Published on:

Ins and Outs of Healthy Relationships, Part 3

Amy Setzer, Legal Assistant

For those dealing with a family law matter, whether it’s battling your ex for custody or severing ties with a divorce, Couples Appreciation Month probably doesn’t have you doing cartwheels through downtown. But if you’ve been keeping up with our series on developing healthy relationships, you know that these suggestions can be applied to your connections with many different types of people in your life. If you’re building a new romance or trying to fix your rapport with Mom, here are more tips for your toolbox.

Do brag about your partner. Don’t constantly complain about them.

I believe that language is powerful. The way we phrase things when speaking to others can have a strong psychological effect. For example, would you rather be told, “Don’t forget the milk,” or “Please remember to get milk?” The former implies you’re going to do something terrible, while the latter is a gentle reminder. Similarly, how you portray your partner to the outside world can be more impactful than you think. In Part 1 we discussed how arguing at home (versus arguing in public) has much to do with building trust and laying the foundation of a strong bond. One way to do that is to build each other up. You love your boyfriend with all your heart? Show the world the reasons why. You think your girlfriend is amazing?  Make sure everyone knows it.

In the same way boasting about your sweetheart is a sign of loyalty and support, continuously criticizing them is a betrayal. When I worked as a bartender, I often listened to customers whine and complain about their significant others, for hours sometimes. Like it was a hobby. “She’s never on time.”  “He always forgets x-y-z.”  “She drives me nuts.”  “Honestly, he can be such a jerk.”  I had to wonder what in the world brought them together and why the heck do they stay?  You’ve heard the expression “You never know what goes on behind closed doors.”  Well, you do with these people because, in acting this way, they flung that door wide open and everyone got a good look.

Barraging unsuspecting friends and innocent strangers with belittling tales about your better half is not only disrespectful and mean, it creates a mental reminder of all the irritating things you ‘cherish’ about your love. Something else to consider: if your partner catches wind you been trashing them when they’re not looking, they may begin to wonder why you’re the love of their life. Even worse, they might bend some ears of their own. Either way you’re the one who will ultimately end up looking bad. If you can’t find something about your sweetheart to be proud of, maybe you need to rethink why you’re still with them.

Bragging about your partner’s accomplishments, or the Valentine’s Day flowers they send to your office, or the fun activities you do together can keep the reasons you love them in the front of your mind. And it will assure your beloved that you value and appreciate all their fine qualities. You’re supposed to have each other’s backs, not talk behind them.

Stop by next week for more ways to appreciate your couple-ness in our fourth and final installment!