Start today because we can all benefit from making some changes.

Being in a marriage or committed partnership all requires work. 

Think about what type of partner you would like to be, and where you could make some improvements. Do you need to work on your communication, or try to connect more with your partner, are you aware of yourself and your bad habits? 

We all have areas that we need to work on. Do a check on yourself and reflect, decide to focus on some small steps to make your relationship better. 

Based on my 15+ years of experience in relationship therapy, I’ve curated a list of key suggestions to help you be a better partner and improve your relationship. 

1. Make time to connect every day.

Connection is so important to our relationships but can go by the wayside in our busy day to day lives. Make sure to greet your partner in the morning and in the evening when returning from work. Remember to check in on how their day has been. Take time to actually look at your partner, make eye contact. Being present with your partner will definitely make you feel more connected. At the end of the day kiss your partner good night.

2. Validate your partner.

We all want to feel understood and accepted by our partners. Even if you do not totally agree, it is important to have honest and open communications, and accept and acknowledge your partner’s feelings. Your feelings are your own and no one can tell you how to feel.

3. Practice responding rather than reacting.

In today’s stressful life with so many things that are constantly changing, it can lead to being permanently on edge and highly strung. So instead of just reacting to a comment from your partner, take a breath, or count to 10 before just blurting and responding. This will help soften the response and avoid you saying something you might regret.

4. Prioritise your mental and physical health.

This is incredibly important and a very attractive attribute in a partner. Be proactive in taking good care of yourself, be responsible. By being self-aware of areas you need to work on and learning tools to help yourself grow as a person.

5. Decide on how you split up household chores.

Sometimes men are not aware of all the little and at times crucial things women might do in their days that help to keep the house running smoothly. Sit down and negotiate what is fair and who does what. This will go a long way to more harmony in your home and relationship.

6. Practice taking the lead.

Usually in a couple there is one person who is more proactive or good at organising things. Just because they are good at it does not mean they always want or have to do it. At times it would be a welcome relief for the other partner to own something completely. From having the idea, to actioning the idea – step up and take a turn. It will be worth it.

7. Do what you said you would do.

This makes you a reliable partner, and builds trust, one of the most important aspects to having a relationship. 

8. Learn your partner’s love language.

Then you can do an act of love and it will help your connection and communication and your partner will respond positively by doing an act of love for you. You can both feel cared for in the way that you would both prefer to have love shown to you. 

9. Be positive. Practice gratefulness. 

Aim to see the positives in life and be grateful. There is nothing worse than a partner getting home and having a gut load of negative conversations to offload on the one at home. At times there are difficult conversations that need to be had, but always start by trying to be upbeat and cheerful. Ease into the conversations. 

10. Carve out more quality time together. 

This is not just watching tv together or hanging around at home. It is a good idea to actually get out of your home, as there are always going to be things competing for your time there. Go out for a cheap and cheerful to a local restaurant with a bottle of wine, go out for a walk and a coffee, or a scenic drive, take a hike, hire a canoe, go on a picnic, explore the city – the list goes on. Take time to do something together, have an experience, have time to really talk and listen to each other.  

Remember to put your electronics away. And your communication and connection will flow.

11. Set goals together. 

Having shared goals lets you work towards something together. This brings interest into the relationship and is future focussed which is always a positive thing. Set time aside to talk about the goals and the steps to achieving them. 

This makes you partners in life and brings you closer together.

12. Be kind.

And lastly be kind to one another! Often, we are kind to people in the queue at Woolworths, or in the office and we forget about our partner. Being kind is key.