Habits have the power to give either life or death to a relationship. The worst part is that sometimes we don’t even recognize that our behaviors are killing our relationship. The purpose of this article is to bring you some habits that can be extremely detrimental to cultivating a healthy, and happy, relationship. Analyze some of your habits that you have and discover some ways that you can put an end to those behaviors that don’t give life to your relationships.
"The secret to permanently breaking any bad habit is to love something greater than the habit." -Bryant McGill
If you see yourself in some of the habits listed below, it may be time to do some self-reflecting. We are bringing you relationship killers, but showing you how to conquer those bad habits by replacing them with a loving approach.
1. Destructive Criticism v. Constructive Criticism
Taking criticism can be a hard thing to do, especially when you aren’t looking for it. People study how to positively critique others in efforts to not only respect the other person, but also to make them better. There is a fine line between what is considered destructive and constructive. One aims to judge an act with the purpose of belittling them, while another is more positive and focuses on improvement.
Many of us are guilty of making someone feel bad because they didn’t do something the “right” way (according to our standards). Or, maybe we are unsatisfied with a part of their personality or character, and think that they need to make some changes. Either way, we have to be sensitive to those we care about, and make sure that we are not breaking them down, but rather building them up. We can’t force our partners to make changes, we can inspire them, though.
TIMING: It’s important to understand that timing is key. To publicly shame your partner for something they are or aren’t doing will cause a lot of resentment in the relationship. Equally important, make sure that a person is in the right mental state to receive your message. It is possible to have effective delivery, but it can be overshadowed if a person is not mentally receptive.
TONE: It’s hard to listen to criticism without becoming defensive. Just like the words that you speak to your partner can be destructive or constructive, the tone that you use can be equally detrimental. If you want a positive response from your partner, try having a softer tone, rather than being argumentative or aggressive. Communication is a recipient driven activity.
TRUST: Building trust in obviously important. If I trust my partner, then I am more likely to value their opinion, and be open to their criticism, because you can trust that is coming from a good place. When communicating with your partner, express how you feel without being offensive. Start with something positive. Explain to them what you would like or need that would make you feel better.
Stubbornness is very common in relationships. A person who is very headstrong and prideful, may have a hard time compromising on things that they don't particularly agree with. If you are unwilling to yield to the relationship for a greater purpose, you can potentially kiss your relationship goodbye. Life will not always go according to how you want it, and it takes a level of maturity to see life from your partner’s perspective. You have to be willing to bend sometimes, so that you don’t break!
TEMPERAMENT: Try to have a gentle temperament. If you train your mind to be more flexible in relationships, you help yourself to be open to new possibilities. In most cases, you won’t find someone who thinks exactly the way that you do. A prideful temperament can be fatal to the relationship. A major part of making a relationship work is that two people are able to merge their lives in such a way that respects each other’s differences.
FORGIVENESS: Stubborn people tend to dwell on the problem rather than focus on the solution. Someone who may stand firm on righteousness, may have a hard time forgiving someone who has wronged them. In a relationship, neither person will always get it right. If you want to stay in a relationship, you have to be willing to forgive your partner, as you would your friend, parents, teenage child, etc. At some point in life, we will all be in need of grace. Check your attitude at the door, get over that silent treatment mechanism, and work toward moving past the problem to the solution.
Respect goes a long way in a relationship. It looks different to different people. Respect in one culture could be disrespect in another. This is why communication is so important. However, there are some signs of disrespect that are merely universal. Any form of dehumanization, whether verbal or physical, can definitely end a relationship. Sadly, there are some people who choose to stay and endure that type of behavior. If your partner demonstrates a lack of respect for you, you should reconsider who you are with. Respecting your partner shows that you honor and value their presence in your life. Respect is one of the greatest demonstrations of love.
PERCEPTION: How do you perceive your partner? Is he or she a respectable person? If not, what keeps you attracted him or her? Our perception of our partner can impact the way we treat them. Generally, people who demean their partners, tend to believe that they are superior. Sometimes our perception can be based on how we feel about ourselves. This is why it is extremely important to be with someone who has a positive perception of love and relationships.
BOUNDARIES- Establish boundaries early on in a relationship. Make it very clear to your partner what makes you feel uncomfortable. A person can only get away with what we let them get away with. If we allow for them to make a habit out of disrespecting us, then we are in turn disrespecting ourselves. Establishing boundaries means that you have to be aware of your feelings. We don’t always understand our partner’s boundaries, but if we love them, then we must respect them.