Strengthen Your Relationship by Avoiding These Mistakes

What not to do to make your relationship strong

- | 72 Aha! comments | Posted in category: Love & Relationships

a couple with thumps up show how to strengthen your relationship
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I’m sure you’ve tried to strengthen your relationship by doing things that you might have heard, read, or seen people do.

So, today I thought of writing about things to stop doing in your relationship that would help strengthen your relationship.

If you are like me, you would value your relationship more than anything else and make sure to keep working on it to make it better.

You might want to read my earlier post about why love hurts in a relationship and how to heal a relationship when love hurts – to know more about relationships.

So, if you are in a relationship, you need to be very careful of your actions and your words because they can hurt anyone – anytime. They also cause a lot of misunderstandings in the relationship.

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” ~ Henry Winkler

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Stop Doing These Things to Strengthen Your Relationship

If you want your relationship to get better and flourish, you need to avoid doing the following things –

1- Stop being a complainer

It’s alright to complain once in a while when you are in a relationship, but if you complain too often – you might just put off the other person.

Your partner might find it taxing or draining to be around you because you complain about every little things, and much too often.

Remember, people like to be around those who remain positive, so remain positive in your action and words.

Tip: You can make you relationship strong if you stop being a complainer.

2- Hurting through your comments

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Sometimes you feel that you are helping others by the way you talk. Instead, your good intentions might be taken negatively because of the way you express them verbally.

Words can hurt and leave scars, so choose your words wisely. Put yourself in the shoes of the other and think how you would feel if you were spoken to in such a way.

Tip: Build a strong relationship by speaking kindly, lovingly, and softly.

3- Talking and not listening

Listening is an art few can follow. Sometimes when you are in a relation, you just want someone to hear you out without giving solutions to you. You just want a listening ear more than anything else.

Most people look forward to share their feelings and frustrations with someone. This lightens them up and makes them feel better.

However, few people can really become good listeners. It often happens that when someone starts telling them their problems – they start talking about their own, or start giving solutions!

Such one-sided kind of conversation becomes stifling at times, and your relationship doesn’t really work.

Instead, your partner might look for another person who would be willing to hear him or her out – so be careful!

Tip: You can strengthen your relationship by being attentive and willing to hear out your partner, without letting your mind run to other things!

4- Being critical and defensive

Some of you might not take criticism well enough and tend to become defensive when you are given a feedback or criticized for something.

While there are others who take criticism well into their stride and use it to get better. They take it up in a positive way.

Constructive criticism and feedback is good, but if you become too critical it can hurt your relationship. If you keep complaining or highlighting the flaws of your partner, it can be very annoying.

Tip: You can make your relationship better by appreciating the good things in your partner.

5- Thinking that you are right and know everything

I’m sure most of you can relate to this one! You need to drop the belief that you are always right in whatever you do, because you can also be wrong.

Learn to accept this fact and listen to the other person because everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, even if it doesn’t match yours.

When you have preconceived ideas that you are right always, you are seemingly making the other person’s ideas stand wrong.

Remember, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there to learn, so don’t think you know it all.

Tip: Improve your relationship by opening up your mind to others, and by valuing them.

6- Staying distant

At times, in your relationship you might find some people who aren’t as responsive and prefer staying aloof or distant. They don’t respond to you or feel that you aren’t all that important.

What would you do in such a case? You would prefer to stay away from such people because you form a bad impression about their attitude and behavior.

Tip: Instead, strengthen your relationship by getting closer, responding, and reaching out to such people.

7- Ordering around

Most people don’t like when they are told what to do and what not to do. It’s like you are ordering them around or trying to boss over them and their lives.

I can relate to this as my husband feels that I’m ordering him around if I ask him to do certain things. Whereas, I do so because I’m short of time to explain things to him!

Even if you don’t mean to, it’s often taken in a negative way. You need to take time and explain things in a better manner.

Tip: Be gentle and loving with any person, and you’ll most likely build a strong relationship.

8- Judging others

Sometimes you might become judgmental about people in your relationship, or tend to think that you are above them. You might judge them for what they do or say.

Remember, you are no one to judge them because you don’t know how or what they are undergoing. Nor can you step into their shoes and live their lives.

No one likes to be judged or labeled – would you? Instead, by putting off people you don’t become a better person but make the other person insecure.

Tip: So, don’t judge or label people, but be kind and humble to make your relationship strong.

9- Not keeping your word

It often happens that people don’t keep their word, nor follow up on things they had agreed to do. They don’t stick to their promise, appointments, favors, or whatever they had said they would do.

This breaks the trust you have in the person because it makes the person unreliable. Besides leaving a bad taste in your mouth, you might not want to work or be associated with such a person in the future.

Tip: If you want to strengthen your relationship, be committed and responsible.

Hey! Let’s take a quick poll about how you would describe your relationship with your partner – just for fun!

So, how did the poll go, and what were your results? Let me know in the comments below.

Above all, don’t ever forget to communicate because poor communications leads to relationship problems. If you can’t talk to each other or share your feelings, your relationship needs help.

“Little kindness and courtesies are so important. In relationships, the little things are the big things.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

So, don’t wait, and go ahead and express your love right now!

Any relationship is like a tender bond. Remember, you can strengthen your relationship by nurturing this bond with love, care, and affection.

When the boat of your relationship sails smoothly, you will find eternal happiness and bliss in everything around you.

