Relationships can be a source of amazing fulfilment. They can also be incredibly confusing. If I was paid every time someone told me that they don’t understand their partner, I’d be a very rich woman.
Many successful women struggle getting what they want in their relationships. The success they achieve in their professions or businesses seems elusive when it comes to their romantic lives.
One thing I know is that you can get what you want out of a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, most of the skills that have made you successful at work or in your business end up working against you in relationships.
Today’s post is an updated version of an article I wrote in 2014 when I was a relationship coach. This article is for you if you’re married or in a committed relationship and you want to make the relationship better.
Disclaimer: Taking action on these tips does not guarantee that your relationship will improve. If you’re going through a challenging phase in your relationship or are in an abusive relationship, then seek the help of a trained professional instead of trying to work things out on your own. The tips in this article are for women whose relationships are OK but you know that it could be better.
7 Ways to Get What You Want in Your Relationship
1. Know what you want
The first step to any positive change is to decide what you want. As the popular saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there”.
The same happens in relationships. If you don’t know what you want, then how on God’s earth can you partner discern it?
Shasta Nelson, a relationship expert, advises that when you start feeling resentful or frustrated in your marriage or relationship, take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I need right now?”
The answer to that question may surprise you.
For example, you may think that you’re mad at him for leaving his clothes all over the floor, spending lots of time with his friends, or loving his job more than his family. But in reality what you need
However, in reality, what you need at that moment may be:
- a feeling of closeness to him.
- more connection as a couple.
- more order in your life.
- or just an assurance that you (or the family) mean more to him than anything else.
What do you want? How will you know when you have gotten it? And, what feelings are you seeking to have when you achieve it?
2. Learn to ask for what you need
Your partner cannot meet all your emotional needs so don’t try to load everything on him. It’s your responsibility (not his) to find out how you can get your needs met.
Once you have figured out what you need, you need to ask for it in a way that ensures that you get it. You don’t have to fight for it, just ask.
How do you do this?
For example, say he’s always leaving his clothes on the floor (which drives you up the wall) and you’re tired of picking up after him or reminding him to do it. This habit makes you feel unappreciated because you don’t like feeling like his maid.
Instead of shouting at him that you’re not his maid and he needs to clear up after himself, pause and ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment?”
After you have identified the need, you can ask him to change by saying, “When you drop your clothes all over the floor, I feel unappreciated and taken for granted. Would you be willing to try to remember to put your clothes in the laundry bin? This would help me feel______ (insert the feeling you’re looking for).”
When you do this, you’re more likely to have success because it’s a request and not a complaint or order.
3. Never, ever use manipulation to get what you want
Tears, withholding affection (and sex), threats, drama, temper tantrums and any manipulative behaviour may work in the short-term. However, the effect will not last and these habits will backfire against you in the long-term.
If this kind of behaviour worked for you when you were your parents’ princess, you’d better get rid of it if you want your relationship to last.
All people hate being manipulated. A man may tolerate it for some time, but the moment he gets tired of it, you’re done!
Asking for what you want in a relationship does not mean being manipulative or coercing your partner to always agree with you. It means being mutually respective and taking care of each other’s needs.
Get emotionally stable even if it means working with a counsellor, therapist or life coach to overcome negative behaviours on your part.
Related Article: 8 Toxic Relationships You Need to Detox From
4. Know your man
Everyone wants to feel understood and appreciated and men are no exception.
- What is important to him?
- What does he care about?
- Do you know his goals?
- What are his worries?
- What keeps him awake at night?
It takes time for a man to truly open up about his deepest desires, needs, fears and challenges. And he will only do so when the environment (meaning your relationship and home) is conducive and authentic.
Just how well do you know your man and how have you kept the communication lines open?
5. Be a complete person
Your partner should complement you and not complete you.
You will get more out of your relationship when you’re secure, confident and able to have a life that is separate from your partner.
- Do you have friends?
- Do have hobbies?
- Is there anything that you do for yourself?
- Do you take time each day, week or month to do something just for you?
You existed before you met him and you didn’t stop existing because you’re in a relationship or married.
Of course, there is give and take and you cannot continue to party like you used to when you were single or behave like a single girl anymore.
However, if your man expects you to give up your identity and become part of his identity, you’re in big trouble because it will be hard to get what you want in this relationship.
In short, you need to have a life and express your individuality even within the relationship.
I always recommend that my clients implement a self-care regime. This includes doing one thing each week just for themselves – just do one thing per week that makes YOU happy.
It doesn’t have to be something expensive or need a lot of time, but do it each week until weekly self-care becomes a regular part of your schedule.
Related Article: 7 Self-Care Tips for the Modern Woman
6. Leverage the power of touch
Human beings are affected by touch. If you want to create an instant connection with someone, just touch them. It could be a handshake, a pat on the back or a simple touch on the elbow or hand when explaining a point.
When a relationship is breaking apart, touch is one of the things the couple loses. You’ll find that you don’t touch each other spontaneously. You may be going through the motions to make other people think that things are OK, but when it’s just the two of you alone, touch is thrown out of the window.
The more you touch your partner, the more connection you’ll establish with him.
Here’s an exercise that works wonders: For the next 30 days, touch your partner for 60 seconds every day. Yes, for a full minute each day.
Try this out for a month and see how willing he will be to spend time with you. You’ll also see an improvement in your communication. Once communication has improved, it will be easier for you to ask for and get what you want.
7. Catch him doing things right
The older your relationship or marriage is, the more negative things you know about your partner.
It’s easy to get caught in blaming, shaming, and criticizing him. You can also start resenting him for things done/not done and opportunities have been missed.
If you truly want to get what you want, start complimenting and thanking him when he does something right, no matter how small it is.
If he comes home early for the first time in months, welcome him with a smile and tell him how happy you are to spend the evening with him. And then take time to be with him instead of hanging out with your friends on social media.
Don’t make snide comments like, “Kwani your buddies were out of town today?” or “Did your local (pub) get closed today?” when you see him and then trot off and leave him alone with the kids.
You may have to swallow a lot of pride in the process and it will take time before you see results, but it will be worth it.
And if you need to call him out on a negative behaviour, go back to tips #1 and 2, pick the right time when you’re both relaxed at home, and bring it up in a non-combative way.
In order to get what you want in your relationship, there are a lot of changes you’ll need to make in yourself.
The main change is to improve your communication skills so that you’re able to ask for exactly what you want in a way the guarantees success most of the time.
Taking action does not guarantee that everything will work out perfectly. Some of your actions will work, some won’t, and some will have no effect.
Continue building on the ones that work, drop or tweak the ones that don’t, and keep moving forward.
Above all, give it time. It will take between 6 months to a year to master the necessary skills so be patient and don’t give up.
Finally, work on one thing at a time. If you don’t know where to start, I suggest you start with tip #6 – touch. That’s one of the most powerful relationship-building skills that you will ever learn.
Over to you now…
What else have you tried that has worked in your relationship?
Do let us know in the Comments.
(Images courtesy of mrwildlife at Free Digital Photos)
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