Have you ever seen two people in love and immediately thought they were a match made in heaven?
Here’s the thing.
At least one of them knows how to be a better partner.
The truth is, falling in love is easy! Anyone can embrace the overwhelming, intoxicating, and out-of-control way another person makes them feel. But the hard part is choosing to stay in love.
Staying in love goes beyond the head-over-heels feeling you have in the initial stages of your relationship. Choosing to stay in love means deeply caring and loving your partner even when they are not very likable.
As you can imagine, this is no easy task, yet anyone who wants to be a better partner (and not just a fair-weather lover) must learn to genuinely express love for their significant other in good and bad times.
Learning to become a better partner can keep the spark in your relationship alive and make others see you and your partner as a match made in heaven!
If that’s what you want, keep reading as I share 12 straightforward tips on how to be a better partner in your relationship.
1. Learn Your Partner’s Love Language
First things first, learn what your partner understands as a heartfelt expression of love.
You may be giving your significant other all the love you know how to give. But if they can’t receive what you are giving, your heartfelt effort is less likely to elicit any appreciable response.
This is why it is important to give love in a way that your partner will best receive it. In other words, learn their love language and speak it fluently.
The five love languages are:
- Words of affirmation
- Quality time
- Acts of service
- Physical touch
- Gift giving
Learn how these different expressions of love work and identify which “language” your partner understands better.
But it’s not only about learning your partner’s love language. Encourage them to learn yours and speak it, too! That way, you won’t feel left out.
Your relationship may experience frequent misunderstandings, disappointments, and unintentional hurts if there’s a language barrier preventing you from speaking a common love language.
Understand how your better half would prefer to receive love from you and how they express their love to you. This way, you will both appreciate each other’s actions and respond appropriately.
2. Don’t Try to Change Your Partner
Accept your partner or spouse as they are instead of trying to make them be what you would prefer.
This is why dating is so important; it helps you understand the character of the person you’re hoping to start a relationship with.
You may unintentionally hurt your partner’s feelings even when you are only trying to help them improve.
For example, telling your partner, “You will look great if you start working out,” sounds like a good thing, but what they hear is, “You don’t look great as you are, so I want you to change!”
These so-called harmless suggestions can damage your partner’s self-image and self-esteem and may even hurt your relationship over time.
Want to know how to be a better partner and encourage your significant other to do something differently without sounding like you want to change them?
Try this: ask what interests them instead of telling them what to do.
The first approach – telling them what to do – will make them feel like you are changing them to suit your ideal. The second approach – asking what interests your partner – puts them in charge of improving themselves.
3. Appreciate Your Partner’s Contributions
It doesn’t matter if you do most of the heavy lifting at home or in your relationship; it is crucial to never take your partner’s efforts for granted, even if they are only little contributions.
Appreciate them for getting up early to get the kids ready for school. Thank them for taking out the trash. Express your gratitude when they prepare your meals. Be appreciative when they provide for the family.
Taking these contributions for granted is easy, but you shouldn’t fall into that trap if you want to be a better partner.
Never fail to thank your significant other for making your life easy. Always let them know that they are highly appreciated for everything they do.
4. Show Care for Your Partner’s Family Members
We all come from families and want to support and care for them as much as possible.
Genuinely caring for your partner’s family members can show your significant other that you’re interested in everything about them. It is also a step in the right direction if you want to improve self-esteem in your relationship.
Moreover, establishing a harmonious relationship with your in-laws (or future in-laws) is always better than having a strained relationship. Who knows, you might even need their help and support in some ways.
Essentially, caring for your significant other’s family members is not only one of the ways to be a better partner, but it can also be beneficial for you.
5. Appreciate Your Partner’s Perspective (Even if You See Things Differently)
No two people share the same views about everything, no matter how deeply in love they are. And that’s a good thing because the world would be boring if we were all exactly alike.
Be open to your partner’s viewpoint and listen when they share their opinions. Don’t feel they judge you; don’t be defensive when sharing your perspective.
If you behave as if your partner is trying to attack you by airing their views, you shut them down, and it can be difficult to get them to come out of their shell again.
Here’s a key point in being a better partner: always appreciate your partner’s perspective, even if you have a completely opposite view.
Appreciating their viewpoint doesn’t necessarily mean you must agree with them. Instead, it means temporarily setting aside your preconceived ideas and objectively listening to their opinions to understand where they are coming from.
In addition to helping you expand your horizons and seeing the world from a broader perspective, appreciating your partner’s differing views fosters better understanding and tolerance in your relationship.
