Compassion is described as the act of displaying sensitivity and consideration for the suffering or wellbeing of others. Ironically, most relationships end because one or both partners often feel overlooked, undervalued, or treated poorly. I hate to see a relationship that has the potential to last a lifetime fall apart over a lack of care and consideration. So, I want to share some of my findings on how to have more compassion in a relationship.
The greatest thing you can do is tap into the part of you that enjoys being a person of service to others.
Finding joy in meaningful interactions can contribute heavily to the wellbeing of our relationships, and often it comes from being useful, considerate, and kind.
I know this sounds crazy to say, but you have to stop looking at other relationships for guidance.
When we spend too much time looking outwardly, we lose sight of the lessons that are applicable to us directly.
Life is constantly trying to teach us lessons through wins and losses. Pay attention to your partner, try new things, communicate, and evaluate the overall quality of your relationship.
Just try this for a while, and you’ll learn from life and your partner how to be more compassionate in your relationship.
Okay, now that I’m done lecturing you (haha), let’s get into some of these lessons on compassion that I’m dying to share.
How To Be A Compassionate Partner
1. Be grateful for your relationship
The grass isn’t greener on the other side.
Whoever convinced you that it was, lied to you.
The grass is greener where you water it.
What does that mean?
It means that the best relationship is the one that you feed and care for. It’s so easy to take what and who we have for granted when novelty wears off and comfort sets in.
Complacency and comfort will lure you into a false sense of ownership over your relationship.
Only when you lose it do you realize just how valuable your partner and your relationship really are.
How unfortunate is that?
The best way to display compassion in a relationship, consistently and genuinely, begins with the process of counting your blessings.
- You need to remember what it was like to be alone, to be afraid, and to be single.
- You need to recognize that there are people out there who would do anything to have a wonderful relationship or partner like you do.
- You need to acknowledge that your partner is making a choice to be with you.
You’re lucky, and they are lucky.
But it can be snatched away from you without warning.
People can and will leave.
Some stay for as long as they can until life takes them away.
You have to remind yourself of this fact of life and stop living under the false assumption that forever exists on this planet.
The regret of losing someone special, knowing that you didn’t love them wholly and properly, will stay with you for a long time.
I don’t want that to be your story.
Believe me, I know that it sounds slightly morbid to reflect on mortality regularly, but it really helps me to be grateful for who I have in my life.
Gratitude and compassion flow through me when I’m aware of how life works and how empty I’d feel without my loved ones.
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2. Practice patience
The hardest thing for me to do was remain patient when my partner wasn’t having a good day.
It’s so easy to get frustrated or upset when you’re trying to connect with them, but they’re not in the right space or mood.
Pandering doesn’t work, nor does getting annoyed about it.
Feeling frustrated is okay, but if you choose to remain calm, patient, and respectful in spite of their bad mood, then you’re actually being more compassionate in your relationship because you’re recognizing their feelings without resenting or punishing them for them.
Hold your tongue.
It’s so easy to complain about silly things, but is it worth it?
I’m all for the expression of emotions, and there’s a great deal of value in being authentic with your partner. They’ll want you to share your feelings with them, especially when it has to do with the relationship.
But ongoing complaints over mundane things only breed feelings of annoyance, judgment, and resentment.
Give your partner some leeway in your day-to-day life because they’re humans and they can’t be perfect all of the time.
It’s compassionate to give them this freedom rather than sitting on their case for small issues like leaving their cup on the table or not placing the toilet lid down.
3. Be understanding of your partner’s plight
Despite being in a relationship, what most of us learn is that our challenges may differ, and the way we perceive and deal with stressors may also differ.
After a series of tumultuous events in my life, I found it really hard to relate to the problems my friends had.
We’d have conversations, and they would be freaking out about problems that seemed mundane and petty to me.
But to them, they weren’t insignificant or petty problems.
In fact, their problems mattered to them just as much as my problems mattered to me.
Dismissing their issues would make them feel horrible and I would become a bad friend who they resented or didn’t feel safe confiding in.
It’s important to recognize other people’s problems within their context.
Take the time to listen and discuss the issues your partner is facing in their life. Don’t minimize or belittle them for how they feel. It’s okay to use your own experiences as a framework to display solutions that helped you cope and overcome obstacles, but don’t weaponize this to make your partner feel small or insignificant.
I promise you that your partner will appreciate the fact that you showed compassion and care for their problems, even if they weren’t remotely as serious as yours.
Related article: 8 Reasons why people stay in bad marriages
4. Be forgiving
Forgiveness sounds like an easy action, but when you’ve been hurt by someone you love, it can be hard to fully let go of the pain.
Your partner is going to make mistakes from time to time.
Some days, they’re going to grate on your nerves or say something that rubs you the wrong way.
It’s easy to become intolerant of small mishaps and mistakes when you’re in a serious relationship like marriage.
It’s even easier to bicker and argue your point, but in a relationship, you have to focus on winning as a team, not as an individual.
Provide the safety and freedom for your partner to be a fallible person without being reprimanded or fought with whenever they mess up.
When they apologize and mean it, practice forgiveness.
Don’t hold their flaws and imperfections over them.
Let it go when you decide to forgive and keep growing as a team.
When you give your partner the time and space to learn more about the relationship and how to show up more lovingly, they’ll be inspired to do better and to be with you.
This is one of the ways to have more compassion in a relationship.
5. Be gracious with your words
Recently, I was helping my mother and sister film a video for their website, and I was giving instructions to them from time to time.
Upon watching the footage, I was horrified by the way in which I gave instructions.
I sounded impatient, obnoxious, and arrogant at times.
Believe me when I tell you that I was embarrassed and appalled because I didn’t think that I came across this way.
Oftentimes, we underplay the extent of our own expressions, verbally or visually.
I realize that my family wasn’t highly sensitive; I was just conducting myself rudely and obnoxiously.
Nowadays, I make an extra effort to speak softer, calmer, slower, and kinder because I don’t want my loved ones to feel disrespected or unfairly criticized.
How you say something certainly matters as much as what you say.
Whether you’re giving advice, providing constructive criticism, or having a disagreement, be conscious of how you are speaking to your partner.
If you can continue to be kind, considerate, patient, and generous with your words, you’ll have a much better relationship than a lot of people out there.
6. Be a voice of reason
I don’t know about you, but I hate to see people pity me.
There are times when I’m suffering, and it’s obvious that I could benefit from being comforted. But there are other times when my suffering or desire for comfort is counterproductive to my long-term well-being.
In my rational state, I would not espouse for my loved ones to enable me during these moments of self-sabotage or victimhood.
What I actually want is for them to be logical, practical, and professional with me. What do I mean by this? Let me explain.
I find it compassionate when my loved ones tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear.
Rather than enable my victim mindset, tell me what I need to hear to get out of that mindset so that I can honor my real values and morals. I may not like what you have to say at the moment, but I’ll certainly reflect on it.
I would rather be annoyed but reflective than pacified while I self-destruct.
At least in the former case, I have a chance to do what’s right rather than what’s easy, which causes me ongoing dissatisfaction in the future.
I like to feel that my partner is able to prioritize our wellbeing by being rational and level-headed with me when I’m incapable of it.
I find it to be extremely compassionate, as long as they are considerate in how they communicate with me.