Over to you –

If you are or were in a relationship, what tips would you share to make the relationship strong? What things would you stop doing that will strengthen your relationship? Share in the comments below.

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos

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72 Comments - Read and share thoughts

  1. Hiten

    March 26, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    This was an excellent post on how we can strengthen our relationship by not doing the things you discussed.

    I can really appreciate the point you made about watching our words, as the wrong words said inappropriately can be very hurtful. After reading what you wrote on this, it has reminded me to be extra careful with my words and consider putting myself into the shoes of the other person receiving my message, before I say it out loud.

    Thank you.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      Hi Hiten,

      Glad you liked the post, which I wanted to make slightly different than the rest by mentioning things we should avoid if we want to strengthen our relationships.:)

      Absolutely! Wrong words can hurt and often leave scars for long. So, we need to be so careful while saying what we say as it’s tough to get things on track once the damage is done.

      You are right, we should put ourselves in the other persons shoes and try to feel what they would feel before we do or say things. Ah…knowing you I’m sure you are very good with your words and surely don’t have to worry about that aspect. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. Always nice to have you over. 🙂

  2. Shalu Sharma

    March 26, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I agree with all the points, most of the time issues are due to being bossy, not listening and trying to be over smart. But if you think about it and let it go and then you will realise that things will begin to improve and positive signals from the other side will also start emerging. To answer the question, I will go for the second option which is – we have our share of arguments, but make up after a while.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Shalu,

      Nice to know that you could relate to the post. 🙂

      Yes indeed, the biggest problem that stops us from strengthening our relationships is when we get our egos in-front of us. Just as you mentioned, we tend to not listen, get bossy, and act as if we know everything.

      We need to balance things out by giving a fair chance and a proper listening to our partner too, and not just take them for granted. Thanks for taking the poll. I guess most of us would go with the second option 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views. 🙂

  3. Bruce Sallan (

    March 26, 2013 at 8:00 pm

    Darn Harleena! If I listen to you, I’ll have no “Playbook” left!

    • Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2013 at 8:45 pm

      Hey Bruce,

      You don’t really have to listen to and agree with all I say! I really wish to know YOUR opinion. 🙂

      I appreciate you taking time to read and comment. Thanks 🙂

  4. Hajra

    March 26, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    A brilliant post. In today’s world, the toughest and also the most neglected is relationships. We feel the need to be connected to a million people online but are miserable at relationships in real life. You listed the points really well. For me, the most important thing is effective two way communication. Anything is possible if we manage to relay our lights well and understand what the other person wants to say.

    I have said this before, no one is a mind reader. I wouldn’t know what’s happening unless you tell me what’s going on. Talking it out will make all the difference.

    Sorry to have been so lost! My sister just and a baby so very busy these days! 🙂

    • Harleena Singh

      March 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Hi Hajra – welcome back – sure nice to see you 🙂

      Yes indeed, we often take our relationships for granted because we feel people will understand, whereas every relationship needs to be worked upon in order to keep it alive and fresh.

      You raised a good point about being connected online and maintaining our relationships here, while offline things take a back seat. Not to mention, the Internet and the time we spend online is also a major cause for a drift in relationships sometimes if we don’t limit it’s usage.

      I agree with you about two way communication, or else how does one convey what one feels to the other. This is the only thing that really works, and it’s all the more required when there are problems in any relationship too – isn’t it? When you talk and discuss things – you do come up with solutions, and as you mentioned – if you don’t talk how would the other person know what’s going on in your mind!

      Congratulations for the new arrival, and am sure you would be a busy aunt – not to worry about your absence – it’s understandable, and am just glad you are back.

      Thanks for stopping by. Have a nice week ahead 🙂

  5. sapna

    March 26, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    HI Harleena Di,

    Great post!

    I think the 3rd point is the one which I’m doing more often and at times repent because of this attitude of mine. I need to be bit careful or I can say need to improve. But the issue is till the time I make a conscious effort I tend to behave in the best possible way but as and when I forget to remain conscious, again those things crop up, so sustaining with that conscious effort remains the key till the time it becomes a part of habit.

    #6, I’ve experienced this type of behavior many times, here the concern of these type of people is “why should we be the first one to go and build relationship”…..clearly an attitude problem.

    Thanks Di for this great share.

    Sapna

    • Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2013 at 12:15 am

      Hi Sapna,

      Glad you liked the post and could relate to it 🙂

      Some of us are like that – and women more so are more talkative as compared to men – so don’t worry, you’re not alone. But I think our spouses understand that part of ours and wait patiently for their turn to speak. However, sometimes it works adversely if it’s another relationship we are dealing with, like our friends or extended family as everyone might not be that understanding always. I agree, if you are making a conscious effort, with time you will become an effective listener instead. 🙂

      Yes indeed, such people do have an attitude problem and it often becomes tough to deal with them. I guess we can try whatever best we can or then let go of such relationships if nothing works.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views with us. 🙂

  6. Vincent Nguyen

    March 26, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    I wish I had this wakeup call from my previous relationship! I was whiney, needy, passive aggressive, etc. Man, I was simply unbearable! What did she see in me?

    Obviously, I am a much better person now and I am excited for my future partner because hopefully she will get the best of me!

    • Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2013 at 12:26 am

      Hi Vincent,

      Aha…well, I wish I’d written this post earlier, especially for you. 🙂 I guess we all learn with age and time, and it’s never too late to learn and get better – isn’t it?

