Human relationships are one of the most important experiences we can have in our lives.
Positive and supportive relationships help us to feel healthier, happier, and more satisfied. We’ll focus on the romantic variety of relationship here and help you become the MVP (#MostValuablePartner), but many of these relationship goals help you improve your connections in any area of your life.
Kicking goals with positive relationships requires you to make daily choices that put your relationship first and your ego second, just like in most sports – the needs of your team come first. These relationship goals aim to help you make your partner feel like they are your million dollar contracted, #1 draft pick – put them at the centre of your world and championship gold will follow!
Relationship goal 1: Respect yourself
The most important piece of relationship advice for men is to learn about the value of respect.
Respect for yourself is crucial to healthy relationships. Make sure that the relationship you have with yourself is a positive one! Once you become a priority in your life, you’ll be in a better place to attract relationships that support you and help you score more goals.
Some quick tips for developing self-respect:
- Live every day with pride in who you are and what you do.
- Surround yourself with great teammates – people who make you feel good.
- Take time out to practice self-care, engaging in activities that maintain your physical, mental and emotional health.
Relationship goal 2: Respect your partner
In a relationship, respect means that both partners place value on each other and ensure that their words, actions, and behaviours reflect that value. This includes listening to one another, valuing each other’s opinions and treating each other in a thoughtful, considerate and caring way.
Agree on clear boundaries, including what’s out of bounds, to ensure respect on both sides and make sure you lead from the front! It can be helpful to think about someone that you truly respect – your favourite player, coach, go-to game winner, leader or artist and make sure that you are treating your partner as well as you would treat this person you admire.
Relationship goal 3: Become a world-class listener
Practicing good listening can help your relationship by boosting your partner’s self-esteem – it’s a silent form of flattery that shows respect and makes people feel like they are ‘best on ground’.
Being a good listener is a lot harder than it sounds. Most of us think we are good listeners, but often we get caught up thinking about our response rather than truly listening.
Try some active listening techniques to lift yourself out of a form slump or losing streak – clarifying your understanding before replying and considering what the other person is thinking, feeling or wanting, not just their words. It can work wonders!
Relationship goal 3: Master communication
Take some time to learn skills that help you communicate your thoughts clearly and effectively. You will be surprised at how much it can help your relationship.
Allowing time and space, being clear and direct, thinking before you speak, using ‘I’ statements, practicing empathy and noticing non-verbal cues are all key to becoming a championship player.
You can find more information on these and other some great performance enhancers in the MensLine Australia communication toolkit.
Make an effort to listen and relate to your partner without blaming, giving advice, or trying to fix the situation. This is a hard bit of relationship advice for men, as we’re taught to be ‘fixers’, but often your partner just wants to feel heard. Solutions can come later!
Most importantly, don’t assume that your partner knows what’s going on, or how you are feeling – tell them!
Relationship goal 4: Be generous with your time and ‘be present’
Most of us feel that we give our partners time, but how much of that is time with full attention on them? Don’t hit the post – set aside time to focus only on your partner, without distractions, especially when communicating. That means put the phone (or tablet, device, TV, game controller) down! It also means keeping your mind focused on what’s happening in that moment, without drifting off into thoughts of the past or future. It’s like lining up for the match winning goal – you need to shut out all distractions and focus on the job at hand to win the game.
Relationship goal 5: Learn to accept and celebrate differences
It would be easy if others thought and felt the same way we do, but we are all different (that’s part of the fun!) and each brings our own life experiences to a relationship. Truly loving and caring for someone means accepting all of them, the good and the bad – quirks, behaviour, flaws, and all. Try to focus on the overall feeling that person brings out in you and let the ‘little things’ go. It’s like having respect for your team mates regardless of the role they play – the utility player who makes a tough defensive stop is just as important as the glamour player who scores the buzzer beater or kicks the goal after the siren.
There are many other relationship goals, but these five pieces of relationship advice for men are a great start to establishing and maintaining a healthy and positive relationship.
If you can manage to implement these in your everyday interactions with your partner, you’re well on the way to MVP status!
More great relationship tips and relationship advice for men from the coaches at MensLine Australia
If you need relationship help and want to talk to a counsellor, call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78.