Here are five things you can do to build kindness into your relationship
1. Think positive thoughts about your partner.
In an article for The Gottman Institute, Sanaa Hyder, M.S.Ed. says that by thinking positive thoughts about your partner, you find it easier to behave and speak more positively towards him. “In order to get into the habit of being kind, you must practice the thoughts as well as the actions,” she writes.
One way to start thinking positive thoughts about your partner is by noticing the kind gestures he does for you, no matter how small. Whenever you notice these actions, make sure to point them out. Maybe he takes initiative to help out with the chores or takes you on a surprise date. Don’t let any act of kindness go unnoticed!
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Psychologist Ty Tashiro also says that sometimes, even when people try to do the right thing for their partners, their execution falls flat: For example, he offers to do the dishes but isn’t able to carry it out very well. When this happens, Tashiro reminds us to appreciate the intent instead of focusing on the slip-ups.
3. Share in his joys.
According to a 2006 study, there are four ways partners respond to each other’s good news: passive destructive (completely ignoring the event), passive constructive (acknowledging it half-heartedly), active destructive (diminishing it with negative comments), and active constructive (engaging wholeheartedly with their partner over the news).
Among these four approaches, The Atlantic says that active constructive responding is the kindest because it “allows the partner to savor her joy and gives the couple an opportunity to bond over the good news.” The study also discovered that this approach was associated with better relationship quality and more intimacy between partners.
Your partner has weaknesses and quirks that might bother or annoy you sometimes. But instead of trying to change these, the kinder approach would be to “embrace each other’s deficiencies and focus on the uniqueness you both have within you,” Mediumsays. Focus on your partner’s strengths, support one another’s goals, and help each other become better individuals — which can then lead to you becoming a better team.
5. Be mindful of their needs.
Psychology Todaypoints out that we often get so wrapped up in our own needs that we forget to acknowledge those of our partner. Being a kinder partner involves taking the time to consider how your actions make your partner feel, acknowledging their needs, and trying to address them. Doing these will make him feel safe and validated.