      I’m sure you would find a lovely partner now that you have changed as compared to what you were earlier. Wishing you the best in your future relationships. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  7. Evan

    March 26, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    Hurting through your comments is the worst. Unfortunately, the paradox of this fails is that we say the most offensive things mostly to our closed ones.. How come? Exactly, paradox ((

    • Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2013 at 12:35 am

      Hi Evan,

      Yes indeed, we get hurt and we tend to hurt others by our words, which we need to be careful of. Oh yes…we mostly tend to hurt the ones closest to us because we start taking them for granted and feel they will always understand and forgive us – isn’t it? I wish we realize this fact and bring about a change in ourselves, which will strengthen our relationship.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  8. Ahsan

    March 26, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    Well described post to maintain good relationship. The word “relationship” is not just a word. It means lot. Sometime a little mistake can break the relationship. So we need to give every step with full of knowledge & in honest way. You added some nice points. We need to listen before giving opinion.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2013 at 12:59 am

      Hi Ahsan,

      Glad you liked the post 🙂

      Absolutely! Relationship isn’t just a word we read about – it holds a lot of meaning, and is something we all need to live by. They are like tender bonds, just as I mentioned in the post, and a little tension can break things, which can often be beyond repairs too.

      I guess it makes sense to be honest and have total transparency, which will strengthen your relationship and make it better – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post. 🙂

  9. Jane

    March 26, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    You have presented great points here Harleena. I love the point about listening – most of the times, mere listening will help solve a variety of problems. But the impatient couple usually tend to speak up and make their own point instead of listening to what the other person says!

    • Harleena Singh

      March 27, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Hi Jane – nice to see you 🙂

      Glad you liked these points to strengthen your relationship. I agree with you about listening, which most of us aren’t really able to do and prefer talking more!

      Women are more talkative as compared to the men I think, and few are the kinds who would give a patience listening, though if they did, half the problems would be solved. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  10. Mayura

    March 27, 2013 at 12:52 am

    Hi Harleena,

    Best relationships happen not by meeting perfect partners, but understanding each others well, no? 🙂

    You will never be able to strengthen a relationship expecting the partner to do everything to make it work 🙂 Both need to dedicate for it as one soul.

    Constant complain and criticism won’t work out for sure dear 🙂 Even for something bad. Actually I don’t like ’em, but used to do sometimes. I think it happens when you have less respect towards the partner even you have got enormous love. Am I right? Kind and soft voice will touch someone than criticisms. However a complain once in a while might be effective.

    Not listening? Gosh… I will have a bad impression rightaway. With no effective communication, nothing would be possible as I guess. It reminds me of a girl in my school that used to listen her boyfriend all the time. I mean, boy do all the talking and girl try not to interrupt either. How come someone be like that?! BORING, no?

    Few times, my girlie felt that I’m ordering her and thinking I’m right all the time. Hey, I just thought that’s best for her and teach her to do something right. (Now you feel I’m trying to justify my actions? 😀 lol…) Yeah, being over-protective too 🙂 It didn’t work.

    But when she get the need for it, she reach me out and ask for it. So I thought, it’s best to let her be herself and don’t try to push hard even a good thing Harleena. We gotta find a way to fetch without letting ’em feel ordering. I don’t think it’s possible with no good understanding.

    When your partner feeling upset, do you know how to fix it? 😉 I don’t know how to define it. But that’s tricky and it’s been helping a lot in my relationship Harleena. But my girlie can’t beat me 😀 lol… (Don’t tell her)

    Have a loving week there dear 🙂

    Cheers…

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Absolutely Mayura!

      When the understanding is there – any relationship will only get better with time. Both sides need to work on a relationship – it cannot be one-sided at all, and if it is, it often leads to drifts because only one person keeps trying while the other partner often takes the one making the effort for granted.

      We all complain sometime or the other, and if it’s within limits it’s absolutely normal. But if we keep complaining all the time or criticize people, the relationship won’t last. The tone we use while talking matters a lot, and yes, soft and gentle tones can make a lot of difference, even if we have to complain about something!

      Both sides need to communicate with each other, or else how do you convey your feelings or thoughts to the other person. And you need to be a good listener also, and not just be the one to do all the talking! Some of us do that, and this as you rightly mentioned, might even bore our partners – so we need to be careful of that.

      That’s what exactly happens Mayura! We don’t mean to sound like we are ordering, but the way we talk or put across things seems like that, and our partners feel offended or feel we are wanting to have an upper hand, whereas we had no such intention. It takes a lot of effort then to clarify thing or misunderstandings that might arise. I agree, at times it’s best to let our partners be as they are and not really tell them things unless there is deep understanding, or unless they are receptive enough to you. Let them come to you with their problems, that works better I guess. 🙂

      Speaking of myself, when my partner feels upset I try to calm him and talk out things with him, though at times he’s not very open about his emotions. But he’s good at hiding the times when he’s upset, unless of course if he’s upset with me! We tend to give each other some time and then talk out to resolve issues – nothing works better than talking it out.

