The Secret to a Loving Bond
Happy New Year! I took a much needed hiatus from blogging during the past year to focus on my daughter, who we welcomed in November 2018. I have spent the better half of the year getting the hang of motherhood, with all of its ups and downs. Now that I have regained my footing, I have the energy and mental capacity to continue sharing my passion for self-care practices. The beginning of a new year felt like a good time to reintroduce blogging back into my increasingly busy life.
This blog post, similarly to past posts, centers on relationships. I find myself continually coming back to this topic as I believe relationships are an endless journey of discovery and maintenance. You can never really know too much on how to maintain a healthy, sustainable, fulfilling and loving bond with your partner.
I recently came across an interesting article written by authors Linda and Charlie Bloom. In this article, these authors highlight 18 “secrets” they see as crucial in maintaining a loving bond with your partner. I thought that for today’s post, I would synthesize and summarize these “secrets,” underlining which ones stood out to me and why, all the while tying in my experience as a relationship therapist.
Focusing on the Relationship
Committing time, energy, and care to your partner is one of the most important aspects of any thriving relationship. This includes reading and learning ways to create and maintain a safe and secure bond. It also includes seeking out help with a trained professional if needed. Emotional responsiveness also plays an important role in preserving a strong relationship. Emotional responsiveness involves both partners allowing themselves to be vulnerable, and in so doing, relating to each other in a non-defensive manner. Emotional responsiveness also consists of committed listening, where full attention to interaction is given without judging, interrupting, correcting or advising.
Investing in the well-being of a partner with the ultimate goal of making them feel loved, cherished and a priority is equally important. The authors refer to this as enlightened self-interest. The way your partner feels loved, cherished and a priority may not be the same way that you feel loved, cherished and a priority. It is your responsibility to learn what love language your partner speaks, and to incorporate it in your day-to-day interaction. This may require learning and practicing the art of skilfully managing differences. It’s considered enlightened self-interest as your partner’s ultimate happiness in the relationship will inadvertently positively impact the quality of your life.
Focusing on You
Maintaining a strong and fulfilling bond with your partner also requires you to recognize a sense of your own life purpose as separate from your partners, while still supporting your commitment to the relationship. It is easy to adapt to your partner, and in doing so, losing yourself in the process. Maintaining a commitment to yourself, where you self-explore, learn, evolve and grow according to your wants, needs and desires, is a crucial component to a healthy relationship.
Cultivating and embodying an attitude of gratitude may be the most important aspect of this blog. I prefer practicing this through a gratitude journal. Writing a gratitude journal allows you the time and space to reflect on all of the things that you are grateful for, and may also push you to see the inherent good in a bad situation.
Strong relationships take work, and are an on-going process. You will inevitably strengthen the bond between you and your partner by using the tips suggested above, and keeping in mind the role of self-care in maintaining a relationship. Be curious and patient.