It is ironical but almost everyone who wants to date or get married has similar objectives. They want harmony in relationships, have a desire to be understood, cared for and loved deeply. Alas, the rising number of divorce cases and splits and slanging matches between once loved-up couples, tell a different story. Expectations unfortunately do not match reality.
However, it need not be so. It is well known that relationships – be they between lovers, spouses or family members – primarily break up because of differing expectations. You cannot, and perhaps should not expect, things to be smooth all days, months and years, that’s just impractical. But what you can certainly aim for is to NOT have extreme swinging matches where on some days, you are the most loving couple while on others, you want to tear each other’s hair out.
‘Harmony in relationship’, meaning, a journey where you are willing to accept the negative, work on the positive and have a common goal of being strong and balanced, is not that difficult to achieve.
All that you need is an open mind and a realization that building connections and staying together is a primal need which contributes to our well-being.
7 Steps To Cultivate Harmony In Relationships
Have you seen and envied couples who rarely fight? Or been to a household where there is laughter, mutual respect and a positive energy all round? Truth be told, the process of building a harmonious relationship isn’t organic.
It may seem all fluid and natural at first glance but fact is that you need to put in efforts to maintain harmony in human relationships. As they say, love requires hard work and only if you are willing to give as much as you are eager to take, can you hope for balance in life.
We spoke to Dr Prashant Bhimani, psychologist, for some suggestions to achieve harmony in relationships and lead a more fulfilling life. Guess what? It’s rather simple, all it requires is a will and a slightly larger perspective of how human relationships work.
1. Express your emotions
Should love always be expressed? Yes. Should you always spell out that you love your partner? Yes. Should you express your annoyance and problems as well? Hell yes! Remember one thing clearly: your partner is not Nostradamus.
He or she does not have a magical prowess which transmits your feelings and emotions. Often, you can hear a man or woman complain, “But why do I have to say it out loud each time? Could s/he not understand?”
Well, no. S/he cannot understand everything you say or do. Feelings are meant to be expressed. Unfortunately, in many cultures people are encouraged to be silent or keep it hidden in the larger interest of the family. But open communication is the key to maintaining harmony in relationships. Issues arise from communication problems only.
This includes the right to express your embarrassment, vulnerability, shame or even anger. Of course, the way you express it matters a lot. You can’t say hurtful, vengeful words and not expect retaliation. How to express yourself without being misunderstood is also the key to a successful relationship.
Related Reading: Communication Is The Key To Relationships!
2. Be a good listener
There is a difference between hearing and listening. When you listen, you are paying attention to everything the other is saying, you are keeping an open mind and are ready to imbibe and understand their words.
To understand the importance of a harmonious relationship is to be ready to work on all aspects of it and listening is an important element in the entire picture. Never assume; always be prepared to hear the other side of a story.
More importantly, develop empathy while listening. Observe their body language, tone and expressions. It will give you an idea of how to respond to them during stressful situations.
Of course, it is essential to manage your own stress too, and give others a chance.
When you listen, it doesn’t mean that you have to agree to everything that your partner says or does. You can agree to disagree and put your point forward. But the moot point is to ensure both of you have an equal say in a difficult matter.
3. Don’t let the physical intimacy fade away
After months or years of dating, it is but natural to set into a systematic rhythm and be comfortable with each other. Sometimes couples get so comfortable that the physical intimacy unfortunately, fizzles out.
Needless to say, it is not possible to maintain the same sexual attraction that you had in the initial stages of a relationship, after years of being together. However, what can be done is to make efforts to keep the proverbial sparks alive.
Never underestimate the power of touch. Along with the emotional equilibrium, maintain the ‘physical harmony’ too. Holding hands, kissing, hugging and snuggling, and even talking erotic can increase intimacy even if you do not feel like having sex.
A couple who keeps the physical attraction alive finds it easier to maintain harmony in relationships than a couple who does not. Good sex is the cornerstone of a great relationship and along with other elements, plays a crucial role in the journey of love.
4. Do not let the past get in the way
We all have a past. We all have done things we are not proud of. We all have episodes that we would rather forget. It is essential that during a fight or argument, you should not bring up the past unnecessarily.
Focus on the issue on hand and get into it with an intention to resolve the problem not increase the rift. And you can never find a solution if you bring up the past. It’s different if it has a connection with the current problem but even then avoid looking behind.
Accept and embrace the fact the differences of opinion will creep in. Understand that values and opinions can change over a period of time. Do not hold what your partner may have told you in the past, against them.
It is also important to learn how to let go and not hold on to a thought or action. Harmony in relationships can never be achieved if you do not learn to stop fretting over the small things and learn to forgive and forget for the larger purpose.
5. Fine tune your expectations
As we mentioned above, differing expectations are one of the main reasons why relationships go awry. You enter a relationship or marriage having a certain checklist. Consciously or unconsciously you are judging your partner against it.
The problem with expectations is that you put pressure on your partner to meet them all the time. It is unrealistic to believe that you won’t have any expectations from a relationship but you can always be willing to adjust and scale it according to the situation.
Learn to nurture yourself and be adept at fulfilling your needs for companionship and happiness instead of putting all the pressure on your beau. More importantly, understand that people change over time.
Of course, there would be a limit to understanding and adjusting as well. Never give into something that goes against your core values or something that you completely disagree with. However, develop the sensibilities to understand up to what level you can compromise on your expectations.
6. Do not hesitate to be vulnerable
All of us have this desire to be seen as strong. Somehow admitting to our vulnerabilities is seen as a sign of weakness. But at the core of building harmony in relationship is building trust. If you cannot trust your partner to see your bad side, how can you claim to be totally in love?
Love and harmony means accepting a person for their good and bad traits. It is easier said than done for everyone wants to embrace only the best side of their lover. But if only life were as perfect as we thought it would be!
Learn to let people in and ask what you need. Asking for help does not mean you are not strong. Do not try to be superhuman, be honest when you do not know or understand anything. More importantly, be grateful for the help you receive.
An ability to show vulnerability means you are willing to trust your partner that he or she won’t let you down. Later, build on this trust to maintain the harmony in relationships. If however, they judge you for it, it means they were not the right person to begin with.
7. Stop complaining about your partner
Sure, there would be situations when you just want to grit your teeth and lash out at your partner. But constant complaining and indulging in a blame game isn’t going to solve anything. If at all, it only aggravates matters.
If you value the importance of harmonious relationships, you will stop complaining about the small things either directly to your partner, or worse, to some outsider.
Communication is different from complaining. In the latter you are only focusing on the negative while in the former you are trying to lay the ground for a reasonable discussion.
Learn to focus on the positive side too. Don’t make every issue an ego battle. Learn to approach problems with a certain objectivity. If there are some aspects about their behavior that annoy you, first try and ignore until it ceases to matter. Or else address it directly with your partner.
The more you stop complaining, the better life will seem. And this tip is useful not just for your relationship with your spouse or romantic partner but for even professional ties or relationships with your family and friends.
Overall, harmony in relationships is not tough to achieve if you have a balanced outlook towards every situation in life. There will be ups and downs, there might be highs and lows but if you can learn to rise above them, you can certainly build meaningful and healthy relationships that make you happy and content.