      Ah…don’t worry I wont tell your girlie about all that you mentioned here, unless of course she heads over and reads it. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by, and for your wonderful comment as always. 🙂

  11. Oluwaseun Babajide

    March 27, 2013 at 12:53 am

    God, I agree with all these points. I am not going to add anything to the list. The order is perfect and it came at the right time.
    I have to personally work on some of these which I am not sharing hahaha.
    Warm Regards,
    Seun

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Seun,

      Glad you agree with these points that came at the right time for you. 🙂

      Aha…don’t worry, I won’t ask you to share what areas you need to work on, as long as you work on them and get better. And that’s the case with all of us, as no one’s really perfect – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

      • Oluwaseun Babajide

        March 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm

        Sure, no one is perfect. Thanks again for sharing and I look forward to read more of this as usual 🙂

        • Harleena Singh

          March 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

          Absolutely Seun – no one is really perfect, though we keep striving to get better daily – isn’t it?

          Thanks once again 🙂

  12. Nirmala

    March 27, 2013 at 12:56 am

    I like and agree all your points Harleena!

    Hope am doing good and strengthening my relationship as I never do these mistakes. I hate these and will love to listen what others are saying.

    Nice post, thanks for sharing, keep writing 🙂

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Hi Nirmala,

      Nice to know that you agree with the ways to strengthen your relationships shared here. If you aren’t making any mistakes as you mentioned, you’re surely doing a great job – keep it up! I guess we need to learn a lot from you then. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and for your works of encouragement. 🙂

  13. Sue Neal

    March 27, 2013 at 1:28 am

    I agree with all your tips, Harleena – as you say, the key is good communication. I think another big mistake is to start taking your partner for granted – it’s easy to do that. Also to be patient and understanding if your partner’s going through a hard time, which might make them behave in ways that you find difficult.

    I think one of the main things is to realise that your partner’s human, with weaknesses and failings – after the initial flush of romance is over and those cracks begin to show, that’s when things can start to go wrong, particularly if you start trying to change your partner to turn them into the perfect person you want them to be, rather than accepting them for who they are – warts and all!

    Sue

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Hi Sue,

      Glad you agree with these tips, and yes, communication IS the key and something that really works. 🙂

      I agree, most of us tend to take our partners for granted or tend to assume they would understand us, when in-fact they are the ones who need to be handled with care.

      You are absolutely right about being patient and understanding, as they are ways to show you care for their feelings. And they need us most during their down times – isn’t it?

      I liked what you mentioned about not trying to change our partners and accepting them for who and what they are, which most people don’t do. They prefer to have their way, or want to mold their partner to be what they want. Oh yes…when the initial romance is over and the real picture comes in-front, that’s the time most problems start arising, especially if we can’t accept our partners weak points. I guess we all need to make the constant effort to work on our relationships – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom with all of us. 🙂

  14. Koundeenya

    March 27, 2013 at 2:56 am

    Loved it completely, Harleena.

    Each of the points is so valid to be true. Pointing out the mistakes definitely hurts. I really love the Talking and Not Listening point, because I’ve personally experienced it.

    I feel happy whenever I read articles related to love and relationships. Absolutely love them. It somehow connects with at least a single incident from my relationship.

    Thanks for the share.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm

      Hi Koundeenya – nice to see you. 🙂

      Glad you found the post useful, and yes, these are surely things to avoid if you want to strengthen your relationship!

      Anyone would be hurt if the tone used is a one of criticizing or complaining, which hurts more than pointing out to the real mistake. Ah..yes…if we keep talking and don’t listen to our partner, we are being selfish I think because we don’t the other person a chance, and how do we really get to know what’s going on in their mind?

      It’s nice to know that the posts on love and relationship resonate so well with you. I guess if it helps people in some ways, my purpose of blogging is solved. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post. 🙂

  15. Theodore Nwangene

    March 27, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Hi Harleena,
    I might say I’m guilty of number 1 but, see what happened. At the moment, I’m not in any serious relationship, i separated with my girl friend last year. The issue is that i don’t what happened.

    Although, we haven’t officially called off the relationship as we normally call each other sometimes, but i still like her, but she’s not giving me attention again.

    Now, i met a girl few weeks ago whom i thought will make a good relationship, but she is guilty of number 9, if we book an appointment, she will fail and will later give me some flimzy excuses. She does this all the time.

    That was when i became guilty of number 1…. I will be complaining about what she is doing and she will say i complain a lot. In fact, I’ve decided to let her be.

    Now, is it better the way i was telling that what she is doing is not good, or would i have kept calm?

    I didn’t tick any of the questions you asked above because like i said, i don’t have any serious girl as of now. I have many of them but nothing serious.

    Still searching.

    Thanks.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      Hi Theodore,

      You’re not alone to say that because sometimes we really get to know what happened in our relationships, especially if we (feel) haven’t done anything wrong! But like they say it always takes two to tango, so the fault is most likely on both sides. I guess if you still like her and she’s not paying attention, she might be upset with something – so why not ask her? Being frank and honest is the best thing possible in such cases.

      Ah…the new girl seems to have her share of problems is it? If you really like her better than the earlier one, perhaps you need to talk out and ask her too why she’s avoiding you – she might be having her own reasons. I guess till you don’t ask- you never know and might tend to assume things – isn’t it?

      I agree, in such cases you would complain, though you should ideally be trying to talk out things, which might help you and your friend solve the problem in hand.(Just a friendly suggestion!)

      Hope your search ends soon and you find someone worth your while. I think with all the above mentioned mistakes, you would be sure to avoid them and strengthen your relationships in the future. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us. 🙂

      • Theodore Nwangene

        March 29, 2013 at 1:57 am

        Hi Leena,

        The issue is that I’ve tried to ask her what is the problem or what I did to her on several occations, and she will always pretend that there is no problem while there is.

