How to Maintain a Positive Perspective of Your Partner
Maintaining a positive perspective of one’s partner is one of the most important components of a healthy relationship. The positive perspective is when our positive feelings and sentiments towards our relationship, overshadow the negative feelings (think rose-colored glasses).
This is not to say that at times we aren’t permitted to harbor negativity towards our partner, it simply means that we generally see our partner through a positive lens. Maintaining a positive perspective is what naturally happens when the friendship system is working well.
When partners feel loved, respected, appreciated and considered, the positive perspective is a natural bonus that plays a pivotal role in any relationship. Couples who maintain an overall positive perspective have a much easier time giving their partner the benefit of the doubt when certain things come up and are much likelier to experience neutral or even negative interactions as positive.
The positive perspective determines a lot in the relationship such as problem- solving, conflict management, and making repair efforts. Our held perspective seeps into the nooks and crannies of the relationship to where day-today interactions and quality time together are affected. In this blog, I am going to provide several “evidenced-based” (proof that it works!) methods for developing and maintaining a positive perspective of your partner.
1. Let Your Partner Influence You:
Letting your partner influence you means that you take their position/perspective on things into consideration. It means that you have flexibility within yourself to create space for your partner’s perspective regarding opinions, decisions or thoughts on anything where you might disagree. It means valuing what they have to say even if you see things differently.
Dr. Gottman’s research has shown that you must let your partner influence you as one of the ways of creating an egalitarian relationship; both partners are in the driver’s seat and both partners are the CEO holding equal importance within the relationship. No one is seen as more valuable or superior to the other. When we invest in this principle, we are not only considering our partner, we are conveying honor and respect.
When we accept influence, we demonstrate that we accept and value our partner and are more likely to work better through unresolvable differences (which everybody has). Something you can do is ask yourself if these statements are true. If each of these statements are true, you are likely accepting influence from your partner.
I value my partner’s opinions.
I don’t always have to be right when we argue.
I care about my partner’s feelings and how they experience things.
2. Share Fondness and Admiration:
Another way to build and maintain a positive perspective is to consistently convey what you love, admire or appreciate about your partner. It’s not enough to have kind thoughts about your partner (although it does count), but we have to remember to say them out loud.
When we connect to our partner’s positive attributes (the good stuff), we are more likely to feel thankful for the role he/she plays in our life and the relationship. This plays a huge part in holding a positive perspective.
One of my favorite homework assignments that I give my couples is to say at least 1 positive thing about the other person every day. Doing this over time aids in partners feeling endeared to each other and having a more loving relationship.
3. Accept and Make Bids for Connection:
A bid for connection is any gesture to interact with your partner in a way that’s reliably positive. Bids are efforts to get attention, humor, affection, affirmation, support etc… Bids can be verbal and non-verbal such as a smile, holding out your hand for your partner’s, validating something your partner said, giving a sexy wink or saying “hey baby, you’re looking good!”
Bids for connection reflect that our partner is important to us and that we value their needs and their presence. When we make bids, we are demonstrating that we are investing in the relationship and our partner.
When your partner makes a bid, it’s imperative to lean in or “turn towards” your partner by responding in a loving way as often as possible (there are some exceptions - no one is perfect). This builds up our positive perspective as these day-to-day interactions are the building blocks of a relationship.
I often refer to this principle as the heartbeat of the relationship that keeps things flowing in the right direction. There are a million ways to make bids but here are some ideas to practice this valuable skill:
Ask your partner an open ended question, starting a conversation.
Look at them and smile.
Initiate affection or sex.
Be proactive about making fun plans together.
Maintaining a positive perspective comes from a variety of sources within a relationship. Accepting influence, expressing fondness and admiration and making and accepting bids for connection are powerful ways of creating the relationship you want and maintaining a positive perspective. Practicing these tools will drastically improve a relationship even if not done perfectly.
If you or your partner are struggling to hold onto the positive perspective and would like to learn more, I’m here to help! I invite you to contact me for your complimentary consultation at 954-391-5305.
I provide counseling for adults and couples who want to boost their happiness and fulfillment in life and their relationships. I provide therapy in both Fort Lauderdale, FL and Coral Springs, FL as well as online counseling via our secure telehealth platform for those who reside in the state of Florida.
For couples who aren't sure whether they are both on the same page about working on the relationship with couples counseling, I offer Discernment Counseling services to help you gain the clarity you need to move forward. For more information about my services, click here.