Looking for relationship advice? There are literally thousands of books written for women looking to improve their relationship, not to mention television talk shows, magazine articles and a multitude of blogs. Don’t have a lot of time to read books or sit down in front of the TV? Here are some of the best tips for women looking to find and keep a great relationship:
1. Have your own life, interests and dreams
The number one relationship mistake a woman can make is getting too wrapped up in her partner’s world, neglecting to develop and maintain her own passions. How many women do you know who seem to take on their husbands’ favorite hobbies, thinking that this is a proof of love? Too much togetherness can dim the spark of any relationship, even the happiest one. You had a life before your met your partner; make sure you continue to do those things that made you the person he fell in love with. You love running, and your husband is more of a golfer? Keep up your training and let him hit the back nine on weekends. When you meet up later for a drink, you’ll be all the happier to see each other! Men love women who have their own identities and opinions, so don’t let your interests fall to the wayside just because you are in a relationship.
2. Don’t be needy
This is related to the previous tip about having your own life. Yes, men like to feel needed. (He loves it when you hand him a jar to unscrew for you.) But they don’t like it when you are needy. Resist the urge to check on him by text, email and phone calls continually. Leave some breathing space between you, especially if you have just begun the relationship. That breathing space is where all the magic happens—the moments when he will be thinking of you and wondering what you are doing. If you are constantly updating him, nothing will be left to his imagination.
3. Learn how to communicate in a healthy way
None of us are born perfect communicators. Just as babies need time to learn to speak, couples need time to learn healthy and respectful ways to communicate with each other. Women can all too often fall into the trap of passive communication: fearful of upsetting others, we find indirect, ineffective ways to say what we mean. When our partner doesn’t understand the message we are trying to convey, we get upset. Men are not mind readers, so it is worth it for women to learn the best techniques to communicate their needs and desires in ways that are clear, yet warm and kind.
4. Don’t keep problems to yourself
Your mother may have shared an excellent piece of relationship advice with you: “Never go to bed angry.” It’s an old tip, but still relevant. Women can fall into the trap of not speaking up about things in the relationship that bother them, preferring to store these issues inside and hope things will get fixed on their own. Unfortunately, it rarely works that way. Use the communication techniques you have mastered, and open up the conversation so that your husband knows something is wrong. Let him be a part of the solution.
5. Care for others, but practice self-care first
Women are natural nurturers, and much of our pleasure comes in taking good care of others, including our husbands. It is also essential that we practice self-care before we can be good caregivers to those we love. There is nothing wrong with a bit of self-indulgence: a spa day, for example, or a weekend solo devoted to whatever your own passion is. Investing in some self-care will pay off royally: you will return to your nurturing role replenished and revived.
6. Thank him
Men love it when you thank them for doing a “manly” task. Did your husband spend Saturday power washing the patio? Be sure to tell him what a great job he did and how you can’t wait to have friends over for a barbecue so you can show off his terrific work. Men can sometimes feel that their efforts around the house don’t get noticed so showing your gratitude for these tasks is super appreciated.
7. Understand that relationships are not all kittens and clouds all the time
Every single couple goes through rough times. Even that couple that consistently presents a picture-perfect life on their Facebook page. It is a mistake to think that conflict in a marriage is bad and should be avoided at all costs. The reality is this: it is in the tough moments that you and your partner will have an opportunity to deepen your relationship, through discussing and finding a way through whatever situation is testing your marriage. Ask any older couple how they ended up so strong—they will surely tell you that “fighting well” is part of the equation.
8. Accept him for who he is
One of the best pieces of advice you’ll read is this: When someone shows you who he is, believe him. You met and fell in love with your man for what he was. Not someone you hoped he’d become. Many women fall in love with an ideal of what they want from a man, and then, when the man doesn’t live up to that ideal, they become disappointed and even disdainful towards their partner. Don’t make that mistake. Love your man for who he is, including all his faults and, most importantly, all his great points.