        I think the first step to solving a problem is to first of all identify it.

        As for the new girl, I don’t like her again.

        Thanks.

        • Harleena Singh

          March 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm

          Ah…that IS a major problem then I guess, when she says there is no problem and yet behaves the way she does. Or perhaps she has some other issues shes dealing or undergoing that you might not know of, and it all comes out in this form.

          I agree, if we can’t make out or identify the problem, how can we solve it – leave along strengthen the relationship. It’s easy to leave when you don’t like a person – no tensions and no worries 🙂

          Thanks once again, and hope your problems are solved soon too. 🙂

  16. Bren (Pibbles & Me)

    March 27, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Interesting post Harleena! My vote was “Not Bad”. We don’t have a perfect relationship and there are things we both could improve on, more him than me :), but we make it work. My hubs can be a complainer and a big negative downer. I tell him to stop it because I try to remain upbeat and positive as much as possible and he tries to steal my light. Ugh! If things are brought to his attention like “spending more time with family”, he comes up with some stupid excuse and gets on the defensive. I know I’m not perfect but I married the man to be with him, not to be without him in the same house, know what I mean? However, somehow it still works. We have our moments. Him being previously married, I often wonder if the ex went through the same thing. 🙂

    Gives ya something to think about. Bottom line to me is either you make it work, or get rid of it. Easier said than done probably.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 12:31 am

      Hi Bren,

      That’s what most people are voting for, which I feel is very normal in any relationship too – to have our shares of ups and downs, but then make up in the end. I guess it keeps the relationship healthy and going. I second you about the guys needing more to improve on than us, though they don’t believe that!:)

      That’s how things are mostly Bren, one partner would be the complaining kinds and the other would be calm and positive. I guess that’s why things remain balanced out. And our partners sometimes will have the last word or not agree to what we have to say, or perhaps it’s the male ego that comes in the way, though I guess later they have their way to get around and sort things out too – isn’t it?

      You are right, in the end we do manage to make things work and that’s what strengthens your relationship as you go through so much together. I think by the time we age or grow old with our spouses we would know them inside out or perhaps all these struggles might just end and make like boring. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with us. 🙂

  17. Cynthia

    March 27, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This is an incredibe article because it really makes you think about the relationships that you have with other people. I really try not to be judgemental to anyone. I’ve had a really hard life so I understand that what it looks like on the surface is not always what it feels like underneath. I know that when I am not happy with my spouse I tend to not listen, I will hear the words coming out of his mouth but the brain is processing something different. This was a good wake up call for me and my relationships with other people.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 12:46 am

      Hi Cynthia,

      Glad you liked this post on what all to avoid in order to to strengthen your relationship 🙂

      You are right about not being judgmental because we are really no one to judge people, and what a person undergoes through his/her life isn’t something we can really make out. What goes on within may or may not really be visible to our eyes.

      I agree, when there are problems in relationships, our minds just switch off and anything our partners share or tell seems wrong, even though it might be right. I guess we aren’t in the receptive mood at all and might even find faults in every small thing or make issues out of nothing. All of this gets alright once those issues or problems are resolved and we are happy again – isn’t it? That’s what relationships are made up of – ups and downs, the good and bad times – a perfect blend. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views 🙂

  18. Chrysta Bairre

    March 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm

    What wonderful tips to improve all relationships- from our relationship with ourselves to professional relationships and, of course, personal relationships!

    I see a lot of advice that pertains to personal relationships, and far less insights being shared to improve professional relationships and the most important relationship we have with ourselves.

    In my experience it’s often easier to complain, judge, hurt, boss, and lie to ourselves and our co-workers.

    When it comes to our self-relationship we may see through a lens of justification and preconceived notions. We don’t often take the time to stop and challenge our beliefs and determine if they are helping or hurting ourselves.

    In professional relationships we may adopt the perspective that we have to work with these people but they are people we didn’t choose and they are ultimately unimportant to us. But the truth is the people we work with every day have a significant impact on our lives and they are, of course, very important in our life.

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips!

    Chrysta

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 12:51 am

      Welcome to the blog Chrysta – nice to have you over 🙂

      I’m glad you like the post. It’s a generalized post for personal relationships and I agree with the characteristics that you’ve mentioned about professional relationships.

      You’re right, as humans, it is our natural tendency to seek the most easy and comfortable path. Being negative comes naturally to most people as that is the path of least efforts. You need to make efforts to be positive and seek the right path.

      It is easy and common to have preconceived notions, presumptions, and stereotypes. They do negatively affect our relationships, but sometimes help too. Yes, you do need a separate set of guides for a professional relationship, as those may not really work for our personal relationships, which as you mention are a part of our daily life. The relationship with our self is of utmost importance and one needs to be true and honest in it, and this really impacts your other relationships.

      Thanks for sharing your views on the different types of relationships and contributing to the post. 🙂

  19. Debbie

    March 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Harleena,

    You did a darn good job in covering everything when it comes to relationships and communication is the biggest for me. However number 3 is very important. I have found when it comes to men, if a woman has a problem there first reponse is to try to fix it (men want to fix, so when I have something that I don’t need help fixing I will let hubby know I just need to get this off my chest. I don’t need fixed.

    This way he knows I just want him to listen.

    I do have a great relationship with hubby, but it does take work, like watering your garden. It doesn’t get better if you don’t take good care of it.
    Thanks for the reminders.
    Debbie

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Hi Debbie,

      Nice to know that you could relate to the post, and yes, communication for me is the key that helps strengthen your relationship.

