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20 Ways to Be a Better Partner in 2023

By Gottman Connect Staff

Published on 06/12/2023

20 Ways to Be a Better Partner This Year

If you want to know how to have a better relationship, you should shift the focus to yourself. 


While the majority of people would want to see their partners change, the reality is that you have complete control only over your own behavior. Therefore, if you are prepared to commit and focus on improving yourself for your marriage, continue reading.

We've compiled a list of the top twenty strategies to assist you in appreciating the value of trust and commitment and help you enhance your relationship.

1. Practice Patience

Patience is the key to understanding and healthy marriage. While disagreements are inevitable and confrontations are natural, exercising patience can enhance your relationship in various ways.

Begin by being compassionate with yourself and allowing the emotion to flow freely to your spouse. Once you understand that you do not always have to be right, you will have the opportunity to actually come to know and accept your partner.

Consider the following exercises and strategies:

  • Counting to ten before reacting
  • Establishing reasonable expectations
  • Forgive yourself and your partner for the inevitable human mistakes that we all make

2. Be Solution-Oriented, Not Problem-Focused

It's natural to get carried away by powerful emotions or to feel trapped in an endless cycle of conflict with your partner. However, if you want to understand how to make a relationship better, you must place a greater emphasis on the solution and less on the problem. This may sound more difficult than it is, but with some of Dr. Gottman's advice, you should be able to overcome most conflicts and find a middle ground.

The most effective technique to approach problems and find a resolution is to make unambiguous declarations and present the requirements for which you are unwilling to make concessions. Make a shortlist of the fundamental needs that are necessary for your happiness. Then construct a list of the areas where you can make compromises.

By completing this simple exercise with your spouse, you will define the issue and collaborate on a solution that works for both of you. This way, you can be confident that everyone is satisfied with the outcome and that you are building a life together on healthy foundations.

3. Let Go of Pride and Practice Vulnerability

Being in a relationship provides an incredible opportunity to rely on one another and share everything - good and bad. To reach this perfect balance, you must be willing to set aside your pride and allow yourself to be vulnerable.

Confidence in your partner's ability to safeguard your feelings and well-being enables you to open up more and rely on the emotional connection you have. Although it may feel like you are giving too much and exposing yourself at times, you will quickly discover that your spouse will follow your example and be there for you at the most trying times. Long-lasting. mature, and loving partnerships always leave potential for influence. Therefore, learn how to say "Yes" to your partner and enjoy the improvements in your marriage or relationship.

4. Develop a Passion for Personal Development

Many people want to know how to improve their interpersonal skills, and the most straightforward answer is to work on yourself first. Improving relationships or simply sustaining a joyful state for an extended period of time requires patience and effort. However, many overlook the fact that the most significant way to improve your relationship is to first better yourself.

This can involve meditating, accepting yourself for who you are, and engaging in activities that are unrelated to the relationship. This will enable you to develop a new and positive perspective on the world, thereby strengthening your connection with your partner. Additionally, experts emphasize that self-improvement has a positive effect on partners, as they will be driven to improve as well.

5. Practice Kindness

While being kind may appear to be an ineffective approach to becoming a better partner, you would be astonished at how beneficial it is. Being kind is especially difficult when you are upset, but there is a way around this.

Every day, practice being patient and kind, and treat your partner with the respect you expect. By incorporating “Small things often” into your mindset, you will be more equipped to be polite even when an argument becomes intense. Encouragement, sympathy, and love are always effective strategies to steer your relationship in the correct direction.

6. Be Slow to Judge Them

If you want to learn how to be a better partner, you must first develop the ability to listen more and pass judgment less. Often, we take our partners for granted or over-interpret their remarks.

You can find the golden middle ground if you learn to be less judgmental and allow your partner to speak freely. It's a beautiful and liberating sensation to be able to voice your opinion without fear of rejection. 

Loving relationships are always marked by an understanding between partners that fuels the growth of personalities and the expression of positive emotions. Give your partner the benefit of the doubt and avoid being fearful of their effect on you.

