Watch. Test it. Grow and Strengthen.
What does a partnership entail? Definitely not looking across the room, saying “Hi let’s be partners” and then that’s it, you live happily ever after – though admittedly that would be pretty sweet. It’s a continually growing, molding, learning organism. In a partnership, you need to Observe your SO as well as peers, Utilize what you see and then Grow with your new knowledge.
We are a species of observers. Watching our surroundings to perceive, better understand things, and appreciate. It doesn’t have to just start and end with nature, numbers, colors, and text that we see daily. But definitely in our day-to-day love lives.
Now, I am no expert in partnerships and relationships. Everyone has their highs and lows. I’m simply putting into words some of my experiences as a girlfriend, now wife, and mother. What has worked for me, and for us, to become the husband and wife we are happy and proud to be. (*Individually and as a team)
During our senior year as my husband and I were newly dating, we had many mutual friends. Some were in couples themselves. A particular day, heading out to lunch with another couple, we were sitting in the back of her car. They were in yet another fight as they seemed to have daily. They didn’t hide their fights in front of people – which not say you should, but I feel there is an amount of respect for your peers as well as your own relationship to handle hardships in private.
Anyway, they fought over simple things (in my eyes) all the time. She was yelling at him about having hung out with or having to do school work with a girl. I don’t remember all the details, but that she was insanely jealous. I’m sure there were reasons for her feelings, but it bugged the crap out of me. I told myself, “wow, I don’t EVER want to act like that to my boyfriend.”
It wasn’t so much that I told myself I will never be jealous. Though I found that by doing so, it does help center me when that feeling might arise. It was more of the way they communicated to each other. She was jealous. Yelled at him. He didn’t get it. He yelled back. The way I felt in the car that day sticks with me every day. I watched them, told myself that is something I didn’t want to act like. And I’ve taught myself to deal with that if it ever starts to trickle into my brain.
This is just ONE example of having watched my surroundings, utilizing what I told myself, and to teach myself how I wanted to act as a person and as a partner.
Have you had an experience like this? What did you think at that moment in time and what did you with that information within your own personal relationship?
Let’s move on to the nitty gritty, shall we? Here are just a few thoughts for each step in this process.
Consider this part like unsolicited advice. People like to tell people how they should or shouldn’t act, and that’s all fine and dandy until you didn’t ask or want the advice. Observing doesn’t have to be judgmental either. It’s literally watching your surroundings. THEN deciding what you are going to do with what you just witnessed. This can go with many things in the world right now, but for the sake of time and sanity, let’s focus only on relationships.
Watch your parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, coworkers, and maybe even strangers. How do they act to their SO? What do they say? Are they showing affection? Did you think how they handled a problem was a great idea or not for you?
Whatever you see, think about it for a little while. Think about if it could be useful or harmful to you and your partner. Did it give you an idea of how you can fix a current problem? I’m not saying necessarily to go out looking for problems or greatness in other people’s relationships. It’s more so saying keep your eyes and ears open. Especially when you know there might be something your specific relationship could use some work on.
Observe Your Partner & Your Own Relationship:
Obviously, if you are to work on your own partnership, you need to observe what you and your SO are doing. Watching how he or she acts when you talk to them or when you do something “funny”. Witness their reaction as well as your own. If it makes you feel something. Something like hurt or annoyance – maybe that’s a sign of something to observe closely.
Again, give yourself a moment or a few to think about what you watched. When you first witnessed it, did it affect you in any way? If you immediately thought “wow, that was cool” or “eesh, that was hard to watch” that might be something to calculate.
I could give many examples of issues or quickly resolved conversations here, but I want you to take a moment to think about something you might have observed recently between another couple.
Was there a moment that caught your attention (good or bad)? Now, what did you take away from it? Is this something you could use in your current relationship? Or is it something you know you already do and realize “wow, we already do that”. Is it a high five moment or a need to work on moment?
Ok, now that you have that in your mind. HOW are you going to utilize it in your relationship? Don’t ignore it and hope it fixes itself. But also don’t be pushy. Everything takes time and practice.
Put it to work!
Whatever you observed in your own ongoings with your partner, take it, and learn from it. Maybe just you, or maybe BOTH of you need to make some adjustments with the way you communicate with each other.
Once you’ve figured out how to utilize what you’ve observed, now it’s time to mold it and watch it grow like a cute little flower.
I witnessed a simple argument in high school. I utilized (and still do) that information into a form of how I wanted to be as a partner and person. As my husband and I grow as a couple and family, that information is needed as we all continue to change. That thought of how I react to jealousy or just a tone of voice is consistently working in the back of my mind. I might have an issue with one thing one day, and something else another day. Thinking about how I want to confront my issue with him is the biggest take away from this particular event.
Again, I am no master relationship guru or anything like that. I just want to share some thoughts on what I do personally and what has helped me in my relationship with my husband (as well as other relationships). Remember, to also observe your OWN relationship. Things and people change. What might have worked two years ago might not anymore. That’s why the GROW part of this is just as important as the rest, or more so.
A few suggestions to potentially utilize and grow:
- Talk things through. And listen. Be honest when you’re overwhelmed and need a minute. There is nothing wrong with saying you need to be alone to think or just chill.
- Apologize. You don’t have to say you’re wrong. But apologize for hurting their feelings, or raising your voice causing a reaction from them you didn’t intend.
- It’s not about asking permission to do something or want something. But working out plans and options together. Does this work for them? You are a team, and it’s best when you work that way.
- Hug, kiss, say you love each other. A little goes a long way. On a recent camping trip this summer, my husband gave me a kiss and said “I love you” when he simply left to take a walk with my brother-in-law. That little gesture reminds me he’s thinking about me and that I mean something to him.
- Find things you enjoy TOGETHER, even little things like a “Sunday Drive” (which is our favorite).
- That being said, find things you can do ALONE. Give each other space and time to do them and also be their cheerleader. Remind them to take time to themselves. My husband is a huge advocate of this. Encouraging me to do something for myself.
- TEAMWORK. Seriously. I can’t say it enough. You are a team that works together. The more you do this, the better and easier things become.
Thank you for your time in reading a little bit of my thought process. I hope this helps you in some way. Remember you are a team. Work together. Observe each other. Utilize each other. And Grow together.
Make it a GREAT day!
~ Bridget (B)