      You’re right about #3 and yes, men often try fixing things all the time even when women just want to be heard without any explanation from men – wish more men would understand this simple fact. 🙂

      Nice to know about your wonderful relationship with your husband, which I think is your secret to a long and loving marriage – isn’t it? I agree, any relationship, especially when you are married, takes a lot of hard work and nurturing. This again most people forget and start taking each other for granted after a few years of marriage.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post. 🙂

  20. Ashley Porter

    March 27, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    These are pretty good tips. I can say in the past I was defensive and couldnt accept feedback because I thought others were intentionally trying to hurt me. I realize feed back is better when given in private and more compliments are given then complaints. I also realize feedback is just that an opinion of someone else I can chose to accept it or not.

    I like how you added a poll to you blog post. Well I am single but otherwise I’d take it.

    Good tips here Harleena!

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Hi Ashley,

      Glad you liked these tips we should avoid to strengthen our relationship.

      Ah…I can relate to that too because most of us tend to get defensive if we aren’t able to take things positively as we don’t know of the other persons intentions. Feedback if negative are better given privately, though compliments we love getting publicly – isn’t it? 🙂

      I agree, feedback or even criticism is the opinion of another person, which we can choose to accept or not let it affect us too – the choice is always in our hand. However, they do have a negative effect in most cases I feel as we tend to take them personally.

      The poll was just for fun and to see how people best describe their relationship. I’m glad most of them chose that they have their share of problems, but make up in the end, which shows they have a healthy and normal relationship.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  21. Corina Ramos

    March 27, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Great advice Harleena.

    My husband and I have been together for twenty-one years. Although in the beginning of our relationship we had those growing pains like other couples do but thankfully we’ve grown to value our relationship more and we’re stronger than ever.

    We do have our disagreements, who doesn’t but the key is to talk to each other and not yell. Which is difficult for me because I’m a hot head LOL 🙂 It’s funny though, we feel more like newlyweds now than when we actually were…I love it 🙂

    Enjoy the rest of the week Harleena!

    • Harleena Singh

      March 29, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Hi Corina,

      Glad you liked the advice shared and it surely means a lot coming from you as you would know it best, being married for 21 years! You must be having so many things to share and tell all of us here about how we can strengthen our relationship 🙂

      I agree, every relationship has those teething problems initially, but with time and understanding each other better – the bond only gets better. Yes indeed, we all have our share of problems, but everything can be resolved by discussing things.

      I’m sure if your hubby would be the cool one if you are hot-headed – that’s mostly the case and it helps create the right balance in a relationship too. Ah…that’s so sweet that you feel more like newlyweds, or perhaps you have all the time now with your kids not with you 😉

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom with us. Have a nice weekend 🙂

  22. June

    March 27, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    This is a fantastic post Harleena. Although I’m not in a relationship at the moment or haven’t been in one for what seems like an eternity, this article spoke volumes to me.

    It seems that I did all the things I shouldn’t have done when I was married. I’ve learnt from my mistakes though. I remember my dad telling me once, ‘If you jump out of the frying pan you’ll jump into the fire,’ He was so right. You see I was in a relationship already when I made a decision to jump from that one into another. Big mistake!

    After the excitement wore off, we both complained a lot, talked but not listen, thought we knew it all and judged each other. We gave as good as we got. It was disastrous. It’s like we didn’t know how to give love without hurting.

    Thank God I’ve had time to heal, learn from past mistakes and changed my mind-set. I’m now a more rounded person because I can look back and see how terrible I was as a partner. I can’t blame him for the mess we found ourselves in. I played a big part in it as well.

    Thanks for this article.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:04 pm

      Hi June – nice to have you back after long. 🙂

      Glad you could relate to the post. Ah…you feel you shouldn’t have done all the things you did in your marriage, though I wonder if your spouse also felt the same way because it’s often the fault on both sides with causes problems in a marriage.

      Your father spoke wisely, and often times people DO fall from the frying pan into the fire or rush into another relationship too soon, without really giving their present relationship time to work, or getting over the earlier one.

      Sorry to hear about all that you had to undergo, and I can understand it’s never easy. I guess all the above mistakes must have resonated with you in more ways than one. More so, we tend to hurt the one we love the most – isn’t it?

      I’m glad that bitter phase of your life is over and you’ve learnt and matured more as a person. Yes indeed, we really can’t blame our partner for things that don’t work for both of us, as we too are party to it.

      But you never know – you might just find someone worth your while now – it’s never too late! So, here’s wishing you all the very best. I say this because you know all that it takes to strengthen your relationship now – isn’t it? So, you can’t go wrong now.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us. 🙂

  23. Babanature

    March 27, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    Hello Harleena,
    You just mentioned somethings i love doing! like ignoring when someone’s talk 😀 i have a really bad habit when it comes to ignoring stuffs, but hey! my girl has already gotten used to the ignoring stuff. I have been trying to let go of the habit, but like the old ones would say; it is easy to pick up bad habit but very hard to let go. Nobody’s perfect so we try our best to make our relationship a perfect one…
    Thanks for this lovely post and do have a kind week ahead…

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm

      Hi Babanature,

      Aha…I seem to have nailed it right then. 🙂

      If you ignore when others talk, do they let you get away with it – I wonder? Yes, if it’s your wife, she must have got used to it by now – just like all wives do (mostly!) 🙂

      However, I wonder for how long! I for one would need my husbands full attention when I talk, or then I don’t talk at all, which makes him leave all work and hear me out.

