away from how incredible you are yourself. Unexpected thoughtful comments shake the dust off our souls and build on long-lasting connections.
7. Don't play games.
The pull to use guilt or play other games with someone is so seductive when we feel we've been wronged. It's hard to admit we care enough that we let our partners hurt us. So, we pretend we're fine, employ the silent treatment and make sarcastic remarks.
All our anger stems from pain. When you talk about how you feel, talk about the pain over the anger. If your communication regarding the situation doesn't include the words “I feel," you're probably playing games.
8. Stress test the hard stuff.
Before you take the plunge, brainstorm all the hard things you may run into now that you'll be living together. What amount of alone time do you expect to have once you live together? Who's going to shop for and cook meals? Laundry? Cleaning?
Talking out how you'll resolve the situation, prior to when your actually in the heat of it, will help soften the impact when the actual situation arises. Living together can be a magnifier of both the good and bad aspects of your relationship, and you can no longer get away with neglecting things that weren't a big deal when you both lived separately.
Living with your partner can be difficult at times, but it's not where love lands that creates lasting happiness. It's where we do the work to make that love stay. Living with your partner can be amazing if you're willing to do the work.