Family coach Felicia Taghizdeh shares her thoughts about commitment — and the ways to show a partner you are in it for the long haul.
I like to think that I am an optimist. Most of the time, my first reaction is to assume that things will work out in the end … even if I’m not sure how. One challenge that I’ve faced in my 13-year marriage is that I think my husband tends to be more of a pessimist, especially when challenges come up at work. The good news is that there is an easy way for me (and you) to make your significant other happier.
A recent study reports that one-third of people would feel more optimistic about life if their partners showed them more commitment. Really? Just show my S.O. that I am committed to him and the relationship and voilà, optimism increases? Done.
Here are ten easy ways a partner demonstrates that their commitment will stand the test of time.
They don’t threaten to leave. This may seem self-evident, but nothing shows a lack of commitment like talking about bailing. We’ve all been there — the argument gets heated and it’s the same argument you’ve had a thousand times. Your mind starts to think, “My life would be so much easier if I were gone …” While it’s completely normal to have these thoughts, sharing them out loud (or even subconsciously) does nothing for the level of commitment your partner feels from you.
You make long-term plans together. Take some time with your partner to develop plans for the future. Plan a vacation, talk about buying a house, share dreams about what you’re going to do when you retire. Yes it seems far away and that’s the point!
Touch your partner. Nothing communicates support like physical intimacy. By touching your partner — a hug while they are cooking dinner, an unexpected kiss — you reinforce your commitment to them. And casual touching can convey commitment because it shows a level of familiarity and ease that is hard to find outside of a long-term relationship.
Speak his/her love language. Does your partner appreciate it when you make his/her favorite dinner? Does he/she love it when you bring lunch? Does praise make him/her beam? When you communicate your love in a way that is meaningful to your partner, it shows your commitment. You have taken the time to understand what makes him/her tick and they know that you will be by his/her side through thick and thin.
Relive your history. One of the great things about a relationship is the shared history that you have with your partner. A fun way to demonstrate your commitment is to relive that history. Plan a picnic to the spot where he proposed. Go out to dinner at the restaurant where you first kissed. Rent the movie you watched when you first held hands. Revisiting these shared moments strengthens your bond and shows your partner that you are committed to keeping the love alive.
Get creative. Everyone loves physical reminders of why they are valued. Write a poem about your partner’s best qualities. Make him/her a mix of all their favorite ’80s songs. Give a photo book with pictures of your love over the years. These tangible reminders of the times you’ve been together not only send a strong message of commitment — they can be fun to make too.
Give a gift of meaning. It can be hard to give a meaningful gift when you don’t know someone very well. One of the bonuses of being in a committed relationship is that you know your partner better than almost anyone. Use that knowledge to do a little insider trading. Does your S.O. love listening to music? Get him/her a shower speaker for their iPod. Does he/she like gardening? Then how about getting one of his/her favorite plants? Giving meaningful gifts lets your partner know that not only do you know him/her, but you are committed to getting to know him/her more.
Be his/her champion. When your partner is feeling down, he/she doesn’t need you rubbing his/her face in the dirt. You are the one, maybe the only one, he/she can turn to. Showing that you support him/her even when they are wrong is an incredible demonstration of your intention to stay by his/her side, no matter what.
Listen more to how he/she feels. In this day and age, hardly anyone listens anymore. We are all so busy planning what we will say next that we don’t really hear what the other person is saying. If you take the time to truly listen to your partner without planning your response, your partner will feel like you understand them in a way that no one else does. And that’s a great recipe for happiness.
You follow through with your commitments. One of the best ways to show you are committed is to follow through. If you tell your S.O. that you are going to take care of the taxes, then he/she will trust and rely on you. When you follow through with these commitments, it shows your partner that you value him/her — and the relationship — above everything else.
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