      I agree, it’s easy to pick up bad habits and tough to change ourselves too. But if we know the good that will come out of it – we will try for it – isn’t it?

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post. Enjoy your weekend too. 🙂

  24. B K chowla

    March 28, 2013 at 11:24 am

    In my opinion, between such sensitive relations,there can be nor are there any rules.
    Each one has to see other’s point of view.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:12 pm

      Hi BK,

      I agree, these are sensitive issues. What works for one, might or might not work for another, and we really can’t form, nor follow any kind of rules when we talk of strengthening relationships. It’w what best works for you that you should do. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  25. Pauline

    March 28, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Hi Harleena

    Great post, I think it does take a lot of hard work to keep a relationship strong, we have been married for nearly 20 years and most of the time it has been great but we have had our moments!

    We are now trying to have a “date night” once a week to keep the romance going, we do like to hold hands, kiss etc but I agree with you that words can hurt.

    Thanks for sharing
    Pauline

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Hi Pauline – nice to have you back 🙂

      Glad you liked the post. Yes indeed, it takes a lot of hard work and continuous effort to strengthen your relationship and keep it fresh. You would know best being married for that long. 🙂

      I agree, we all have our share of ups and downs, which I think is very healthy and normal. Ah…that’s so romantic indeed, to have a date night – I need to forward your comment to my husband *hint hint*.

      Yes, we do need to be careful of our words as they sure can hurt a great deal, and often leave scars unless the issue isn’t talked of and resolved.

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the post. 🙂

  26. Mosam Gor

    March 28, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Hi Harleena Ma’am

    Great Post!

    Yes, Great Points..Judging others.. Don’t Judge any people in your relationship .. Well Nothing Say. Because.. I Am Not Single, Nor Committed, But Reserve For The One who Deserve 😛 😀 ;)..Thanks for Writing ma’am.

    Mosam

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:20 pm

      Hi Mosam,

      Glad you liked the post 🙂

      I agree, we are really no one to judge anyone else – isn’t it? It’s good that you are as yet single and not committed, so I guess all these tips would help you strengthen your relationship, whenever you fall into one. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  27. Robyn

    March 28, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Essentially, if a couple can agree to listen to each other without becoming defensive, and speak without being offensive, their communication and relationship will improve exponentially, because each will feel respected, heard and understood.

    Admittedly, this communication techniques is difficult and involves a commitment on both parts to slow down, to learn to listen carefully, and sometimes keep some of our choicest(less kind) words to ourselves.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      Welcome to the blog Robyn!

      You are absolutely right, though sadly that’s often the things couples don’t do! I rarely see couples listen to each other or speak without being offensive, more so when they place their egos between their relationships. Yes, this is seen in older couples who with time have learnt to love and understand each other, and take each other for who they are.

      It is indeed tough to follow what you said, though not impossible if there is complete love and understanding between both partners, which I feel comes only with time in most cases.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your views with us. 🙂

  28. Rupali Gupta

    March 28, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Nice post, to build a strong relation its essential to avoid these mistakes that you mentioned and i personally never do these mistakes.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:30 pm

      Hi Rupali,

      Glad you liked the post. 🙂

      Yes indeed, to strengthen our relationship, we should try to avoid the above mentioned mistakes, which isn’t easy – but not impossible too if we really want things to work between ourselves and our partners.

      Thanks for stopping by, and it’s great if you aren’t committing these mistakes, which means you have a perfect relationship 🙂

  29. Adrienne

    March 29, 2013 at 12:42 am

    Well Harleena, I’m not in a relationship so I didn’t participate in the poll but I had an ex friend contact me two weeks ago wanting rekindle our friendship.

    My response to her lead to her misunderstanding what I said which lead to really hurtful things she said. I let it bother me so much because I do care about her and I have no idea why she always twists what I say. I just don’t understand why she wants to rekindle our friendship when she always takes what I say and turns it around.

    So everything you stated here, I would have loved to send that to her but it would have done a lot more harm. I’m done with that one anyway so I have no more unhealthy relationships in my life.

    Yay!!!

    ~Adrienne

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Hi Adrienne,

      That’s absolutely alright, and the poll was just for fun and to see how people would best describe their relationship. I’m glad not many said it was perfect, and voted for being not bad 🙂

      Sorry to hear about your ex friend, though I feel there might have been some communication gap for her to feel something different than what you meant. I guess that must have resulted in her saying hurtful things, though that’s no reason whatsoever to say words that hurt anyone.

      Perhaps she is seeking your attention or misses your friendship, and twists or says things to get a reaction from you. Wonder if talking out things straight with her would help, by just asking her why she does or says such things.

      I can understand that sending this post to her would do more harm, though maybe you talking to her might help know her inner feelings. Of course, only if you wish to, or else if it’s happened a bit too often – it’s best to let such relationships pass and make room for those that matter.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experiences with all of us. 🙂

  30. Mary Stephenson

    March 29, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Hi Harleena

    After 46 years of marriage, it has had its ups and downs. Probably what has kept us together is that we are opposite in a lot of ways and very similar in others. We never yell at each other, nor hit each other. Mind you there are times I would have loved to have screamed!

    He got the message a few years back that he didn’t really listen and has learned how to be attentive. He is quick to remind me of this milestone!