7. Remember Why You’re With Them

It's easy to forget why you fell in love in the first place when daily stress and responsibilities take over. Still, if you want to ensure that you always know how to improve your relationship, a daily reminder is necessary.

Take a trip down memory lane with your sweetheart and frequently reminisce about the great occasions you shared. Those passionate and enthusiastic days at the start of your relationship can assist you in having a wonderful time today.

Show your admiration by scheduling particular one-on-one time with your husband or wife. Engage in stress-relieving conversations and make time each day for small gestures of appreciation.

8. Listen Before You Give Advice

"Understanding Must Precede Advice" may sound straightforward, but many couples struggle with this concept. To be happy and successful in love and relationships, you must first learn to resist your desire to provide advice and instead learn to listen.

Humans have an innate desire to be understood; it is encoded in our DNA and has existed since the dawn of humanity. However, regardless of how practical our communication skills are, couples occasionally run into this dilemma.

When your partner feels seen and heard, the relationship's quality improves, and you will develop an increased sense of affection and intimacy over time. Therefore, rather than waiting your turn to talk, soak in the words and the emotions that accompany them in order to comprehend your partner fully.

9. Respect Them as a Unique Person

It's lovely to be accepted just as you are; keep this in mind as you see your partner grow. Being in a good relationship entails being able to explore your individuality without fear of rejection or judgment from your partner.

If you need further motivation to reconnect with your spouse, this free quiz will provide you with interesting and insightful information about your spouse. Use the opportunity to grow together rather than apart and be appreciative of each stage your partner goes through.

10. Practice Self-Care

Relationships are a delicate dance between two people in which both participants must feel happy in order for love to blossom and the marriage to glow with beautiful emotions. However, you may be wondering how to improve yourself in a relationship and why this is necessary in the first place.

To genuinely appreciate and understand your partner, you must first be kind to yourself. When your needs are met, it becomes simpler to be empathetic toward others and focus on your partner's affection. 

Thus, being selfish in moderation benefits your relationship.

Allow yourself enough time to rest, pursue your interests, and ensure that your partner gets the same opportunity. When both of you are brimming with pleasant emotions, it will be easier to resolve challenging situations.

11. Show Love to Their Family 

Marriage and relationships are intricate constructions that have the most significant impact on you and your partner. Still, you must also consider the effect on the rest of the family if you want it to be harmonious. While it's normal to prefer your own family, you should also show admiration and respect for your partner's family.

Discuss with your partner the most acceptable relationship you should have with your partner's family, making sure that you as a pair always come first. Being on the same page when it comes to extended family relationships can strengthen your bond and foster further trust and support.

12. Be Healthy Together

Not only is working out with a partner great for your physical health, but it is also beneficial for your relationship and connection. Therefore, if you want to know how to improve your relationship, you can consider scheduling a hike, taking a dancing lesson, or finding an activity that both of you enjoy. Hormones created during exercise, such as endorphins, will make you happier, and exercising with your partner will strengthen your relationship.

It's also critical to share goals and meaning with your partner, as this will facilitate the development of a stronger connection and improved communication. Working out together will alleviate tension and provide an opportunity for you to have fun while improving your relationship.

13. Talk about Money and What It Means to You

Whether we like it or not, money has a way of defining us. 

Depending on our upbringing, parents, and numerous life circumstances, we all have a basic understanding of how to manage money. Unsurprisingly, the majority of couples have financial conflicts, but the truth is that the dispute is never about money; it's always about something much more profound.

To comprehend what is a good relationship with money, it's necessary first to understand how your partner feels about it. Thus, it is critical to have an honest discussion about finances and find a compromise that both individuals enjoy.

Building money maps, similar to love maps, can help you better understand your relationship and, as a result, be a better partner.

14. Stay Faithful

Each healthy and loving relationship is built on the foundation of trust and commitment. If you're wondering what makes a good partner, it's being there for your husband or wife during challenging times.