6. Do Your Share of Adulting
No matter how loving and caring your spouse or partner is, they are not your parent. You are an adult, and you are expected to shoulder the responsibilities of being an adult without being told.
Don’t wait for your partner to do everything for you. Do your bit of the house chores, shopping, childcare, etc.
If you grew up in a household where housekeepers and your parents did everything for you as a child, there’s a high chance you’ll bring those dynamics into your relationship, waiting for your partner to do everything.
And if you want to make your partner very appreciative of you, don’t stick to a “fair share” of your duties. Sometimes, go out of your way to help your spouse complete their chores or run errands.
They’ll love you more and be more willing to reciprocate, too!
7. Be a Good Listener
One of the obvious ways to show your partner that you value and prioritize them is to always give them your undivided attention when talking with you.
Merely sitting in front of your partner and absentmindedly nodding to what they’re saying doesn’t cut it. Instead, learn and practice active listening for a better relationship.
When it is time for a conversation, put your phone down, turn off the TV, step away from your computer, and pay full attention to your significant other.
Listen to their words and try to figure out the meaning behind what they are not verbalizing but communicating with their body language.
This is how to be a better partner, a good listener, and be respectful of your spouse.
In many instances, your spouse isn’t looking for your advice or hoping you’ll fix their problems. They just need to know that you get them and care about them, and that’s what your undivided attention will communicate.
8. Communicate Your Frustrations Without Attacking Your Partner
Giving your partner “a piece of your mind” doesn’t usually lead to more happiness. If anything, your partner will feel sad, and you’ll also be unhappy, or in worse cases, the situation will degenerate into arguing.
We can’t escape getting hurt by the people we love the most and negative feelings, and in many instances, they didn’t really mean to hurt us.
However, it is crucial to communicate how you feel without attacking your partner. Good communication is key, especially when you need to have difficult conversations.
A good way to communicate your frustration is to use statements that express how you feel rather than statements that point the finger at your partner.
Here are a few examples:
- Say, “I feel hurt” instead of “You hurt me.”
- Say, “I feel unappreciated” instead of “You don’t appreciate me.”
- Say, “I don’t really feel happy when…” instead of “You make me feel really sad when…”
The first statements blame your feelings on your partner, putting the responsibility of how you feel squarely on their shoulders!
On the other hand, the second statement lets your partner off the hook but still conveys the essential information they need to know, which is that their behavior hurts you.
Always remember that you are responsible for your happiness. There’s only so much your partner can do to make you happy, no matter how romantic they are.
9. Be Supportive of Your Partners’ Interest
No one will blame you for not genuinely liking everything your partner likes. Their hobbies, interests, and passions might not make complete sense to you, and that’s fine.
But whatever you do, don’t put them down for their hobbies and interests. Instead, support their interest, whether it is something as popular as photography or less common as tree shaping.
One good way to do this is to listen to what your partner needs to pursue their interest but currently doesn’t have, and then find ways to provide that need.
For maximum effect, you can offer what they need as a birthday, valentine’s, or surprise gift.
10. Be Open and Honest With Your Partner
Honesty, they say, is the best policy. If you want to be a better partner in your relationship, you must not allow anything to destroy your partner’s trust.
Be truthful and transparent, even when you make mistakes. Together, you can get through even the most challenging situation if you are honest and open about it and have a successful relationship.
Lies, deception, and dishonesty are not smart moves and definitely shouldn’t come into your relationship if you want your partner to trust you wholeheartedly.
11. Be Patient With the One You Love
Learn to be patient with your partner at all times. Are they running late or taking longer to get ready for an important outing? Be patient. Are they unable to provide something you asked for as quickly as you want? Be patient.
Getting frustrated, lashing out in anger, and non-stop complaining won’t improve the situation. You’ll only get worked up, and your loved one will likely feel bad or inadequate.
Showing more patience and understanding helps you become a better partner, and your significant other will love and respect you more for it.
12. Let Your Actions Show How Much You Care
Lastly, you want your partner to see love in your actions and not merely words.
Here’s one of the surest tips on how to be a good partner: don’t just tell how much you care; show it!
For example, don’t just stop at telling your wife to take it easy with the house chores and relax during the weekend. Instead, wake up early on Saturday and make breakfast, do the dishes, buy her lunch, take her to the spa, and go out together for dinner.
In other words, seek opportunities to express your love in tangible actions.
Becoming a better partner in your relationship increases the bond and partner experience with your significant other. But beyond that, it improves your interpersonal relationship with others and helps you become a better person overall as you enjoy healthy relationships.