4 Ways to be kind to your partner, even when you don't feel like it
How you treat your partner when you're in the middle of a disagreement can spell the difference between a thriving relationship and separation
One of the most important skills you can learn to keep your relationship healthy is to stay kind even when you’re upset with them. According to The Gottman Institute, how you handle conflicts can make or break your relationship.
But choosing kindness is easier said than done. We enter relationships with the best of intentions, thinking that when the going gets tough, we’d do the right thing and act with patience and gentleness. When reality hits and we end up lashing out instead, we’re left reeling after hurting our partners and ourselves.
Kindness is not something you choose only when you’re in the middle of an argument. You have to be mindful about how you treat your partner throughout your relationship. It is something you have to cultivate and work on continuously.
Here are some tips from The Gottman Institute and Tiny Buddha on being kind, even when you don’t feel like it.
1. Pay attention to your moods
If you feel like acting unkind, take your time to cool down and gain self-control before you act. You may think that it’s more honest and authentic to speak your mind and share everything to your partner, but you may inadvertently hurt them. Make a point to be open, but not careless.
On the next page: more on how to be kind even when you're upset.
2. Assess your feelings
It is alright to feel angry or upset, but sometimes we lash out even when our partner hasn’t even done anything! Pause and think about the root of your bad mood. You may even want to bring out your journal and process your feelings through writing.
3. Dwell on positive thoughts
If you keep thinking about how your partner has wronged you, that will alter the way you feel about them. Keep your thoughts on the positive aspects of your relationship, reminding yourself of the good things your partner has done throughout the day.
4. Have faith in your relationship
Don’t wait until you “solve” your argument before you move forward with your relationship. Keep doing activities in spite of your differences—don’t cancel date night because you don’t see eye-to-eye just yet. Stay optimistic about your relationship and don’t withhold affection. Continue to do nice things with them and focus on your friendship. After all, it’s easier to resolve problems with a friend than with an enemy.
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