While it is critical to cherish your loved one, it is exceptionally imperative to remain dedicated and faithful. This may include small gestures of appreciation, but even more, significant steps such as couples counseling can be highly beneficial when confronted with an issue.

The commitment may take different forms for different couples, but at the heart of any strong bond is the belief that your partner will always have your back. The secret to happiness and satisfaction is to turn toward your spouse rather than away.

15. Don’t Get Stuck in the Past

Past trauma can force you to put up barriers and become detached from your relationship. Dwelling on the past can be destructive to your present, so seek therapy and work together to discover a way ahead.

Acquiring coping skills and techniques will assist you in focusing more on the positive in the present moment and overcoming the turmoil you have encountered.

Additionally, going through a recovery process and remaining honest with your partner can only strengthen your connection.

16. Be Honest About What’s Going On

Depending on the subject at hand, having an honest talk with your partner may not be the easiest thing in the world. However, if you want to learn how to improve a relationship, you must first learn to be receptive to dialogue. This includes being sympathetic to others' perspectives without passing judgment and being candid about your own emotions.

If further motivation is required to initiate the conversation, you may always use the popular Gottman Card Deck App. This is a fun approach to generate ideas for you and your partner to improve your relationship.

17. Do What You Say You Will

Trust is not formed on grandiose gestures in life but on consistently keeping your word. While it is perfectly natural to make mistakes, you must prioritize keeping your promises, regardless of how minor or trivial they are.

Daily betrayals of trust will weaken the relationship's love, often resulting in divorce and suffering. To be a better partner, all you have to do is keep your word and be there for your spouse when they are in need.

Even if trust has been broken and you seek ways to improve your relationship, it is still possible to re-establish it. Acknowledge your mistakes, seek couples counseling, and maintain your promises.

18. Do What Makes Your Partner Happy

It takes time and patience to build a life together, but the rewards of a happy and harmonious relationship are well worth the effort. While the honeymoon period of a relationship may end after two years, pure and mature love can last a lifetime.

Numerous experts recommend basic activities such as saying "Thank you" as effective and strong relationship tips. This may seem insignificant initially, but it will encourage you to look for additional methods to make your spouse happy. Plan a date night, invite them to watch a show they enjoy, or join online cooking classes.

It's easy to become overwhelmed by life's everyday stresses, but making an effort to appreciate and show love to your partner on a regular basis is the best approach to strengthen your relationship.

19. Be Grateful

While it may be challenging to find reasons to be grateful while in the midst of a conflict, it is critical to express appreciation for your partner on a daily basis, if you're wondering "How can I make my relationship better?", a simple "Thank you" would suffice.

Gratitude is an excellent method that can assist you and your spouse in increasing intimacy, strengthening ties, and enhancing communication.

Simply as you want to feel appreciated, you want to ensure that your partner understands how much they make you happy with every tiny gesture they do, even if it's just preparing a cup of coffee in the morning.

20. Spend Intentional Time Together Every Day 

Many people desire to learn how to be a better person in a relationship, but only a select handful are willing to put in the hours - quite literally. Did you know that spending just six hours a week with your partner can have a significant positive effect on your relationship?

By intentionally spending time together, such as saying goodbye, planning date nights, and having meaningful one-on-one talks, you may improve your communication, affection, and sex life.

It is not always about the significant gestures; instead, the little efforts result in the most substantial and effective changes in marriage.

A Word from the Gottman Relationship Advisor

If you're still unsure how to have a better relationship, our advice should point you in the right direction. Additionally, it is always wise to invest in resources such as "Building a Life Together" and to be fully prepared to work on your marriage. Gottman Connect have built a tool called the Gottman Relationship Adviser which is the world's first proven solution to assess and improve relationships. It was developed by world-renowned psychologists Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the Gottman Method has helped millions of people like you.

Start healing and strengthening the most important relationships in your life!

For couples who are unsure where to begin, it's good to take a brief and completely free quiz to assess their relationship's present state. This is a fun and educational technique to get to know your companion and ascertain whether you are on the right track toward marital bliss.

Take the Free Quiz

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