Relationships are at the core of our lives. In a positive relationship, both partners feel valued, loved and nurtured.
How do you show up in your relationship – and for your partner? Do you consider yourself a good partner? What makes a good partner? Learning how to be a better partner takes a lifetime of practice and commitment, but the result is worth it: a stronger, more authentic relationship.
Instead of asking “Are they a good partner?” the question should be “Am I a good partner?”
Here are some ways you can become a better partner:
- Love Yourself Passionately
Learning how to be a better partner hinges on your sense of self. Remember to celebrate your strengths, weaknesses and everything you bring to the relationship as an individual. By grounding yourself in positive self-regard, you’re better able to show up in your relationship – you can only treat others as well as you treat yourself.
2. Understand That Relationships Are Dynamic
Being flexible in relationships isn’t the same as settling. You can learn to adapt to your partner’s needs while staying true to your own. Flexibility is about being willing to hear your partner’s needs and fulfilling them in a way that brings you closer together. Circumstances in life will always shift – but an adaptable relationship will be able to weather the seasons and come out stronger.
3. Focus On Your Partner
If you want to create real, lasting change in your relationship, then stop focusing on what your partner is or isn’t doing, and start asking yourself, “What am I giving? How am I being a good partner?” By asking how to be a better partner to your significant other, you’re shifting toward a world-centric level and putting your partner’s needs first.
4. Take Time To Connect
Making small talk and communicating are not the same thing. Many relationships fall into the same routine, with questions like “How was your day?” or “What do you want to do tonight?” We spend our time together watching television rather than truly connecting. But you cannot know what your partner needs if you don’t take the time to deeply communicate in your relationship.
5. Improve Your Communication
Communication isn’t just about talking. Deep listening will make your partner feel not only heard but understood. Make eye contact, give nonverbal feedback and focus on what they are saying. Be open and accepting. Rather than being your partner’s worst critic, be understanding. Listen to your partner’s perspective without judging it. You’re relating to your partner and building trust in the relationship. Work on practical relationship skills like conflict resolution, being fully present for your partner, taking an interest in what makes them happy and picking up on their non-verbal cues.
6. Express Gratitude
Gratitude is essential to every part of life, including your relationship. Don’t just think about everything you love about your partner – tell them. Say “thank you,” and be specific about what you appreciate. And always share positive emotions. When you feel and express joy and pleasure in a relationship, you become a soft spot for your partner to fall on.
Whether someone had a bad day or there is a longer-term issue, stress can negatively affect both partners in a relationship. Remember that having their back is part of mastering how to be a great partner in a relationship. When your partner is having a hard time, give them assurance of your unconditional support.
Feeling comfortable around your partner is the first step to real intimacy. When you’re able to be vulnerable, you’ll be able to learn how to be a good partner in a relationship. In an emotionally healthy relationship, you’re able to share your thoughts, feelings, wants and needs without fear of judgment or criticism. And in return, you don’t judge your partner – you accept them as they are.
9. Share Responsibilities
You can’t create an equal, fulfilling partnership if one person bears all the responsibility. Be proactive and share responsibilities like household tasks and finances. Couples who split housework more evenly engage in intimacy than those with uneven arrangements.
People are social creatures, and learning how to be a better partner requires you to have a support system. When you spend time with your partner’s friends, family, and a larger network, you build bonds that strengthen the relationship. Show your partner that you don’t just love them, but you also love what, and who, they love – and you want to be a part of their entire life.