    I was always one for not talking much so my silence has probably saved a lot of belted out words that could never be taken back. Not that I haven’t complained and rightly should have, probably should have more than I did at times. But I always thought about how it would come out of my mouth, so I always picked my words carefully.

    Yeah I hate that when people want to give you solutions and all I want to do is vent my frustrations. Please be quiet and listen or just “I totally feel your pain” would do nicely!

    I think the big problem with couples and relationships is that they just don’t get the part of how the other person really feels. Men and women have such huge differences of what is and isn’t important and what is fair. When time passes along you being to realize what you do have in common and what really matters. You surely can’t change anyone you can only hope that somehow you can find a common ground on the difference and hope that the similarities are strong enough to make it all worth it.

    Lots of great guidance in your post for any relationships.

    Mary

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Hi Mary,

      You always amaze me when you say 46 years of marriage, and would be the best person to talk on this subject 🙂

      I agree, marriage does have it’s ups and downs, but then that’s what makes it all worthwhile – isn’t it? Most couples are like that – opposite and similar in lots of things, that’s what keeps the balance I think.

      I’m glad you found your way to make your hubby listen to you, which I feel is so important, more so for women who love talking and want to be heard! Nice to know you have always been careful with your words, something that I need to learn as my words sometimes hurt my better half, even though they aren’t said in that way. I guess the tone you use and the way you say your words matter a lot too.

      Lol…yes indeed – I too wish people would just listen to us and not lecture us or give us their views, because sometimes you just want to vent out or be heard, or just express your feelings and emotions.

      Yes, if couples or partners care for each other, they would care for each others feelings, though I feel that strong love and understanding in most cases, comes with time. I guess when both sides begin to appreciate each other for who and what they are, without trying to change them to what they like – things start falling into place.

      I liked what you said that we need to find the good points and similarities that work for both in a relationship and take it up from there, rather than pin-pointing to what doesn’t work.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your pearls of wisdom with us. Your comment is surely a great learning experience for all of us. 🙂

  31. shaun

    March 30, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I think a lot of this has to do with how you see the world. If you look at the negatives you will do most of the things on this list. If you keep positive and just enjoy life with your partner you will both be much happier. 🙂

    • Harleena Singh

      March 30, 2013 at 10:25 pm

      Welcome to the blog Shaun!

      Yes indeed, a lot depends on the way we see things. A positive person will see positive in everything around him or her, while a person who wants to find fault or see negative will find faults in everything and everyone. I guess a lot depends on how well you know your partner and understand each other.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  32. Sherman Smith

    March 31, 2013 at 1:33 am

    This is my first time to your blog and numbers 3 and 4 caught my attention. I know at times and I can’t take criticism well and become decision, but I come to figure the difference between friendly criticism and negative criticism. When I feel that person is trying to help, then I’ll definitely be all ears, but if it’s someone who is negative, I figure that they’re miserable and bitter and the only way they can feel better about themselves is to bring me down. So I just disregard their comments and move on.

    When it comes to listening and talking, I think I’m a better listener than a talker. At one point as soon as someone tells me their problems, I instantly give them a solution without listen to the rest of what they have to say. That frustrated and pissed off a lot of people. Now I tend to ask permission if they want my opinion of what they need to do after I listen to everything. That way we all can be on the same vibe.

    • Harleena Singh

      March 31, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Welcome to the blog Sherman!

      I agree, not everyone can take criticism well enough, though as you mentioned, if you can distinguish between good or friendly criticism from the bad one – you can cope with things. It’s best to keep away from those who try to bring you down or keep criticizing you or your work, as that tends to bring us down and turn negative at times.

      It’s wonderful if you are a better listener, which must make your partner a lucky person! Ah…I can understand the eagerness to help, though it’s a wiser decision to ask people if they would like your views, which would get you more respect I think. Also, people would like that you are paying full attention to what you are saying – which is what most people want – someone to listen to them. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  33. charmie

    April 30, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Respected Harleena Ma’am,

    I must say an awesome one again. I read this article having my mug of coffee and my coffee tasted much better from the usual one. Trust me. 🙂
    I must say that the era in which we are living where the only concern is to sustain in the competition and earn the bucks of Vitamin M, we often neglect the relationships.

    Thank you so much for sharing such important points.

    Regards
    Charmie

  34. Sebastian Aiden Daniels

    June 9, 2013 at 4:02 am

    This isn’t just for romantic relationships. It can apply to friendships. I have distanced myself from some friends because of their constant negativity and judging. It is difficult and tiring to be around. There is a fine line to draw between having a hard time and talking about your problems and then just always always complaining. It is draining.

    Keeping distant is something I do since I fear intimacy. I have gotten better about it and yet it is still difficult. I really enjoyed this post. : D.

  35. shahalam khan

    July 27, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    This is very nice article about understanding a relationship better and I like that point that you have to listen to your partner more and it’s so true, thanks for sharing.

  36. Roy A. Ackerman, PhD, EA

    October 14, 2013 at 3:27 am

    These are a good start, Harleena.
    The key issue to add- given the 9 on your list (and the 1 or 2 more I would add)- is the caveat that if more than three or four of these issues are routine problems, it’s time to find a mediator, a counselor, or a shrink that can help you both navigate the shoals you seem to be approaching- at breakneck speed.




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Read more posts in the category: Love & Relationships




Strengthen Your Relationship by Avoiding These Mistakes

by Harleena Singh time to read: 5 min