Human relationships are complex and actually need nurturing. Your relationships with other family members and even with your friends can suffer if you don’t make an effort to maintain them. After all, who likes to be ignored and taken for granted all the time?
One of the most important aspects of friendships and family relationships is communication. This doesn’t mean you just have to talk to each other to remain in touch, it is a whole lot more than that. Talking is just one form of communicating, and it needs to be genuine discussion and conversation where each person really listens to what the other is saying and feeling.
Communication belongs not just to the realm of speech, but also to the sharing of feelings and emotions. When people want to strengthen their relationship with a loved one or friend, they can initiate conversation and share their thoughts and feelings. Talking with such authenticity can reach a much deeper level of contact than just mere chatting.
When a couple truly communicate, they gain greater empathy with the needs of their partner and strengthen the bonds of their relationship. The same can be true of friendships, which flourish better when people really care about each other and can communicate a genuine depth of feeling.
One of the ways we can maintain a strong connection with friends and loved ones whom you may not see every day is simply to keep in touch. Pick up the phone and give them a call. It only takes minutes for them to learn that you are thinking about them. Friends and family members are always happy to hear from the people they care about.
Relationships are like gardens, if you tend them and water them regularly, they will flourish. But if you neglect them for long periods of time they will wilt and fade.
One powerful key to developing good communication with your partner is to really listen. Put aside your own viewpoints and carefully listen to theirs. We are all different and the people you love will see things differently from you and given a chance will express themselves differently. You need to show tolerance, embrace other people’s viewpoints, and show acceptance of these differences.
It is important not only to recognize the value of your relationships but to show your loved ones that you care. It sounds so simple but it can take just the smallest gesture to show your partner or your friend that they matter to you. Try to remind yourself to practice random acts of sensitivity towards your partner to show them the appreciation you have for them and their love. Come home with roses one day, for no special occasion. Finish off that DIY job you didn’t finish a while ago that’s really been annoying your partner. Do a chore for them that they hate doing, just to show them how much you care.
When I was a child, I visited a friend of mine after school. She selected only the smallest potatoes out of a big bag in the pantry and started peeling them while we talked. I asked her why she just picked the little ones and she replied, “My Mom really hates peeling the little ones so I’m getting those ones ready for dinner tonight. That way she doesn’t have to do them when she gets home from work.”
That small act of kindness has stayed in my mind ever since. It shows a depth of love that tells your relative or spouse how much you appreciate them and yet it doesn’t take much effort to do.
Another way we can show how much we care for one another and strengthen our bonds is to provide encouragement for the other person’s dreams and goals. It means a lot to your family and your friends if you support them in their ambitions and give recognition to their accomplishments.
And of course, one of the strongest ways to keep your marriage or a treasured friendship healthy is to always try to avoid and deflect arguments. Fighting and arguing never reinforces strong bonds, it just tears away at the edges of the fabric of the relationship until it is finally destroyed.
Even if there have been disagreements during the day, make a determination to always finish each day in good spirits by making up and reaffirming your love for each other.